Padres turn to ace Peavy to pitch 1-game playoff Monday

Padres turn to ace Peavy to pitch 1-game playoff Monday

Padres turn to ace Peavy to pitch 1-game playoff Monday
ASSOCIATED PRESS

MILWAUKEE -- Jake Peavy is money - even if he can't be trusted with it.

The San Diego Padres ace insists losing his money clip on an ill-fated trip to a Milwaukee casino Saturday night isn't a bad omen going into Monday's one-game playoff at Colorado to determine the NL wild-card winner.

And if any Milwaukee casino patrons happen to have picked up a big wad of bills, Peavy would sure like it back.

''I had way more money in it than I was gambling,'' Peavy said. ''So hopefully some of those cameras caught somebody picking that thing up.''

After blowing two straight chances to clinch a playoff spot in Milwaukee over the weekend, the Padres are counting on their ace to be more careful on the mound in a big game than he is around the roulette wheel.

San Diego lost a ninth-inning lead on Saturday and went on to lose in 11, then were blown out 11-6 by the Brewers on Sunday.

Colorado then held on for a 4-3 victory over Arizona to force the play-in game, as Padres players cheered and groaned like fans while they sat in the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park.

The mood in the clubhouse was grim, but Peavy was grinning.

''Hey, we're starting the playoffs with Game 7, you know? This is going to be fun,'' Peavy said. ''I'm excited about the opportunity, and I think the boys will come out battling.''

And if the prospect of having Peavy pitching didn't quite brighten the Padres' mood in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's loss, it probably will come Monday.

''We've got Jake on the mound,'' Padres starter Chris Young said. ''Any time you have him on the mound, you've got to like your club's chances.''

As backup plans go, it's a pretty good one.

Peavy (19-6) will face Josh Fogg (10-9) at Coors Field.

Padres manager Bud Black could have started Peavy on short rest on Sunday, but opted to keep his ace in his back pocket for the potential play-in game and started Brett Tomko instead.

''We had this mapped out for a while that it could come to this, based on what was happening over the last couple weeks,'' Black said. ''And that was the case. We feel good with Jake, obviously.''

Peavy has no record and a 1.29 ERA in two starts against the Rockies this year. He spent part of Sunday watching video of the Rockies, just in case he'd have to face them.

''They're hot,'' Peavy said. ''They're as good as anybody in baseball. But they're definitely a beatable team.''

Peavy has a 10-1 record and 2.20 ERA over his last 13 starts.

And he sounds ready to play.

''The season's on the line - that's fun,'' Peavy said. ''You play 162, and you still need one more to decide if you're going home or you're in. We certainly didn't want it to get to this point. It is, and I'm excited about the opportunity and the challenge.''

The Padres got to this point in the season with good starting pitching and a strong bullpen, but neither held up on Sunday.

''We've been swinging the bats well,'' Young said. ''Our bullpen's been throwing well, minus a couple of innings the past couple of games. But we're in great shape.''

Tomko cruised through the first three innings as the Padres took a 3-0 lead but fell apart soon after that. He allowed five runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings.

Milwaukee added three more runs in the sixth on a bases-loaded triple by Gabe Gross. Reliever Doug Brocail threw a tantrum in the dugout after giving up Gross' triple, knocking equipment off a shelf and winging his hat to the floor - another sign that the Padres were unraveling.

Can they forget about the last two days?

''We have to,'' right fielder Brian Giles said. ''It's a one-game season now.''

Black said the team's mood was OK despite the discouraging loss.

''Obviously when you fall behind, and fall behind by a number of runs, it can be deflating,'' Black said. ''But our mood was, overall, fine.''

Milwaukee finished the season on an upbeat note with back-to-back comeback victories. The Brewers went 83-79 for their first winning season since 1992.

Despite being eliminated from the playoffs on Friday - after holding an 8 1-2-game lead in the NL Central in late June - Brewers manager Ned Yost said it was important to play hard against the Padres on Sunday out of fairness to other teams in playoff contention.

