Hey, great game today, right? The Dodgers finally bust out of their offensive slump with 7 runs and 13 hits. Andre Ethier even takes one out of spacious Comerica Park and drives in 4, James Loney goes 3-5, and current favorite Dodger of MSTI Delwyn Young gets three hits of his own. Good times all around, right? What? Oh.
Well, that happened. After a mini-resurgence (2 ER over 6 IP and 3 ER over 6 IP his last two starts, and just the fact that mediocre outings like that count as a positive should tell you how lousy he’s been) Brad Penny is now rocking a 5.88 ERA. And I have to say… it’s time to worry. Yeah, I argued a few weeks ago that he’d had one good month and one bad month in 2008. But after getting off to such a hot start in 2007, he was only mediocre to end the year. Throw in how bad he’s been this year, and over the last 365 days Brad Penny is 13-11 with a 4.41 ERA. Hardly the stuff “aces” are made of. I stand by my earlier stance that you can’t trade him (because his value is so low) and you have to exercise his option (because it’s such a reasonable price for one year)… but if he keeps this up, I reserve the right to completely rethink my position on that option.
The question, of course, is: what now? What can you do with him, short of coming up with some clever way of getting him onto the DL? Other than finding out he really is hiding an injury (unlikely, since his velocity is still there), it seems that the only way he’s going to get himself right is by pitching through it. But can the Dodgers afford to let him do that, with the season already on the brink of slipping away? Remains to be seen, I suppose.
And, look, I hate to say “I told you so,” but: I told you so. Angel Berroa is all the way up to .167, and committed a costly throwing error today. Chin-Lung Hu could have hit .167, except he’d have contributed excellent defense. Clearly, Angel Berroa is not the reason this team is playing like it is; but he’s really not helping much either, is he?
Update: Well, that was quick. 40 minutes after I put this up, I see this, from Diamond Leung:
Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny has inflammation and pain in his throwing shoulder and probably shouldn’t have gone out to pitch today and give up seven runs to the Tiger. Penny said he felt the discomfort while warming up in the bullpen before the game, but didn’t report any issues until after he was removed from the game.
“He didn’t mention it to me,” Manager Joe Torre said. “When he came out of the game, I found out.”
“I probably shouldn’t have gone out there, but that would have put the team in a horrible spot,” Penny said. “I wasn’t feeling OK at all. You just feel it on every pitch. It makes it tough. It affects everything.”
The first sign of Penny’s shoulder acting up came officially last month when in Anaheim it was announced his start would be pushed back a day. But the numbers show that Penny hasn’t been himself, and he said he had been taking a fast-acting anti-inflammatory medication before starts so he could pitch.
Trainer Stan Conte said the discomfort was surprising given Penny had gone through his bullpen sessions and workouts without incident, and said Penny told him that after his previous two outings, he felt “perfect.”
Penny now is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday to find out the cause of his shoulder troubles. He was removed in the fourth inning, and by the fifth, plans for the MRI had been made.
I would never hope for someone to be hurt, and especially not a guy like Penny who’s served this team well over the last few years. But isn’t there just a small part of you that hopes they find something, if only to explain his struggles with something more satisfying than just, “he’s lost it”?
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness