Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brad Penny: I Think Bowden's knocking at your Locker

My favorite phrase during the tail end of the Coco years was "Jacoby's knocking at your locker." Well, I feel that the phrase (minus the Jacoby part) still has some life in it. I've never really liked Penny. I didn't like him when we first picked him up. I didn't like him out in LA, but I thought... ok, it's a low-risk move. I can deal with it.

Despite my ability to deal with it, I'm not really sure I want to.

Let's consider... Penny has made four starts for us. Despite the fact that he's 2-0, he has an 8.66 ERA, has pitched only 17.2 innings (averaging right around 4.1 per start), has given up 24 hits (17 ER), 5 HR and 11 BB. Opponents are batting 3.20 against him. He ranks 375th ERA across all of major league baseball... and while I'll admit that these stats aren't the be all, end all of stats, it makes you think (Dice-K, for the record, ranks 407th with a 12.79 ERA). Last night's other starter, Anthony Reyes, is higher on the list than Penny. Now let's compare!

Michael Bowden, who would be starting on just about every other team, is sporting a handy 0.64 ERA in three starts and 14.00 IP (averaging 4.2 per start). 10 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, and 15 K. Averaging about the same IP as Penny per outing, but seemingly knows how to throw a baseball better. And don't forget, we already saw him this year, and he looked good. Not Bowden? You don't want to rush him too much? Ok, that's cool.

Try this instead. Clay Buchholz... 2.45 ERA, 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 7 BB, 12 K's. He's got the major league experience, and it won't be considering rushing if you bring him back now. Plus, Dahmer deserves another chance to prove that last year was just a little flukey. Still no? Ok...

How about Enrique Gonzalez? Charlie Zink? Junichi Tazawa? Christopher Walken?! Come on, any of these guys could throw more strikes than Penny. I honestly would rather see the job go to one of our itty bitty baby Sox. I guess we can always wait until Smoltz is ready to go.

Honestly, though, if our number 5 starter being ineffective, and our closer allowing a few runs are our biggest problems, we're ok.

Actually, I wanted to comment on Papelbon. I would, uh, really appreciate slightly less drama, but I can live with it. If we have a three run lead, and he gives up one run, that's ok. Don't get me wrong. I worry about the long-term implications of his extra work, but I'm not really panicked yet.

Double plays are also part of our biggest problem. We actually rank 2nd in double plays behind the Seattle Mariners. We have 22, they have 23. The Tigers and the Dodgers are tied for second with us with 22. Toronto has grounded into 21, So the top five are relatively close. Six teams have grounded into 18 DP's. Two have 17, four have 16, one has 15. The Arizona Diamondbacks have the fewest DP's... they've only grounded into 8. That... that is what we need to strive to achieve. 8 DP's in a month is very very tolerable. We tend to get more like 8 per series, which just hurts me emotionally. While we have not grounded into the most DPs in the league, we're not too far off. We need to stop this. I don't know how to stop it, but I'll continue pondering this issue and hopefully get back to it with a solution. It's gotta be something along the lines of stop swinging at bad pitches, but I just can't be sure...

Tough loss last night, providing further evidence of why I don't like Javier Lopez (and you can't make me!), but we've got Binky on the mound tonight, ready to start a new win streak.

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