Jake Peavy starts against the Royals Wednesday. PHOTO BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN
The White Sox are taking different angles on the subject of not being picked by most to make the playoffs. The Sox were in first place for 117 days and finished three games out of first last season, but few see them as serious challengers to the Tigers in the American League Central.
Manager Robin Ventura said he takes it personally and will use that to motivate his team.
Jake Peavy said the only way the Sox will be viewed as a real postseason threat is if they make the postseason.
"You have to earn respect,'' Peavy said. "To be respected as one of the best teams in the league you gotta win, you have to get it done and that's something we haven't done since I've been here.''
Peavy takes the ball on Wednesday for the Sox' second game of the year. He matches up against new Royal Ervin Santana, two days after the Sox and Chris Sale beat the Royals and James Shields 1-0 on Opening Day. The Sox and Royals had an off-day Tuesday.
"It's always fun when you get to take your turn, and I look forward to one of many,'' Peavy said.
Almost three years removed from major surgery to re-attach a torn lat muscle, Peavy has a two-year contract extension in hand and a peaceful feeling about his physical condition.
"I feel as healthy as I have since I've been here,'' he said. "I know you guys are sick of hearing me say that. But I do feel as back as I could be. I do feel like my stuff's a little better than it was last year, so we'll see what that translates into. But it's a nice feeling to have.
"It really is nice. Even last year, you set out to prove that you're healthy even start to start, I'm sure that everybody out there, you guys included, are going when's it gonna happen, the breakdown. I had many, many years of just like last year before I showed up in the shape that I did here in '09. I hope those are behind me now, I do have some mileage, and we don't know what the future holds, but I'm going to do everything I can do to stay healthy. And like I said, I do feel my stuff's a little bit better than it has been at any point in time here. And I hope to fall right in behind Chris and be a top of the rotation guy.''
As for the division and where the Sox will fit in, Peavy knows the Tigers, on paper, are superior. He knows a lot of things have to fall into place for the Sox to challenge them again.
"Obviously the Tigers are the American League champions, they deserve to be who they are,'' Peavy said. "I just saw the power rankings came out, and they're the top-rated team in the American League. The Tigers have no holes. They're a great baseball team. At the same time we know that we can play and compete with the Tigers. That being said, Kansas City, Cleveland, the teams made huge upgrades in our division and we understand that. It's competitive, that's what you want. To be the best, you gotta beat the best. That's cliche, but it's the truth. Everybody in our division's gotten better, we feel like we're better and we set out to prove that today. We got a lot of people who don't believe that, but I promise you there's 25 guys and the front office staff that believe we do have enough talent here to make it happen. Time will tell.''
It's not that the Sox are disrespected, Peavy said.
"I guess you'll get respect when you go out and earn respect. At the end of the day, what we did last year, I don't think it warrants respect. We didn't get it done. We had a chance to get it done and we didn't get it done. You get respect when you do what Detroit did, when you win the division and you win the playoffs. That's what we all want to do here, so until the time comes, you have to earn respect. That's what we're all after here.''