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April 24, 2012
What You Need to Know
Tuesday, April 24
The Monday Takeaway
Yet, in the four games spanning Friday to Monday, the South Siders’ starting five did precisely that. Sale kicked things off by fanning 11 Mariners on Friday. Humber tossed the perfecto at Safeco Field on Saturday. And Peavy—who hadn’t thrown a complete game, much less a shutout, since blanking the Indians on May 18 of last year—checked that off the list last night.
I wrote back on February 27 that a strong start to the season could make Peavy an attractive trade chip for general manager Kenny Williams this summer. Peavy is owed $17 million this year and has a dubious $22 million club option (with a $4 million buyout) for 2013. He can veto trades to eight teams.
The 30-year-old righty has done more than start strong. Monday night’s shutout against the A’s dropped his ERA to 1.88, and it’s backed by a stellar 26-to-4 K/BB ratio. Peavy has also allowed only one home run in 28 2/3 innings of work. He’s done that thanks in part to an altered pitch mix, which has thus far involved a much greater reliance on his slider than we have seen in the past. Nearly 35 percent of Peavy’s pitches this year have been sliders, compared to a 15 percent clip for his career.
Peavy’s extraordinary start is not entirely sustainable, and it has been buoyed by the fact that he has faced the Orioles and Athletics in his last two outings. But he also did well at Rangers Ballpark and in a home matchup with the Tigers, and if his shoulder stays together, Peavy could well be at least a three-win pitcher. The big question, health aside, will be durability, and it’s unclear how many innings Peavy will be able to handle just 21 months removed from his unique surgery.
Only time will tell us the answer to that question. For now, Peavy’s outstanding start is one of the most pleasant surprises of the young season.
What to Watch for on Tuesday