Through all the hoopla about David Ortiz finally hitting his first homer of the season (319 players have hit at least one home run before him), there was Brad Penny tossing one of his best games of the season.
He had 6.2 innings pitched, two earned runs, and nine hits allowed. He only struck out two but only walked one.
Penny didn’t even have command of his curveball.
That’s a pretty solid outing by your number five pitcher. If you’re Tito Francona, you’ll take that from Penny and let the bullpen help you out in the late innings.
With the win, Penny ran his record to 4-1 with a very deceiving 6.09 ERA. Sure, that sounds awful, but when you break it down, Penny has been very effective for the Sox.
Two of the first three outings, Penny didn’t even get out of the fourth inning. In those two games, he was 0-1 with a 20.80 ERA. Penny struck out two and walked eight. Control was a huge factor with Penny. Walks were getting him into trouble and his team defense didn’t aid his cause.
Since his outing in Cleveland when he went 2.2, allowing seven to score but four earned, thanks in part to Julio Lugo, Penny has gone at least six innings in each of his last four outings. Penny’s gone six innings in six of his eight total outings.
He’s gone 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA, with that one loss to Tampa and again, Lugo failed to convert an inning ending double play that led to two runs scoring.
Control? Not and issue. Eighteen strikeouts and only seven walks in his last four outings.
Only one home run allowed during this time frame and zero in the last 25.3 innings pitched.
If you’re like me and you see Penny scheduled to start you roll your eyes and ‘brace for impact’. But in reality, he’s only being out-pitched by Tim Wakefield. Penny’s outperforming Jon Lester and josh Beckett.
As the Red Sox number five starter, you can’t ask for more.
· It’ll be interesting to see how David Ortiz performs after slugging his first home run of the season. Did he get the 600 lb gorilla off his back? Based on his bat speed last night, I don’t see much improvement
· Speaking of being a mental midget, Jon Lester goes to the hill tonight. A win and the Sox sweep Toronto. But, after Lester’s outing in Seattle he began to frustrate himself and question his pitches. This has me worried that he’s lacking confidence. Tonight should be interesting
· After Julio Lugo’s throwing error on Tuesday night, I can’t imagine that Theo Epstein is going to stand pat. He loves defense and speed. Lugo is providing neither. I can see the short term fix being Yunesky Betancourt, out in Seattle. I’m still staying on my proposal of Tulowitzki.
· Was last night’s outing the end for Daniel Bard? When Dice-K comes back, Masterson will move to the bullpen. That means someone has to go. I think it’ll be Bard and a good time for him to go down to Pawtucket. He was relevant out of the ‘pen and his short success will do him wonders down the road
· Too bad Cub fans, looks like Jake Peavy is headed to the south side of Chicago. I still think Boston didn’t have a need for him. They need a shortstop and a catcher for the future.
· If the Peavy trade goes through, expect that trade to begin the a whirlwind of big deals before the trade deadline. Mets need a first baseman, Red Sox need power from the bench and Cleveland is looking to trade Cliff Lee.
· Got Ramirez? Los Angeles Dodgers are showing they do not need him right now. They are playing .600 ball in a sagging NL West.
· One Dodger hurting without Ramirez is outfielder Andre Ethier:
§ With Manny: Ethier was hitting .317, six homers, 27 RBI
§ Without Manny: Ethier hitting .116, zero homers, 2 RBI