Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Almost Perfect Penny

Boston Red Sox pitcher Brad Penny threw three scoreless and efficient innings yesterday in a 7-6 Boston win over the Tigers. A scout watching Penny had his fastball touching 94 mph and regularly in the 91-92 range, and that's good news for all of us. He was aiming for 45 pitches but because of his control and the aggressiveness of Detroit, he only needed 33. He retired nine of the ten batters he faced. This is another huge shot in the arm for Boston's overstocked (for now) pitching rotation. Penny had a few words to say after his outing was over...

“It was nice,” said Penny, who led the Sox to a 7-6 win. “I felt good. It’s been a while since I’ve gone out there and felt good. Last year I was pitching, but I didn’t really feel like I had a lot behind it. Today was another stepping stone toward getting my innings. I think I threw some pitches up 0-and-2. When I’m really throwing well, that’s how I pitch. I’ll get two strikes and try to elevate the fastball, and today I had that. I felt like the fastball had life, like I was throwing pretty hard today.”

And Sox manager Tito Francona added this...

“He had some real good life on his fastball,” Sox manager Terry Francona said. “From where we were, he was out there grunting and letting it fly. That’s what we’re looking for - grip it and go. I think he was excited. It was a good step for him and we all felt good about it. There was a lot of excitement in the dugout today because of how well he threw."

"Grip it and go." I like that. So far, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, the numbers one and two guys in the rotation, have been solid and injury free. Daisuke Matsuzaka was undefeated on his way to Japan's number one WBC finish last night in LA. Tim Wakefield has been up and down, but what else is new? And the battle for the fifth spot between Buchholz and Penny is slowly unfolding. Buchholz has looked sharp as a tack in each of his spring starts while Brad has only one outing, so Clay is ahead of him. Don't forget, John Smoltz is chomping at the bit to make his first spring start, but that might have to wait for a month or so. Don't worry, we're covered. Well covered.

Thanks for stopping in on this still dark Tuesday morning...that's daylight savings time for you in late March. The sun rises here at precisely 6:40am edt, but the days are getting longer and the sun is getting stronger (hey, a rhyme!). You can click on this post's title for more Sox news from SI dot com, and as always, BE WELL. Sayanora. Shalom. See ya.

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