Jake Peavy will stand tall on the mound at Fenway Park on Saturday night, maybe even with a smile on his face.
Sure, he will be heaving pitches past his former teammates. More than that, though, Peavy is just thrilled to be a part of a pennant race, as the Red Sox, who acquired the right-hander from this weekend's opponent -- the White Sox -- vie for the American League East crown.
"For me to start the season with somebody else and be traded over here with only a few months left, with everything in the world to gain," Peavy said, "I can't tell you how excited I am."
Peavy spent four years with the White Sox, who sent him to Boston in a three-team deal prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline a month ago.
"I did not want to leave Chicago," Peavy said. "It was not my choice and I was not excited about leaving Chicago. That being said, I couldn't be any more excited to be right here right now, and this is the way it should have been. This bunch, I don't think I could have walked into a better situation with a better bunch of guys who are a lot like me on and off the field. This is where I belong and I'm excited."
So when a pitcher faces former teammates, who holds the upper hand?
"I know whatever's his best, I'm getting it [Saturday]," said Chicago slugger Adam Dunn. "He knows how to get me out and I know what he's going to try to get me out with. If he makes a mistake, I win. And if he doesn't, he probably wins."
Peavy called the circumstance a "Catch-22."
"I feel like I know their lineup very well," Peavy said. "But at the same [time], they know me and what I do and the way I go about things, the way I prepare. And they're going to do the same. It's really going to come down to who executes better."
The White Sox, who will send John Danks (4-10, 4.15 ERA) to the hill, have won 10 of 13. Since they traded Peavy, they are 16-13.
"They're playing well. They're playing with some energy," Peavy said. "They really have nothing to lose, and they're going out there and letting it all hang out. You see the results they've gotten over the last few weeks. I'm excited for that, but we don't need that happening here this weekend for this ballclub."
Danks is ready for the challenge.
"It's going to be different seeing him over there in the other uniform," Danks said. "We know what we are going to get from him. He's going to be hard to beat. We are going to have to be good to beat him, but I think we are up for the task. It will be fun to beat one of your buddies."
Peavy went 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts with the White Sox this season. He compiled a 36-29 mark and 4.00 ERA in 84 appearances during his tenure in Chicago. The three-time All-Star has posted a 2-1 record and 3.31 ERA in five starts with Boston.
"I've been very blessed to have the opportunity that I've been thrust into," Peavy said. "It's something you only dream of."
White Sox: Peavy's departure felt in clubhouse
• Peavy is missed within the White Sox clubhouse.
"Me personally, you miss your buddy and you just get used to doing certain things every day," Dunn said. "Just little things: going to the field, eating, things like that. Team-wise, you know what you're getting every fifth day. I think he was good for a lot of these young pitchers, kind of pick his brain like they should have. He's just good for the team."
• Danks is not sure why the White Sox have played better since trading veterans Peavy, Jesse Crain, Alex Rios and Matt Thornton.
"I have no explanation for it. I really don't," Danks said. "Those are good players and there's a reason why other teams wanted them. We are just playing better baseball."
Red Sox: Peavy re-energized
Joining a team in the AL playoff race has Peavy as motivated as ever to excel on the mound. Beating his old squad would just be icing on the cake.
"You just want to win," Peavy said. "At the end of the day, all of us athletes have that burning. I want to win with absolutely all of me. I want to beat every team I play. I especially want to beat my buddies, because I don't want to have to hear about it. But at the end of the day, it's not going to affect any friendships. It's not going to do anything. It's out of respect for the game, respect for your city, your teammates, you put the uniform on and you go out there and do all you can do during that three or four hours we play to do all you can do to beat the opposition."
• Peavy has made only one start at Fenway Park since joining the Red Sox. On Aug. 3, he held the D-backs to two runs on four hits over seven innings.
• In his career, Dunn is batting .179 (5-for-28) with two home runs and 10 strikeouts against Peavy.