Peavy primed: Bochy emphasized he has total confidence in Peavy, his 24-year-old ace, as he makes his postseason debut on Tuesday in Game 1."He's pitched in a lot of big games," Bochy said, citing Peavy's Major League debut against the Yankees, his All-Star Game appearance this season and several key efforts down the stretch. "This kid's makeup is off the charts. "I think he's going to become what he is: one of the best young pitchers in the game. He's going to have a tremendous career. We're excited to have him and excited to have him going [Tuesday]." Peavy, the league strikeout leader with 216, was sixth in ERA at 2.88, right behind Cardinals Game 1 starter Chris Carpenter, at 2.83. Carpenter was 21-5 compared to Peavy's 13-7, but Peavy easily could have approached 20 wins with better run support. "St. Louis is probably the best team in the National League," Peavy said, "but we'll take our chances against them in a five-game series. "That's what I love about baseball. You never know what's going to happen. A lot of underdogs have won championships. The last few years, it's been the hottest team in September that's gone on and won." Roberts gives it a go: It is Dave Roberts' intention to start in center field and lead off for the Padres on Tuesday, even though he's not fully recovered from a muscle pull in his right leg that sidelined him for the last eight games of the regular season. "It's definitely not 100 percent," Roberts said after taking batting practice on Monday. "But it's playable. This is what you hope for; I'm expecting to perform and produce." Asked to assess how close to 100 percent he is, Roberts gave it a lot of thought before arriving at "80 to 85 percent." He said he would be conscious of it but try to play the game with his customary energy. Said Bochy: "Dave Roberts is a guy that relies on his legs. If they're not 100 percent, you're getting a guy who's not going to play his type of game. Dave is a great baserunner, a center fielder that covers ground. If we think he has not fully recovered [from] this, we have some guys we could put out there that would be 100 percent." The other options include veteran Eric Young in center or Robert Fick or rookie Ben Johnson in right, with Brian Giles shifting to center. Giles, quiet MVP candidate: He doesn't get much play in the national media, but Giles, the Padres' most productive performer in 2005, figures to finish in the 5-10 range in MVP balloting. Teammate Khalil Greene thinks Giles' numbers, though excellent, aren't what they would be in most ballparks because of PETCO Park's vast reaches in right-center and center. "He's been the one guy, throughout the whole year, who's been consistent," Greene said. "When you break down guys against other players, there's such a discrepancy due to ballparks -- especially [PETCO]. His numbers are skewed by the park." On the road, Giles batted .333, fifth in the league, compared to .267 at home. Nine of his 15 homers and 52 of his 83 RBIs came away from PETCO Park. Giles led the team in most of the important offensive categories, including average (.301), slugging (.483) and on-base percentage (.423). He was third in the league, batting .360 with runners in scoring position, and led all of baseball in walks with 119.
"A lot of our guys are about as good as anybody at their respective positions," Greene said. "It's just a matter of everybody being healthy and doing what they're capable of doing."Despite missing 41 games, making two trips to the disabled list with a fractured finger and fractured big toe, Greene finished with 15 homers and 70 RBIs, second on the club to Giles.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.