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Saturday, June 14, 2008

What In The World Is Wrong With Brad Penny? Tigers 12, Dodgers 7

Jon linked to a rare Tom Meagher piece about Brad Penny's sudden lack of success in 2008, in which he discovered that "hitters are waiting for a typical Penny fastball and slapping them for singles." I really don't know if that's what happened in today's game, but Penny got blistered for a pair of homers and a triple (one of two the Tigers hit that frame, the other off reliever Scott Proctor) in just the fourth inning; I would be curious to see where that came from.

Penny just came off of two good games, one of them limiting the best offense in the league to three runs over six innings, so you had some hope; but today's game threw it all in a cocked hat, as Penny left without getting through the fourth. The problem appears to be a bum shoulder:

Penny said he felt discomfort while warming up in the bullpen. He’s been bothered by a sore shoulder for most of the season and has been taking pain medication before every start since early in the year. Penny is 0-7 in his last eight starts.

“I knew I probably shouldn’t have went out there,” Penny said. “But that would have put the team in a horrible position.”

He’s scheduled to fly back to Los Angeles on Sunday for a MRI on Monday.

Scott Proctor relieved Penny and immediately gave up yet another triple, this one to right. One of the annoying things I found about the first triple that inning (by Curtis Granderson) was that for almost any outfielder with an arm, Granderson could have been held to a double; but once the ball sliced right over Pierre's head and dropped into the left-center gap, it was an automatic three-bagger, as Pierre had zero chance of making the throw.

Something very like that happened in the bottom of the fifth, as Angel Berroa committed his first error of the season to allow Magglio Ordonez to score when he threw away a routine grounder that should have gone to Russell Martin but instead bounced under his glove and all the way to the backstop. Ordonez was otherwise a dead duck, at best in a rundown, but the Dodgers missed an opportunity to at least make an out. I fully expect more of these sorts of plays, and am frankly surprised that we haven't seen more like this yet from Berroa; the inning itself contained a scoring wild pitch by Proctor, which just added to the general mayhem.

The good news was that the Dodgers managed to find some offense. The Dodgers actually had an early 1-0 lead and came back with three in the fourth after the Tigers tied it up. Unfortunately the Tigers' six-run fourth really changed the complexion of the game to that of a blowout, and the Dodgers' demeanor fell accordingly. Angel Berroa got a double, which should keep him in the lineup far too long. Matt Kemp whiffed twice, which worries me some, though in truth I think he's a better hitter than that.

I want this team to succeed with the kids. I respect that it may not, but these experiences will make them better.

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