09/02/11 7:25 PM ET
Peavy, Cooper differ on relief outing's role
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
This much is certain concerning the veteran right-hander.
As to finding a cause for Peavy's 2011 struggles, though, there appears to be a slight disagreement between Peavy and his pitching coach.
Of course, Peavy's 2011 campaign has been a work in progress since he had season-ending surgery to reattach his lat muscle last July. So, the ups and downs were expected.
But after giving up six runs on six hits in the first inning of a 7-6 loss Wednesday to the Twins, Peavy spoke of regret over a four-inning, 55-pitch relief appearance he made against the Nationals on June 25. On that particular afternoon, Peavy was pressed into service due to John Danks leaving the game early with a strained oblique.
Peavy reiterated that opinion before Friday's series opener against the Tigers, pointing out that he just hasn't bounced back as he hoped since the relief stint. But Don Cooper, the White Sox pitching coach, strongly spoke out against that outing being a problem for Peavy in the grand scheme of his overall performance.
"That was the best outing he had," Cooper told MLB.com. "He pitched the same before and the same after. So, I don't look at it that way at all. Not at all.
"It's a non-factor for me. The bottom line is Jake is on and off. He's been the same guy prior to that relief outing and after that relief outing. So, there's been nothing there that I see of any real substance."
Prior to that relief appearance, Peavy held a 3-1 record with a 4.72 ERA as part of this unprecedented comeback. He had pitched against the Cubs on June 22, but with the 25th being Peavy's side day and the White Sox able to build in extra rest through their six-man rotation, Peavy was pressed into duty.
As Cooper mentioned, Peavy's one hit allowed and seven strikeouts against the Nationals rank right up with his three-hit shutout of Cleveland on May 18 and his eight innings of shutout baseball against the Twins on Aug. 7 as his top outings. But since working against the Nationals, Peavy has a 2-6 mark and 5.78 ERA over 67 innings.
In hindsight, Peavy said that he wouldn't have offered up his relief services. But even in hindsight, Peavy knows the responsibilities for the aftermath fall fully upon his shoulders.
"There's no one to blame there but myself," Peavy told MLB.com. "I told them I could go, and then I got out there and I felt so good and I wanted to keep going. So, we did. I felt like I hadn't been part of the team for so long, and I saw a valuable chance to say, 'Hey, I'm here and I'll take the ball.'
"Obviously, coming off that was very hard. All of my body, not just my right arm. I was never able to catch up since then. It certainly slowed me down a little bit.
"We did it and I'm still healthy and going at this point in time, albeit not as strong as I was then, but we'll see where the chips fall," Peavy said. "I'm excited about starting Tuesday and bouncing back."
Minnesota did virtually nothing against Peavy over his final four innings on Wednesday, so there was some bounceback in Peavy within those particular struggles. Ultimately, Peavy won't be back to his old self until next season, more than one year past his surgery, and as he said Friday, "only God knows the answer" if his arm will be stronger, more alive and closer to his one-time National League Cy Young form.
Recovery from this surgery certainly could be used as an excuse by Peavy and the White Sox, but both are about winning. So, they move forward and deal with the inconsistency in the process.
"I don't care what kind of crutch you lean on," Peavy said. "When you go out there and don't do well, you take it personal and it hurts. There's no other way to say it. It's not fun. There ain't no competing at the Major League level. You are supposed to go out there to win."
"Everybody is frustrated and disappointed because right now, he's not the guy that he wants to be or we envision him to be," Cooper said. "Dot, dot, dot, there has been a major surgery. We've been dealing with the same thing all year, and we'll deal with it the rest of the way."