Programming note: Giants-Cardinals coverage starts tonight at 4:00 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with “October Quest”
ST. LOUIS – Jake Peavy, like every other Giants pitcher, is sitting down and thinking about the Cardinals this weekend.
Peavy’s been thinking about the Cardinals for quite some time, actually.
“I thought it was really close, to be honest with you,” said Peavy, who expected to go to St. Louis in late July just before the Giants ended up acquiring him from the Boston Red Sox.
One year earlier, the Cardinals were pursuing Peavy from the Chicago White Sox before Boston swooped in. He ended up standing across from the Cards in the World Series.
Now here is in the NLCS, and there they are.
“St. Louis is a place I’ve always spoken fondly of,” said Peavy, on the eve of his Game 2 start against right-hander Lance Lynn on Sunday at Busch Stadium. “This place is a great place. … This place is near and dear to my heart. It’s a great baseball town, a great situation, and to do what this team has done, four straight NLCS (appearances), that’s just getting it done.”
Peavy also made mention of the downtown protests against police shootings, including one march of more than 1,000 people that passed near the team’s hotel Saturday. Two men were shot, one fatally, in a drive-by shooting just outside the team hotel Friday afternoon.
It is a city and a region that has its problems. The baseball team is not one of them.
“When anybody thinks they might have a chance to play in St. Louis, or that name gets mentioned, you get excited because, once again, you associate St. Louis with winning. That’s what we all want to do, especially late on our career.”
Is Peavy starting his free-agent campaign a little early? The Giants will make re-signing him a priority, and there already have been pencil-sketch conversations. But Peavy signed a pre-market deal the last time he approached free agency and will be tempted to see what the open market might hold.
He clearly is comfortable playing for Bruce Bochy, though.
“I’m with people now who believe in me in a special way,” Peavy said. “Boch, he believes in me like my high school coach believed in me, if that makes sense. That’s not saying that people in Boston didn’t believe in me. But it was a different feeling when I would take the mound there. I forgot what that feeling was like. These guys really needed somebody to help out when I got over here. Boch and these guys believed I could be that guy. When you’re shown that faith in you, you want to exhaust every options. So that really fuels your fire.”
Peavy went on to praise Dave Righetti for helping him make some mechanical changes from his days with the Padres, and he also offered plaudits to Buster Posey.
“Y’all, our catcher is a special player,” Peavy said. “When you find the right chemistry and groove with a good player like that, who cares about the position it can take your game to another level.”
Michael Morse is on the NLCS roster but he’ll be used off the bench, Bochy said.
Bochy met with Morse, who played four innings of an instructional league game in left field in Arizona – his only defensive action since August. The manager plans to start Travis Ishikawa in left field during the series, unless he really needs to put the paddles to the offense.
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“It’s been a long time since he’s been out there, and defense is such a big part of these series because you play a lot of tight games,” Bochy said. He will get more work out there. In the early go, we’ll use him off the bench.”
Morse had a boffo round of batting practice on the field, hitting several home runs. Of course, he did the same thing at Petco Park on Sept. 8 before coming off the bench to go 0 for 2 with two strikeouts.
The most likely scenario would be Morse pinch-hitting for Ishikawa against a lefty, with Juan Perez entering the next inning as a defensive replacement.