''It is exactly what I expected out of my team,'' Yost said. ''I didn't have to say anything to them. They have played hard all year and they just keep playing the way they had been playing.''

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Re: Padres turn to ace Peavy to pitch 1-game playoff Monday

Peavy and Fogg meet in playoff game
October 1, 2007

DENVER (AP) -Josh Fogg's family will have to catch the biggest game of his career on television after his wife and toddler flew home to Florida last week.

He's still expecting to have plenty of support.

``Hopefully, there's 50,000 friends out there rooting for me,'' said Fogg, who will start for Colorado on Monday night when the Rockies face the San Diego Padres in the first one-game playoff since 1999.

The teams tied for the wild card Sunday when Colorado beat Arizona 4-3 and Milwaukee routed the Padres 11-6.

NL Cy Young favorite Jake Peavy, who leads the major leagues with a 2.36 ERA and is second in wins with 19, will start for the Padres, who lost twice in Milwaukee over the weekend while the Rockies were beating the NL West champion Arizona Diamondbacks' diluted lineup to force the tiebreaker.

The Rockies won 13 of 14 games down the stretch to put themselves in a position to contend for their first playoff spot since 1995. Their only loss was 4-2 to the D-Backs on Friday night that clinched a playoff spot for Arizona, which will play the Chicago Cubs in the divisional round.

Rookie Ubaldo Jimenez allowed one run on one hit over 6 1-3 innings Sunday, striking out a career-best 10 in what he called ``the biggest win of my life.''

Fogg (10-9) is hoping to follow it up with the biggest win of his career.

The righty seems to thrive on going against the other team's ace. He outdueled Arizona's Brandon Webb in early September and showed off his stuff in interleague play by beating Boston's Curt Schilling.

``We call him the 'Dragon Slayer,''' Rockies slugger Matt Holliday said. ``He's been beating aces all year long.''

Fogg, who went 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA in three starts against the Padres this season, isn't counting on what he did against other aces to help him Monday night.

``Every game is different,'' he said. ``Those games are over with. Those games were months ago. Tomorrow is a completely different day.''

Peavy enters the game fully rested having last pitched on Sept. 26 when he beat San Francisco. He was hoping not to pitch until Game 1 of the divisional round.

``I didn't want it to come down to this, but it has,'' Peavy said. ``It's going to be fun - hey, we're starting the playoffs with Game 7, you know? This is going to be fun.''

Peavy didn't expect any lingering effects from the two losses to the Brewers that prevented them from winning the wild card over the weekend.

``I'm going to do everything in my power to get the spirits lifted and the attitude changed,'' Peavy said.

Peavy is hoping for better luck in Denver than he had in Milwaukee, where he lost his money clip at a casino.

``I had way more money in that than I was gambling,'' Peavy said. ``So, hopefully, some of those cameras caught somebody picking it up.''

Peavy is 0-0 with 1.29 ERA in two starts against the Rockies this season.

Holliday, who takes a .340 batting average into the game and would have to go 0-for-5 to lose out to Atlanta's Chipper Jones, is just 1-for-5 with two strikeouts off Peavy in 2007.

The Padres have a .369 batting average against Fogg this season, but the right-hander hasn't shown the slightest hint of nerves.

It's the same moxie that helped him overcome a bad start to the season.

``It started off rough. Starting off 1-5 wasn't the way I planned it,'' Fogg said. ``But that's why they play 162.''

Or in this case, 163.

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MLB Playoffs begin Wednesday; NL wild card tiebreaker on Monday
September 30th, 2007

New York, NY (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Phillies locked up the National League East on Sunday, but 162 games wasn't enough to settle the NL wild card, as the 2007 playoff picture will not be complete until Monday. Outside of the undecided wild card in the NL, three Division Series games will kick off the playoff schedule on Wednesday, October 3.

