Word play with Peavy

31240205Thought it was pretty interesting to read up on yesterday’s Cardinals-Padres Game 1 and see the different interpretations of Padres starter Jake Peavy’s postgame comments.  He danced around a few questions about catcher Mike Piazza’s botched pop-up, which may have been the key defensive play of the game because it extended an at-bat for Albert Pujols to crush a go-ahead home run.

From video of the press conference, here is exactly what Peavy said when directly asked about that play, minus a dozen or so "ahhs" and "ums:"

"I mean, obviously I needed it to get made. Just a pop-up behind the? Obviously, those are not the easiest plays to make, you know. But obviously it was a big play because it didn’t get made and two pitches later the guy hits, you know, a 500-foot home run to go up, 2-0. It was a big play. It was tough play, no doubt about it, but, you know, like I said, we didn’t make any breaks for ourselves."

Here’s how it was quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by Rick Hummel, who is up this year for a spot in the sportswriter’s wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown:

"’Obviously, I need it to get made,’ said Peavy, when first asked about it. ‘Just a popup.’ But then he said, ‘I mean, obviously those are not the easiest plays to make, you know.’"

And on MLB.com by Barry Bloom:

"’Obviously it was a big play, because it didn’t get made and [five] pitches later the guy hits a 500-foot home run to put them up, 2-0,’" Peavy said. ‘It was a big play, a tough play, no doubt about it.’"

But here it was in USA Today, quoted by David Leon Moore:

31240437"’Obviously, that’s a play that needed to get made,’ Peavy said of the foul popup that dropped untouched but was not ruled an error. ‘I know those are not the easiest plays to make, but it was a big play. It didn’t get made and a few pitches later the guy hits a 500-foot home run.’"

It strikes me that "I need it to get made," is a completely different thing than, "That’s a play that needed to get made." Am I just splitting hairs here? I wonder if Peavy and Piazza will have to talk this one out before Game 2.

Also, I wanted to point out that we apparently have a definitive answer on whether Pujols’ foul pop hit the netting behind the plate before Piazza tried to make a play on it. Replays appeared to show that it did, but the guy who matters most said it did not.

?It did not touch the net,? home plate umpire Gerry Davis told the San Diego Union-Tribune. ?The ball was in play.?

Glad that’s settled.  — Adam McCalvy / MLB.com

3 Comments

I’m a die hard Padres fan, but I have to say Jake Peavy has not shown the ability to handle the big games. I think he was saying (correctly) that he needed Piazza to save him because he could not get the job done himself. It would have been great if Mike had made that play, but when he didn’t Jake should not have put that slider over the plate to Pujols! Even Bochy was quoted before the game as saying that it was important that the Padres not let Pujols beat them. I guess Jake wasn’t listening.

As anyone could see who has ever put a pair of spikes on, that after that batting practice slider Peavy grooved to Pujols he was visably rattled that homer really got to his head. Yet no visit from the bench or an all star catcher for an incouraging word or to settle down a shaken pitcher. I fault Bochy and Piazza both for Peavy just falling apart. Bochy for letting the one guy who can put a game out of reach at any given at bat and not calming him down, and Piazza for not coming out to talk to the guy. I don’t blame Piazza for the missed foul ball because one defensive play did not lose the game. It was a lack of offense and a lack of coaching. As a north county native even though I haven’t lived there in quite awhile I have been a loyal Padre fan since the begining and will always be. I remember and suffered through the bad years I mean the really bad years so it is good to see team in the playoffs. Just with a little more offense and a little more coaching.

Whether or not the ball clipped the net, the vast majority of major league catchers track that ball off the bat rather than struggle to find it as Piazza did… then they keep their feet and keep track of the fence as they approach it rather than stumble into it and fall over as the ball falls to the ground. It’s not the miss that is so ridiculous — I think it did hit the net — its the inability of an all-star “catcher” to get himself in a position to make the play. Secondly, I have yet to see any commentary on the two strikes — one two inches off the plate outside, the next four — that struck out Pujols in the first inning or how radically the strike zone changed after Pujols’ justified complaint after the first pitch in the fourth inning was two inches inside. There’s no conspiracy, I don’t believe MLB or the umpires are corrupt, but Carpenter was not getting the same plate width as Peavey until the fourth when each side seemed to get the same strike zone… but by then, as bmboomer points out, Peavey had lost it, his teamates hadn’t helped him out or picked him up and the game had tilted seriously in the Cardinals direction. Lastly, does anyone else think that Chris Berman is a horrible baseball announcer. The director and camera men were showing shots of Pujols’ frustration after his first inning at bat and, later, LaRussa barking at the umpire and Berman just stayed in his own world talking, and talking, and talking and talking… He loves football, doesn’t keep up with baseball, only does Yankee games until the play-offs and won’t let the game come to him as so many of ESPN’s other, excellent baseball announcers do.

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