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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Penny Poker Yielding an Ace?
2006-04-24 09:51
by Jon Weisman

Jason Repko, Bill Mueller, J.D. Drew and Danys Baez got off to fine-to-outstanding starts for the Dodgers this month, as did Cody Ross, Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Takashi Saito in their own, context-required ways. But the best numbers for the young season belong to Brad Penny.

Penny, who is scheduled to make his fifth start Tuesday, has thrown 24 innings this season and has more strikeouts (25) than baserunners allowed (20 hits, two walks, one hit batter). His ERA is 1.88, and the OPS against him is a mere .562. He has faced 93 batters and allowed four extra-base hits. In his last start against Chicago, Penny looked as uncomfortable as a pitcher can look throwing his warmup tosses, and I got worried. He proceeded to allow a first-inning run but was otherwise effective, leaving after six innings with a 4-2 lead, seven strikeouts and 10 baserunners allowed (a double, a walk and eight singles).

Penny has been more of a sprinter than a marathoner this season, lasting no more than seven innings or 105 pitches in any game - not that that's a criticism, rather a place for skeptics to find purchase. He also hasn't pitched against the offensive powers of the National League: Atlanta (ranked seventh in NL team OPS) is the best of his opponents to date, with Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco ranked 10th or worse. But after Derek Lowe opens the Dodgers' series in Houston tonight, Penny will face an Astros team with a .365 on-base percentage and .481 slugging percentage. Third baseman Morgan Ensberg has an OPS of 1.477, tops in baseball, and the remaining two Killer Bees, second baseman Craig Biggio and first baseman Lance Berkman, are over 1.000. What an infield.

At age 40, Biggio could start dropping off at any minute, and the rest of the Houston lineup has been much less impressive. Nevertheless, making his final scheduled start of April, Penny has a chance to assert himself as the staff ace the Dodgers have been looking for since they traded for him, the first staff ace since Odalis Perez had a 3.25 ERA in 2004, or if you're not that generous, since Kevin Brown had a 2.39 ERA in 2003.

Penny's walk and strikeout rates are far out of proportion with his career rates, so don't expect miracles. Just know that if he does make it through Houston with his head held high, the Dodgers might be looking at an All-Star in the starting rotation.

2006-04-24 10:28:14
1.   GoBears
And that would sure be nice. I get the feeling that Penny is still learning how to pitch, and that his success is an inverse function of the number of mistakes he makes. His stuff is great.

Continuing the last conversation of the previous thread, I just got back from Chicago, where I had to settle for a game at US Cellular, since the Cubbies were out of town. It was nicer than I remembered, helped along by beautiful weather, a large crowd (winning the WS helps, I guess) and a pitcher's duel between Johan Santana and Mark Buerhle - until Santana racked up 123 pitches and his bullpen blew up.

Boy, the Twins' offense is horrible. Other than Joe Mauer, we're talking 2003 Dodgers horrible. Yuck. Granted, Morneau sat against the lefty, and Stewart is likely hurt, but even those two are merely mediocre.

2006-04-24 10:30:31
2.   Inside Baseball
Penny has been so much fun to watch. From the uncertainty that existed about his health from the beginning of last season to the confidence that he's showing now I really think there are just a handful of starting pitchers in the NL I'd rather have. Really besides Oswalt, Carpenter, Peavy, Martinez, and Clemens (if and when he returns) who else would anybody rather have taking the mound?

Also, I think Olmedo Saenz is worth at least an honorable mention in best Dodger starts to this season.

2006-04-24 10:32:09
3.   Penarol1916
2. US Cellular is nicer than its reputation, although the upper deck is not a good place to watch a game from, probably the steepest upper deck I've ever been to.
2006-04-24 10:33:03
4.   Sam DC
random question: What are newspaper conventions for including the ages of people mentioned in a column. I was reading an article about Keith Hernandez' comments about the Padres' massage therapist (, and the article gives her age (33) but not Hernandez's or Bochy's. Does it turn on whether the general public is familiar with the person -- we know around how old the men in this story are, but don't know about the woman. Or something else?

I will say, if there is one thing I have learned as I've become an old married guy, saying that you are sorry "if" you've offended/insulted anyone, is not a real apology. Hernandez really couldn't just admit that he had indeed offended some people and apologize for that?

2006-04-24 10:36:45
5.   Bob Timmermann
I think you put the age in for someone who is not well-known if you can find it out.

At other times, the age is mentioned if it is part of the story.

If the writer is trying to compare Hernandez's age to the trainer's age, then it would be mentioned. At least I think so.

But, my other question is: Is Jon's email working or did he blacklist me?

