ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jake Peavy will get his chance.
Prior to Monday’s contest against the Tampa Bay Rays, the 32-year-old veteran talked about the duality of helping the Boston Red Sox win their AL Division Series against wanting the series to end with a three-game sweep of the Rays.
While Peavy said he was hoping for a series-closing win on Monday, he added, "Every part of me wants to compete and get out there and have a chance to play tomorrow. I want that opportunity."
The Rays' 5-4 walk-off victory Monday ensured Peavy will get that shot. He will make his third postseason start against the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson in Tuesday night's Game 4.
Peavy lost both of his prior postseason starts, one in 2005 and one in 2006 when he was a member of the San Diego Padres. He compiled an unmemorable 12.10 ERA in just 9 2/3 innings.
In 2005, Peavy battled through broken ribs, allowing eight runs in 4 1/3 innings of a Game 1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Division Series. The injury came from a celebration gone wrong as Peavy landed on the helmet of Padres catcher Ramon Hernandez in the pileup on the mound.
The following year, the 6-foot-1 right-hander gutted through a right shoulder injury, surrendering five runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings of another Game 1 defeat to the Cardinals.
And that’s the extent of Peavy’s foray into the postseason. At least until Tuesday’s pivotal contest at Tropicana Field, where another sellout is expected.
"I'm excited about this opportunity," said Peavy, who tossed three innings in a simulated game last Wednesday. "Some unfortunate situations led to me being out there a little bit less than what I would have preferred. I really don't think about those starts anymore. I'm excited for this opportunity."
The one-time NL Cy Young Award winner has embraced those two playoff losses as character-builders. Plus, he’s healthy this time around.
"I tell you what I've learned -- experience means way more than I ever thought it did," said Peavy, who went 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA for the Red Sox after being acquired from the White Sox in a trade on July 30. "You say you need experience. You say you want experience. Until you have experience and understand what experience is, I don't think you can talk about it and appreciate it. And I wish I could go back and know what I know now, be a little bit more under control in between the ears and on the mental side of things than I was back then."
Peavy faced the Rays twice this season, earning a win in April and a no-decision on Sept. 12.
In the victory, Peavy allowed three runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings of a 5-4 White Sox win in Chicago. In his other start, the Red Sox lost 4-3 when Peavy allowed three runs on four hits over six innings at Tropicana Field.
“Another guy with playoff experience,” manager John Farrell said when asked how he felt about Peavy taking the hill in Game 4 against the Rays. “We’re looking forward to Jake being on the mound tomorrow. It’s one of the main reasons we acquired him at the deadline is to pitch in a game like tomorrow night.”