by Joshua Worley
Since he became a dominant pitcher in 2004, Jake Peavy has pitched 20 inning at Coors Field, giving up 10 runs, 8 earned, for an ERA of 3.60. He's struck out 17, walked 7, and given up 3 home runs. Yeah, it's a small sample size. Not much to conclude from it, except that he hasn't been chewed up by the mile high city. He can pitch in Denver.
Peavy last pitched on Wednesday, meaning this start comes with his usual 4 days of rest. I think the Padres made the right move to hold him out of Sunday's game, since that would have been on short rest. As a general rule, it's probably best not to do things you wouldn't normally do if you have a lead, whether it's a lead in the standings or in a game. Now if the Padres had needed to win Sunday just to stay alive, then I think they should have seriously considered going with Peavy on short rest, instead of the unreliable Tomko. Such is my distrust and dislike of Tomko that I would have recommended short rest for Peavy even though his worst start by far this year came when he pitched on short rest a month ago against the Snakes.
Would the Padres consider going with Peavy on 3 days rest in the playoffs? Well, if so, it couldn't come until the league championship series. He couldn't pitch in games 1 or 2 in Philadephia, as these are Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Game 3 would be on his natural rest of 4 days, and then he couldn't pitch in game 4 or 5, unless perhaps a bit in relief. But the Padres have a great bullpen without needing to resort to Peavy. If the Padres do make it to the LCS, Peavy would then fall right in line to pitch in game 1 of the series, and then it would have to be very tempting to go with him on 3 days rest in game 4, because then he would be able to pitch in game 7 as well.
I'm rooting for the Rockies today, though, so I hope we never get to find out if Bud Black would use Peavy on 3-days rest again. I think the Rockies will win. They are a much better team at home than on the road, and even if the Padres have a slight advantage in pitching, the Rockies have a bigger advantage in hitting. Or wait ... if you check the away stats only, to cancel the effect of Coors and Petco on each club's hitting and pitching, it turns out that the Rockies have the better road ERA and the Padres have the better road OPS. Hmmmm. I think one needs to adjust the home numbers, not just throw them out to really answer the question of which team does better in offense and defense. I'm sure there are sites out there that do this. But it is clear the Rockies are a much better team at home, with home OPS of 0.850 and home OPS allowed by the pitchers of 0.766, versus a road OPS of 0.730 and 0.739 allowed.
Is there any point in writing about how much fun this playoff game could be to watch? So much is at stake in this game. The loser will end up just like the Dodgers --- with nothing to take from 2007 except a winning record. No trip to the postseason, only the bitter disappointment of falling short in the NL West. The winner? They and their fans get the thrill of winning a do-or-die game, with the promise of more to come.