How Important Is Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants?

Can Peavy help the Giants on the road to a third World Series under Bruce Bochy?

Even though most expected him to land in St. Louis or Atlanta given early trade talks, Jake Peavy has been sent back the Golden State. The former Cy Young winner has a new home in California, playing under his old manager, Bruce Bochy. While he's in different form than when he played in San Diego for Bochy, the righty brings playoff and World Series experience to a team fighting to stay atop the lead in the NL West.

National League Versus American League

Although his numbers prior to joining the Giants weren’t impressive, Peavy threw well in his four interleague starts this year. He went 0-1 in those four appearances, but he churned out quality starts in each outing. His longest outing came against the Braves, where he let up three runs in eight innings, but his best game may have come against the Cubs, when he let up two runs in six innings, striking out seven and walking one while only letting up five hits.

Going into last night’s game, Peavy’s 3.46 ERA and 1.23 WHIP against the NL showed that he still has the capability to perform for the Giants. Peavy has always had more success against NL teams, with a career 3.24 ERA against those opponents, along with a .230 batting average against. His numbers against the AL are less impressive, with a career 4.25 and .250 opponent’s batting average.

Even though some of these numbers may seem inflated due to his star-studded years in the NL, Peavy has had continued success against the NL since his first full season in the AL in 2010. While the AL was his home, Peavy’s ERA was 2.85 against NL teams, with opponents hitting only .216 against him. Against AL teams in that same time span, he had a 4.56 ERA against AL opponents, so Peavy must be excited to get a second chance in the NL.

Looking a little deeper at his numbers, the righty has only faced the NL West five times since 2010. In addition to the Giants division rivals being unfamiliar with the new, old Peavy, he's had success against them during the handful of times he took the bump to face them. He met each team in the West once, except for his old club, who he has yet to throw against in his career. Peavy did well against everyone except for the Rockies, who he faced twice and struggled on both occasions.

Why Does San Francisco Need Peavy?

Peavy will step right into a rotation that has had it’s ups and downs, which includes Matt Cain going to the disabled list with elbow inflammation this past week. Although the staff’s numbers look solid, they've been suspect. Madison Bumgarner has had eight outings where he let up four or more runs, with three of those outings coming in July. And even though he chucked another no-hitter, Tim Lincecum has let up four or more in four outings, allowing seven on one occasion and eight on another.

Ryan Vogelsong had a Jekyll and Hyde July, with his last two outings as primes example. He went six innings against the Dodgers this past weekend and let up only two earned runs, while he went only three innings in the previous outing, allotting three earned runs. Their most consistent starter has been Tim Hudson, who has only had two real hiccups this year, posting the best ERA in the starting rotation at 2.65.

Peavy will hop into Yusmeiro Petit’s starting spot, who let up five runs in five innings in his last start. Petit has a 6.32 ERA as a starter this year, versus his 2.33 as a reliever. Numbers show that the righty has been more effective out of the pen, striking out 48 in 38.2 innings, versus his 28 in 31.1 as a starter.

Peavy could be the stable piece the Giants are looking for, even though he has had a few rough outings on the year. The 33-year-old is very effective until the seventh inning rolls around, where his ERA shoots up to 10.50. Peavy averages a 4.23 ERA through six innings of work on the season, so he will require some back-up from the Giants pen. As long as Bochy can remove Peavy in each outing before the wheels fall off, then he will help propel the Giants past the stacked Dodgers.

His First Impression

Peavy took the loss in his first appearance for the Giants, giving up three earned runs (four total) over six innings. He also struck out five and allowed only two walks against the Dodgers. He caught a bit of raw deal with Dan Uggla making a crucial error behind him. Although Peavy is at fault for the fifth inning where he let up the three runs, Uggla’s error ended up being the difference in the game.

Peavy also continues to struggle in the fifth inning, with an ERA of 6.64 to this point. Hopefully Peavy can make the adjustment, because it looks like the Giants know how to handle him and are ready to start winning games behind him.