Two starts ago, when Jake Peavy was on the mound trying to keep the Giants from suffering a four-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, the former Cy Young winner was clearly frustrated. The Cubs were leading 2-0, and Kyle Schwarber took a few seconds to step back from the batter’s box and take a practice swing.
Peavy, thinking this rookie — who had crushed the Giants all series — was stalling to listen to a little more of his walk-up song (“Thuggish Ruggish Bone”), said something to Schwarber. It looked like he may have asked, “What is that?” Schwarber looked nonplussed and gave a smirk, perhaps figuring that Peavy was upset due to problems greater than a little extra Bone Thugs N Harmony.
That’s our Peavy. Mostly, he yells at himself, and he’s celebrated for it. “Oh, Peavy’s pitching? I love that guy’s intensity, GOD BLESS IT! But seriously, what a competitor.” He also strives to be a great teammate, as he explained after a September win over the D-Backs last season.
“As you get older, you realize what the word ‘teammate’ is,” said Peavy. “When I walk away from this game, that’s what I want to be said about me. I don’t care about any numbers, any wins and losses. I want my peers, when they get asked about me, to say this guy came in prepared, he got his work done, and he was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”
During yesterday’s 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Peavy’s demonstrative ways didn’t help his chances of achieving that goal.
In the third inning, with the Giants already trailing 1-0, Gregory Polanco led off with a grounder past the mound that Kelby Tomlinson should’ve reached relatively easily. Either the ball was hit with some wicked spin, or Tomlinson was cheating hard toward first base, but his first step was away from the path of the ball. By the the time Tomlinson corrected his route, backhanded the grounder and threw to first, it was too late. Polanco was safe by half a step.
Peavy threw his arms toward the air when he turned and saw where Tomlinson was in relation to the ball. One could point to Peavy’s maniacal competitiveness, but some thought a line had been crossed.
Agree 100 percent. So wrong. Mark Redmond-esque. https://t.co/duMSVOMboF
— Mychael Urban (@BigUrbSports) August 21, 2015
Some things to note:
1. Peavy recently complimented Tomlinson.
Peavy played with Tomlinson during rehab assignment: “He fits the mold. He’s a Matt Duffy-ish type of player.” — Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) August 16, 2015
2. This might have been a case of Peavy’s frustration boiling over after a combination of events. The run in the first inning could’ve been avoided if Peavy didn’t hit Starling Marte, and Peavy failed to get a bunt down in the top of the third inning. And based on his reaction to Schwarber, Peavy’s patience seems especially thin when things aren’t going well.
3. Tomlinson has had a tough time with the glove, diving for balls without stopping them and mucking up potential double plays.
4. It’s not like Peavy is alone here. Remember when that bloop fell in between Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco and Matt Duffy?
Chris Heston didn’t seem too pleased at the time.
At this point it’s pretty obvious that Peavy doesn’t just have a difficult time harnessing his emotions, but would probably be a worse pitcher if he muted himself. The only tough part about what happened last night was that he — perhaps inadvertently — looked like he was showing up a rookie. What do you think? Standard emotion from a pro athlete, or a little over the top?