SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants did their best Friday to help keep 2015 interesting, but at some point, the overwhelming numbers say this will turn into a preview of 2016. Next year’s rotation will have Madison Bumgarner at the top, of course, and the Giants intend on adding a No. 2 this offseason.
They feel relatively set in the middle of their rotation thanks in large part to Jake Peavy. That’s something you couldn’t say three months ago.
Peavy’s season got off to a disastrous start. He was rocked in two starts while trying to pitch through serious back and hip injuries, and his rehab assignment was rocky. The two-year deal Peavy got last December looked like a waste, but he has generally been sharp since returning in July. Peavy had a 3.88 ERA in his first 12 starts back, and that number is skewed by a number of runs given up near the very end of his outings. On Friday he dominated all the way through, giving up two hits and throwing just 79 pitches in seven innings. Justin Upton’s homer was the only Padres run in a 9-1 Giants win.
“I hope I’m showing my value,” Peavy said. “I’m the guy that I was last year down the stretch for this team.”
That version of Peavy helped the Giants get into the postseason. This version is trying to keep slim hopes alive. The Dodgers got blown out in Phoenix earlier Friday night, allowing the Giants to pick up a game for the first time since August 21.
“It’s been a while since we picked up a game,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You never know.”
Peavy said the current goal is to just keep picking up ground ahead of a four-game series with the Dodgers here later this month.
“We can make this interesting,” he said.
If they don’t, Peavy will go into the offseason knowing his body is right and he’s ready to pitch near the top of a rotation for a full season. That looked unlikely exactly three months ago. Peavy faced Pat Murphy’s Triple-A team (Murphy now manages the Padres) on June 11 during his rehab assignment and gave up four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
“When people see you like that, you certainly hate to leave that image in anybody’s head,” he said. “You can go ask Pat Murphy — I’m pretty sure he saw me somewhere in that rehab and it wasn’t good. I look forward to finishing strong.”
He didn’t need much help Friday, but Angel Pagan gave him a boost by robbing Matt Kemp of a homer. What did Peavy think of the catch?
“You know how my eyes are,” he said. “When he threw (the ball) in, I was really happy.”
Peavy has astigmatisms and an eye shape that keep him from getting Lasik surgery. The best he can do right now is wear corrective lenses that get him to 20-40, and even that leaves him lost when looking at anything more than a couple dozen yards away.
Buster Posey paints his fingers so Peavy can see the signs, which makes one wonder: How the heck did Peavy see a 96-mph Andrew Cashner pitch well enough to line an RBI single to right?
“It’s a weird thing,” he said. “It’s weird. It’s not clear, that’s for sure. I’m not picking up the spin on the ball like Buster does. But I still have a chance.”
Thanks in part to Peavy, the Giants still feel that way about the National League West.