SAN FRANCISCO — Two years ago, Jake Peavy dropped an all-timer of a September baseball quote as he talked to reporters about his upcoming start against the Dodgers.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I was just in the shower thinking about Dee Gordon,” Peavy said.
Gordon, then the pesky Dodgers leadoff hitter, is now a Marlins All-Star. Peavy is still a Giant, and he’ll be the first starter to see the Dodgers when he takes the ball for the home opener on Thursday. Even in his 15th season, the assignment is one that brought a wide smile to Peavy’s face.
“Any time you get a chance to start your home opener it’s special,” he said. “And then you get it against the Dodgers. You can’t draw it up much better than that as far as intensity. The fans will be excited. It’ll be like a playoff atmosphere. I’ll make sure to draw on past experiences and stay under control and execute.”
Both teams have three games before their first meeting, but the weekend series will be an early tone-setter. The Giants have the rings and the expensive offseason additions; the Dodgers have three straight division titles and a front office that is trying a different and less expensive technique, one focused on depth. The Diamondbacks (more on them later) will be in the mix, too, as part of what should be a fascinating season-long race. The Giants have gone the Wild Cart path before, but they know there’s a better way.
“We’re gunning for that division title,” Peavy said, as home opener talk continued. “Any opponent is going to be special, but when it’s your division rival (coming in), it adds that much more to it.”
Peavy, like all the Giants starters, had rough spring results. But he locked in back home, giving up two hits in five scoreless innings. Peavy and Jeff Samardzija have blanked the A’s over 10 innings in this series.
"All of them have really picked it up and thrown the ball well here the last week or 10 days," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They're finishing up on a good note."
If both rotations hold, Peavy should face Dodgers lefty Alex Wood in his season debut. That would be followed by Matt Cain vs. rookie Ross Stripling, and a titanic matchup between Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw. The finale should be Johnny Cueto against Scott Kazmir. Peavy hopes to put the Giants on the right track early, although he won't start preparing quite as early as in the past. The Dodgers don’t have the everyday leadoff hitter they did when Gordon was around and they’ve been mixing their order up all spring. No matter who digs in first next Thursday, though, Peavy will be ready.
“I’ll be at this point in time dialing it in,” he said.
--- A.J. Pollock has a fractured elbow, the Diamondbacks announced, and there's no timetable for his return. I had Pollock in the tenth spot on my MVP ballot last year and happen to think he might be the most underrated player in the National League. It's obviously a bit of a game-changer in the division, although the Diamonbacks have a pretty deep outfield. (This is your reminder that health decides all.)
--- Denard Span opened it up a bit as he chased a shallow fly ball, and he looked pretty smooth once he got going. Span looked limited at times this spring, but he's right on track after hip surgery and some early shoulder soreness.
"I think his legs are where they need to be, and (Angel) Pagan's are, too," Bochy said. "He seems like he's gotten really comfortable in left field. Our defense was good tonight. Those plays (Matt) Duffy made, they're game-changing plays."
--- We’ve got starters for the season-opening series in Milwaukee: Bumgarner vs. Wily Peralta; Cueto vs. Jimmy Nelson; Samardzija vs. Matt Garza.
--- In case you missed it, here’s my feature on how Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo prepared to play in the outfield, and the time Lopez actually played a few minutes in right field.
Plus, my latest podcast, a (prospect-heavy) spring wrap-up with KNBR’s Marty Lurie. You can stream it here.