While the American League playoff schedule is set, the NL wild card needs one more contest with a one-game playoff between the San Diego Padres and Rockies in Colorado at 7:37 p.m. (et) on Monday.

Ryan Braun finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored, as the Brewers came back to top the Padres, 11-6, and force the tie-breaking game. San Diego needed only to win one of its last two games to clinch the NL wild card. The Padres dropped both, however, and the Rockies held on to top the Diamondbacks, 4-3 on Sunday.

The winner of Monday's tiebreaker game will play red-hot Philadelphia starting on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly.

The Phillies completed an improbable run to the NL East title after taking care of business by beating Washington, and then watching the Mets crumble in an 8-1 loss to the Florida Marlins. The Phillies clinched the NL East title for the first time since 1993. The Phils trailed the Mets by seven games on September 12 before somehow clawing their way to the top of the heap with just two games left in the season, then hanging on to take the division crown.

The Mets held a seven-game lead in the division with 17 games left, but somehow found a way to become the first team in MLB history to squander a lead that large in such a short period of time.

Rounding out the National League, the NL West champion Arizona Diamondbacks will kick off their Division Series against the Chicago Cubs, winners of the NL Central, on Wednesday, October 3 in Arizona at Chase Field.

Arizona, coming off its first NL West crown since 2002, doesn't have the superstar names at the plate with infielders Conor Jackson and Mark Reynolds, but reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb had another magnificent season with 18 victories. Also, Jose Valverde led the majors in saves.

The Cubs, in their first season with Lou Piniella as manager and Alfonso Soriano leading the offensive power surge, are returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2003 when they faltered in shocking fashion and lost to the Florida Marlins in the NLCS. Three Cub players remain from the 2003 club: pitchers Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano and third baseman Aramis Ramirez.

The NL Central champions have qualified for post-season play twice in a five- season span for the first time since 1935, but they're more known for their incredible World Series drought, not reaching the Fall Classic since 1945 and not winning the title since 1908.

In the American League, the AL East champion Boston Red Sox host the LA Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday, October 3 at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox, division champs for the first time since 1995, missed out on the playoffs last year after making it three straight seasons. That was highlighted by their incredible run to the 2004 World Series title.

Led by the pitching of 20-game winner Josh Beckett and the bats of David Ortiz and Mike Lowell, the Red Sox took over first place in the AL East on April 18 this year and led the rest of the way.

Boston played the Angels in the 2004 Division Series and that ended in a three-game sweep with Ortiz's homer in the 10th inning ending the series at Fenway Park.

The last time the Angels were in the playoffs, in 2005, they beat the Yankees in the first round before losing to the White Sox in the ALCS. This year, the AL West champs lost six of their 10 games versus the Red Sox.

The Angels haven't broken through in the playoffs since 2002 when they won the World Series for the only time in franchise history by beating Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants. However, with Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey leading the rotation, the Red Sox could be tested. Also, Los Angeles' offense could present problems with the speedy Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero leading the way.

The last Division Series to get underway is the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians matchup which starts Thursday, October 4 at Jacobs Field.

Judging from the 2007 matchups, the Yankees would seem to have a distinct advantage on the Indians, as they won all six meetings. The Tribe have also been heartbroken in their last two trips to the playoffs, losing in five games in the first round in 1999 and 2001. Trying for their first World Series title since 1948, the Indians last faced the Yankees in the postseason in 1998, losing to them in six games in the ALCS. Ironically, that was the start of a three-year championship run for the Yankees.

Alex Rodriguez, a shoo-in for American League MVP, finished the season with a major league-leading 54 home runs and 156 RBI on a team that had to rally from a disastrous 21-29 start, only to make the postseason for a 13th straight year.

The Indians, AL Central champs for the first time since 2001 and led by 19- game winners C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, had the second-lowest ERA in the majors for the second half of the season.

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