2006-04-24 10:39:22
6.   underdog
The Dodgers may not be doing anything when it comes to throwing out opposing baserunners so far, but conversely, it's a pleasant surprise to discover they are so far leading the leagues in stolen bases on offense. Not bad. (Even if still too early, obviously, to get excited.)
2006-04-24 10:42:32
7.   Penarol1916
4. My mother uses the "if" line on my wife all of the time, she claims she only says things that can be construed as offensive because English is her 4th language.
2006-04-24 10:42:44
8.   screwballin
Off-topic, but I know we have some music lovers here:

I've been using a new CD trading website called Basically you list all the CDs you want to get rid of, and also all that you want to receive. You get CDs on your wish list for $1, mailed from other users. It's pretty cool, but right now it's invite only. I have 3 invites that I'd be happy to send to DT readers; check it out and post here if it seems like something you'll use.

2006-04-24 10:45:23
9.   underdog
Even more off topic - hey, are there any screenwriters here who might have time for a bit of e-mail advice? (After finishing yet another draft of this script for a director, he's still not satisfied and I may need to either find a collaborator, a consultant, or a psychologist... ) You can drop me a line via my blog:


2006-04-24 10:46:53
10.   Bob Timmermann

Like the guy on BTF who said he was sorry that he said I was better with my father being dead, but he apologized only because I was obviously too sensitive.

2006-04-24 10:47:12
11.   Jon Weisman
5 - I hope it's working.

7 - I'd like to have a fourth language. Right now, I have 1 1/2: English, and what I remember of six years of French. Spanish has always been my intended No. 3. But No. 4 is wide open. I wouldn't mind Japanese, but that's a tall order.

2006-04-24 10:51:24
12.   Penarol1916
11. Oh, she had 5 by the time she was 10, and picked up Chinese as a 6th in college.
2006-04-24 10:51:25
13.   Sam DC
So, what do you get back if you trade a DFA'd Cody Ross to the Reds?
2006-04-24 10:56:07
14.   GoBears
3 I wasn't comparing my experience to the reputation of the place - I'd been there before. But the previous time, the weather, crowd, and team were all worse, so this experience was better. BTW, the train heading back to the city was packed, as were several before and after the one I got on, but I was impressed with how quickly and easily the trains emptied the place out. I was rather glad that the ChiSox won, so that the crowd would be in a good mood.

I was in the front of that upper deck, and I actually thought they were good seats. Not as high as the DS top deck, where I usually sit (or maybe I should say "sat," since I'm boycotting McCourt for at least this season).

2006-04-24 10:58:47
15.   Bob Timmermann
The top of the upper deck of US Cellular isn't open anymore.

It was vertiginous.

2006-04-24 11:04:44
16.   underdog
13 Probably very little. Either a low minor leaguer, a mediocre prospect, or... what? Cash? I'd feel bad for Cody if that happened. "You were sold to the Reds."
2006-04-24 11:06:59
17.   Johnson
15 But was it verdigrised?
2006-04-24 11:07:35
18.   screwballin
13 They need starting pitching, so if you throw in, say, Broxton, maybe you get Austin Kearns?

OK, maybe that sounds a little unlikely. But I read somewhere that they're still willing to entertain offers for Kearns, so something like that could be a possibility.

2006-04-24 11:09:35
19.   DodgerJoe
OT...I went to San Diego this weekend and took in my first game at Petco on Saturday.
2006-04-24 11:09:35
20.   DodgerJoe
OT...I went to San Diego this weekend and took in my first game at Petco on Saturday.
2006-04-24 11:11:35
21.   gcrl
is berkman an official killer b? i think biggio/bagwell/derek (operation shutdown) bell were the originals. do they still use that moniker?

i went to the twinks/angels last tuesday. a nice sarcastic standing o for dh rondell white when he singled to raise his avg to .098.
the local media here has been really forgiving regarding the tony batista signing, and they already seem to have torii hunter playing in the bronx next year. to their credit, the "loss" of jacque jones was not greatly lamented.

2006-04-24 11:11:45
22.   DodgerJoe

It was a good experience. A bit costly for my seats in the Terrace level (club). But my sightline was great. Piazza homered so it was worth it.

It was a very clean park, easy to get to. Kinda tough to get out, though.

2006-04-24 11:13:29
23.   DodgerJoe
21. Why is Torii slated for NY? Do they need another outfielder with Matsui, Damon, and Sheffield?
2006-04-24 11:13:32
24.   Penarol1916
14. A Twins win wouldn't have made them too bad, the only time I've seen Sox Fans get truley obnoxious towards other fans is during the Cubs series.
2006-04-24 11:18:10
25.   Daniel Zappala
Interesting sidebar to this Bonds story:

Apparently he deserves one more homer because Candiotti gave up a homer that was ruled a double by the umpires when it bounced back onto the field.

2006-04-24 11:18:53
26.   gcrl
that looks pretty cool, although my cd's probably aren't in trading condition as they are primarily in sleeves without all of the insert material.

i would be interested, though, if it helps me find a copy of the rave-ups "town + country" on cd...

