KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jake Peavy could have written a nice story for himself and the San Francisco Giants.
He could have helped two teams to World Series championships after he’d been traded to them at the deadline in back-to-back years (2013 Red Sox).
While he still could be a part of it, Peavy had the chance to personally control that in Game 6 Tuesday night. But destiny hit him hard.
In pitching one of the worst games of his career, he shifted momentum back to the Royals in a game that got completely out of hand, as Kansas City forced a Game 7 Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium with a 10-0 win.
Peavy didn’t get out of the second inning in a performance that he was at a loss to explain.
“I think it was the first time in a 15-year career that I broke three bats and didn’t record an out,” lamented Peavy. “It obviously wasn’t my night. I went back and watched the video and I’m not sure what I could have done different.
“We threw the ball where we wanted to throw it. We kept the ball away from the barrel of the bat.”
Peavy also said the sore and swollen thumb he hurt when he tried to field a ground ball in the dugout in Game 3 “was fine. It wasn’t a factor.”
He went 1⅓ innings, allowing six hits and five runs. Pitching coach Dave Righetti made one visit to the mound in the second inning and then manager Bruce Bochy came to get him after an RBI single to left field by Nori Aoki.
Peavy is 1-5 in nine postseason starts. He’s allowed 35 hits in 34⅓ innings. He’s been an awful pitcher in the playoffs.
Too bad, as in going 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts after the trade from Boston, Peavy saved the Giants as a replacement for the injured Matt Cain.
He had seven starts of seven or more innings and seven starts in which he allowed one earned run or fewer.
But Peavy doesn’t pitch well in the postseason. Fatigue seems to get the better of him. He’s not alone. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw doesn’t pitch well either.
Peavy can’t explain it. Nobody really can.
We know Peavy is no longer an elite pitcher but a gutsy middle-to-end of the rotation guy who normally keeps his team in the game.
Not Tuesday night, however.
It’s likely that he’s physically spent. He’s made 36 starts between the regular season and postseason. He’s thrown more than 218 innings.
Throughout his time in San Francisco he’s become the go-to guy for the media. He’s been the Giants’ most consistent spokesman, even on days he doesn’t pitch.
Peavy talked about his impending free agency on the day before his Game 6 start, actually suggesting that he and Jon Lester would make a good tandem in Chicago with the Cubs.
“If there was ever a fit with both of us on the team, certainly that would interest me,” Peavy told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I know what he brings to the table. We have a crazy good friendship, and I know how bad he wants to win, and I know he’s not going to go to a situation for however many years he signs [for] to lose.”
He added, “You never know what free agency brings. I’ve certainly talked to Jon Lester because we’re buddies. So I have a feel for what he does. And I certainly know that Chicago would interest him and interest me.”
That wasn’t a topic one normally would touch on prior to a big start in the postseason, but Peavy went full bore with it.
The Giants are likely to try to re-sign him, because his regular-season outings were terrific and they need him to fill a role. But Peavy likely will get interest from the Cubs, Dodgers, and Cardinals.
He’ll likely stay in the National League, and he’ll have enough interest in him that he’ll make a good living. Estimates on what he could sign for have ranged from three years, $36 million to a recent MLB Trade Rumors estimate of two years at $28 million.
While not a top-of-the-rotation starter, he’s still viable as a third or fourth starter for a few NL teams and the salary will reflect that in the end. The teams who don’t go after the Big Three — Lester, Max Scherzer, and James Shields — will try to add veteran depth with players such as Peavy, Brandon McCarthy, Ervin Santana, Justin Masterson, and others of that ilk.
Cubs president Theo Epstein is said to be looking for an ace (Lester or Scherzer or both) and a veteran presence such as Peavy to provide some leadership.
So Peavy’s scenario isn’t far-fetched.
His timing, however, wasn’t so good. You can’t talk about where you might want to pitch next year before pitching a Game 6. But he did and then was absolutely throttled Tuesday night.
Peavy did a lot of good things for the Giants. He’s taken younger players under his wing and taught them the right way to be a major leaguer, just as he did in Boston earlier this season.
He showed Sox rookies Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. a little tough love when he thought they needed it and when he thought they needed to amp up their intensity.
The Giants staff will tell you that Peavy brought a much-needed energy to their rotation. He brought the wisdom of knowing how to pitch certain hitters and offered information that helped the pitchers.
That said, Peavy had a chance to purchase that Cable Car he’s eyeing to put alongside the Duck Boat (his son told reporters that the duck boat is gathering mildew and needs to be painted) he owns.
“It’s disappointing,” Peavy said. “Of course I wanted to end it tonight. It’s frustrating. If I’d allowed a bunch of home runs and really got hit, it might be easier to swallow than this.”
It was an opportunity to establish a legacy that passed him by.Nick Cafardo can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.