Thursday was proof positive of why pitching wins is usually an overrated stat.
Jake Peavy completely outpitched Mark Buehrle on Thursday, yet he suffered the loss while Buehrle earned the win as part of the Blue Jays’ 2-1 victory over the Red Sox.
Peavy was charged with two runs on five hits in his six innings of work. He struck out four, didn’t walk anyone and threw 68 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Most encouraging was Peavy’s ability to generate swing and misses — something he wasn’t able to do in his last start against the Royals.
Buehrle, meanwhile, walked a tightrope and surrendered 10 hits and two walks despite lasting seven innings. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they couldn’t take advantage of Buehrle’s inconsistency, and they let him off the hook time and time again.
“I thought Jake threw the ball well,” John Farrell said. “He certainly deserved a better fate given the way this one turned out.”
Peavy absolutely deserved better, as the right-hander cruised through the first six innings before the seventh inning ultimately did him in. Peavy gave up just two hits in his first six innings, and he tossed four perfect frames in the process to generate a good rhythm. The Red Sox’ offense kept squandering scoring chances, though, and three straight singles to open the bottom of the seventh knocked Peavy from the game.
Jose Bautista was the first Blue Jays hitter to reach in the seventh inning. He ripped a hot shot down at Will Middlebrooks, and the ball kicked off the Red Sox third baseman. Middlebrooks was initially charged with an error, although it was later changed to a hit.
“It’s a hard hit ball right at him,” Farrell said. “That started that seventh inning. Typically, that’s a play that should be made. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.”
Things started to unravel from there. Edwin Encarnacion hammered a 1-0 fastball into center field to put runners at first and second, and Brett Lawrie plated the tying run and sent Peavy to the showers with a line-drive single of his own.
Craig Breslow entered the game in a tough spot, and he recorded three straight outs. But unfortunately for Peavy and the Red Sox, the first out came on a sacrifice fly to left-center field off the bat of Mark DeRosa, and that was all that the Blue Jays needed to eventually secure a win.
“There’s no excuse,”Peavy said despite his solid effort. “I’m OK with Encarnacion getting a hit. It’s just a bad pitch up to Lawrie. I’ve got to execute better there with him. I know he’s been hot. Like I said, I take full responsibility. It was the wrong pitch to throw and even at that, it wasn’t executed as well. It’s a tough one tonight. They made the most of that inning and Buehrle was Buehrle. It’s a tough way to lose. I’ve got to be better. There’s no other way to say it.”
Peavy will strive to be better, but the Red Sox couldn’t have asked for much more out of the 32-year-old. Peavy’s command was excellent, and his cutter was really running away from right-handers. The veteran’s third start as a member of the Red Sox was quite similar to his first start, in which he struck out seven over seven innings. The big difference, of course, was that he won that debut outing.
If Peavy pitches like he did Thursday, the Red Sox are going to win more often than not. On one hand, it makes the loss all the more frustrating. But on the other hand, it shows that Peavy is in a good place right now.
Peavy was the better starting pitcher Thursday. Don’t let anyone — or anything — tell you otherwise.