Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Penny From Heaven

I loved the Brad Penny acquisition when it was announced, even more so when Penny started ripping the Dodgers upon his arrival. Nice to bring someone aboard with a mutual hatred of evil in it's original incarnation. Ever since Randy Johnson went down and Ryan Sadowski's magic juju wore off, the fifth starter spot has been an eyesore, not good for a team that would have trouble hitting home runs on the moon. As much as we loved the heart that Joe Martinez showed in coming back from that liner to the eye, he just wasn't getting it done. Enter the big fella.

Penny's numbers with the Red Sox this year were fugly. His numbers with the Dodgers last year were fuglier. He was criticized for being out of shape and having a poor attitude in both of those stops. Mitch Williams ripped him a new one on MLB Network for not wanting to pitch for the Sox out of their bullpen (not that this is particularly noteworthy; I just find the idea of Mitch Williams being an authority on anything to be absolutely fucking hilarious). So, no, Penny was not the most beloved individual in the world as Monday morning dawned.

However, Penny cleared waivers, so the Giants not only did not have to trade anything to get him, they only have to pay him $100,000. He also still throws in the mid-90's, and he's got a chip on his shoulder (though, to be fair, so does Willie Bloomquist.../stifles laughter). There was just no reason not to make this move. Finding out whether or not Penny can throw a breaking ball once in a while and start pitching like 'twas 2006 is well worth the pocket change the Giants have to give him. Plus, some of his bad pitching in Boston was attributable to some bad luck (Fielding Independent ERA of 4.48, for you DiPs nerds out there).

So I liked the move (seriously, why wouldn't you, if you're a Giants fan?), and wouldn't you know it? In his first start with the team, Penny shut down the Phillies to lead the team to a huge 4-0 win. Awesome performance, and it's not like he was out there overpowering some crappy NL team like the Padres. This was the Phillies, a team that can swing with basically any AL team, and he was facing them in their home ballpark. He didn't strike out many, but he was painting the corners all night and had hitters off balance.

Juan Uribe hit another big home run, cementing his amazing transformation from free-swinging bane-of-Paulie's-existence to tolerable utility infielder who seems destined to knock at least one or two more big hits down the stretch. I told myself before the Phillie series that, hell, I'd be thrilled if the Giants were able to just take one game. Now, with Tim Lincecum squaring off against the corpse of Pedro Martinez, they're in good position to win the series and continue to hang around with the Rockies until they can get back home.

I saw him hit 98. Too bad the Rockies win every damn day.
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