Five days after nearly throwing a shutout, Jake Peavy didn't have it Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
The right-hander allowed six runs on eight hits in four innings, with the big blow to his ERA coming when Cubs pitcher Travis Wood drilled a grand slam into the left field bleachers in the fourth inning. To Wood's credit, he's a good hitting pitcher -- it was his second home run of the year and helped push his OPS to .903.
"I’ve seen every at-bat he had all year long," Peavy said when asked if he was prepared for Wood. "I watched him his last start. (Reds starter) Homer Bailey struck him out but he almost hit a ball out of the ballpark against Homer Bailey. He hit one on Waveland. I’ve seen every at-bat. We knew exactly what kind of athlete he was going in. We would never be caught unprepared like that. I just didn’t make pitches."
White Sox starters didn't make pitches in the last three games, although they entered their Crosstown Cup opener with the Cubs on Monday boasting the best rotation ERA in the American League. Jose Quintana allowed four runs in six innings Monday, while John Danks allowed four runs (three earned) in four innings Wednesday.
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Starting pitching was hardly the White Sox only problem against the Cubs -- poor defense didn't help, and the Sox were out-scored 24-6 by their cross-town rivals. But just as it looked as if the Sox were getting on a roll, the starting pitching -- which had been consistent even though their early-season struggles -- faltered.
"We didn’t make plays," Peavy said. "We didn’t make pitches. We didn’t get hits. We played, just not good baseball."
Granted, Chris Sale's start was washed out Tuesday, and Danks was making his second major-league start since undergoing shoulder surgery last summer. Peavy, though, only lasted four innings -- manager Robin Ventura said he pulled his starter in an effort to generate some more offense -- representing his shortest start of the year.
"You hate to have to come out of the game so soon and give that kind of effort on a day when we needed it," Peavy said. "We have to take responsibility."
For Peavy, it wasn't an issue of stamina affecting him on Wednesday. He just didn't make his pitches, and the timing for the suddenly-reeling White Sox wasn't great.
"I felt good today. I had plenty in the tank," Peavy said. "That game could have easily looked different, I promise you that."