Penny for your thoughts
April 29, 2009 3 Comments
Last night was a pretty awful start for Brad Penny. On the cold, rainy and foggy night, he was having trouble locating his fastball, and his curveball was out of control. In four starts, we’ve seen two quality starts out of Penny, mixed in with two horrible ones. That 8.66 ERA is unsightly, Justin Masterson is looking very good in two starts, Clay Buchholz needs to log some innings here, and Michael Bowden looked good in his two inning came0 against the Yankees. At this rate, Penny could be the one to get the boot when Daisuke Matsuzaka is ready to rejoin this rotation. What do you think, Red Sox Nation? Are we ready to give up on Penny?
Penny has turned in two quality starts, and has a record of 2-0. He’s a groundball pitcher (47.1% this year), and last night’s game suffered from some really bad fielding gaffes, let’s face it. If the Sox turn two twice more, the outcome is really different, and we’re riding a 12-game win streak – so let’s put the fair share of blame on Julio Lugo and Mike Lowell for last night.
Velocity is not an issue, as he’s averaging 92.7 mph on the season; that bodes well for his health and ability to keep pitching. His fastball has been consistent in each game (92.56, 93.61, 92.20, 92.77 mph), he’s consistently topping out at 95-96 mph and if anything, he throws his four-seamer harder in the games when he’s getting shelled.
When Penny can’t locate his fastball, he doesn’t have a lot of good secondary stuff to fall back on. In his two wins, he’s thrown about 62% strikes with it, but in the two bad starts, that drops off to about 52%, with a good deal of scattering in the strike zone.
So far, he’s walked way too many batters and had trouble whiffing as many as he usually does, even in his “good” games. His HR rate was not so bad until after last night, but opponents have a great contact rate against him (89.7%), a very high percentage of fly balls hit off him have gone yard (21.7%), and that 8.22 FIP is screaming for us to cut him while the cuttin’s good. I think the Sox give him maybe one or two more starts, then designate him in the hopes that they can send him to Pawtucket.