And in September...
The Padres are hoping their right-hander can keep them atop the West Division and lead them to the postseason.
"Jake has pitched very well the last six weeks," San Diego manager Bud Black said after Peavy's win Aug. 27. "He was locked in. He had that look in his eyes."
Peavy seemed to have that look in his eyes all month long, going 5-0 with a 1.36 ERA in six August starts. He posted back-to-back shutouts to open the month against the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals, and gave up eight runs, six earned, all month. His five wins were tied with Arizona's Doug Davis for most in the NL, and his ERA was second-lowest among all Major League pitchers who threw at least 20 innings.
Peavy also struck out 53 batters in August, tops in the Major Leagues and 12 more than his closest National League competitor. He posted double-digit strikeout outings in four of his six starts, including three consecutive 11-strikeout performances, and became the Padres' career strikeout leader on Aug. 27.
"It's special," Peavy said of becoming the franchise leader. "Not many people even these days stay with an organization to do something like that. I feel privileged to be here long enough to do something like that. I tell people all the time, I'm proud to be a San Diego Padre."
One of the keys to his recent success has been a more assertive approach on the mound.
"I just feel like that's the way I've got to pitch," Peavy said. "I can't go out there and pitch to contact. Be aggressive, and that's the type of pitcher I am. When I try to shy away from that I've given up more hits and created more problems for myself, but I go as hard as I can for as long as I can and see where the cards fall."
The cards fell pretty nicely in August for him and the Padres, who gained ground in the NL West as the month went on. The Padres opened August third in the division, 2 1/2 games behind Arizona. But on Sept. 1, it was San Diego that was tied with the Diamondbacks for the division lead, and it was Peavy that was a big part of that.
He beat the Diamondbacks to open and close August, and allowed more than four hits only once in his six starts. Peavy gave up 22 hits all month.
"He's got some fire in him. He wants to win," San Diego's Kevin Kouzmanoff said after Peavy's win Aug. 22. "It's always good to have him on the mound."
Peavy's been dominant all year for the Padres. His 2.10 ERA in 28 starts is tops in baseball, and his 16 wins are a career high, and most in the NL. His 206 strikeouts lead the NL. And not to be overlooked, he's 10-2 in 13 starts this season in games that have followed a Padres loss.
"He's really taken focus this year on how to execute guys and obviously he's got once in a lifetime stuff," Padres catcher Josh Bard said. "And when you're able to do that and throw the ball where you want to, it's a pretty tough combination."
Other pitchers receiving votes were Arizona teammates Brandon Webb (4-1, 1.83 ERA) and Micah Owings (1-2, 3.03 ERA, 32 K's); Cincinnati's Aaron Harang (4-0, 3.35 ERA, 36 K's); Takashi Saito (13 saves, 0.68 ERA, 21 K's) of the Dodgers; and San Francisco's Matt Cain (4-1, 2.18 ERA, 40 K's).
Peavy will receive a Sharp AQUOS full HD LCD-TV and a specially designed trophy for his achievement.
Marc Zarefsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.