2006-04-24 11:26:11
27.   Bob Timmermann
If the season ended today, the Reds would be the wild card.

And I believe Berkman is considered a "Killer B" because when I see games from Houston, if he gets a hit, the PA system plays a buzzing sound.

2006-04-24 11:26:48
28.   gcrl
i think it is partly because there were yankee rumors regarding hunter before damon was signed, partly because his condo is for sale, and partly because johnny damon addressed the possibility:

2006-04-24 11:31:17
29.   Linkmeister
I've only been to Chicago once, for a week-long hotel IT convention, but one of the optional outings was a trip to New Comiskey, as it was called at the time. The seats were about $12.50 and they were in the far upper upper reaches of the right-field line. I was terrified. Vertiginous is a really good descriptor.
2006-04-24 11:32:32
30.   screwballin
26 In most cases you don't need the cover art. You just send the CD in an envelope they provide.

I need your email address to send you the invite. Or you can email me at

2006-04-24 11:35:08
31.   gcrl
they must like their steep upper decks in chicago. i went to united center for a concert last year, and was frightened by the incline in the upper reaches. luckily our seats were only 5 or 6 rows from the bottom of the section. i can't imagine watching basketball or hockey from the upper deck in that building.

i'll be at us cell next thursday for the mariners matinee, and our tix are in the upper deck. i am now sufficiently dreading the game.

2006-04-24 11:36:16
32.   Linkmeister
So underdog has a blog, I have a blog, Rob has a blog, Bob and Jon have blogs.

Who else among DT frequenters/devotees has a blog? I only have about 100 on my blogroll; obviously it needs expanding.

2006-04-24 11:39:29
33.   Marty
Posting from my Washington bureau...

I always thought that the upper level behind home plate at Dodger stadium was the steepest possible seats.

Check out the latest link over at LA Observed. A guy writes about his $322 four-seat experience, then calls for a new stadium.

2006-04-24 11:41:34
34.   GoBears
31. Steepest I've experienced were at the Pond, for a Mighty Ducks game. I was in the tippy top row. Yikes!
2006-04-24 11:44:06
35.   Bob Timmermann
Rogers Centre (Skydome) has some seats that are pretty high up. Fearing Blue and I sat way up there for a Jays-Yankees game last summer. It was a beautiful day in Toronto.


I certainly hope those comments were tongue-in-cheek, because they were certainly almost useless.

2006-04-24 11:45:18
36.   Marty
my comments or his?
2006-04-24 11:45:55
37.   Jon Weisman
33 - Whatever you think of this idea overall, the idea that it would lead to lower hot dog prices is impossibly naive.

New Cody Ross post up top.

2006-04-24 11:46:38
38.   gcrl
i think it was at the ahmanson where i saw "miss saigon" in the mid '90s. i don't know if it had anything to do with the steepnes of the section, but a lady tripped on the stairs on her way down to her row, and tumbled (somersaulted, actually) all the way to the bottom of the upper deck, stopped by a railing of some sort on the landing. i'm surprised that doesn't happen more at stadiums where people are carrying 4 beers and a plate of nachos.
2006-04-24 11:50:09
39.   kevinarno
Yet, blessed with a bevy of off days, Grady Little insists on keeping his #5 starter in the rotation rather than yielding those starts to his ace on 4 days rest -- at least according to reports in this morning's LA Times.

As a Dodger fan who feels that he has a passing understanding of how baseball games are won and lost, this is going to be a very difficult relationship for me. As if the 'sacrifice your #5 guy and take the bat out of your most productive hitter's hands' isn't enough, we now have to contend with his unwillingness to give Brad Penny as many starts as possible on normal rest.

2006-04-24 11:51:50
40.   Bob Timmermann

Sorry. Mr. Stone's comments.

Everything that Marty writes is solid. It's the word. It's on tablets, like the Ten Commandments.

2006-04-24 12:01:40
41.   ToyCannon
You can't drop Seo out of the rotation after 3 starts. He is only going to work out the kinks with regular work. I'd rather see the Dodgers committed to the offseason plan then panicking when the season starts over small sample sizes. Seo has a track record of success so you need to give him time to get on track.
2006-04-24 12:06:49
42.   27indigo
8 I'm interested. I sent you an email.
2006-04-24 12:07:31
43.   kevinarno
41 - I'm not suggesting Seo be dropped from the rotation.

What I'm saying is that you spot start him to maximize the front of your rotation.

For example:


24 - Lowe
25 - Penny
26 - Perez
27 - OFF
28 - Tomko
29 - Lowe
30 - Penny
MAY 1 - Perez
2 - Seo
3 - Tomko
4 - Lowe
5 - Penny
6 - Perez
etc, etc, etc

It's a trope I haven't researched, but my understanding from my Boston pals is that Lowe isn't so effective on longer rest anyway.

2006-04-24 15:06:16
44.   Sushirabbit

Do your Boston pals all want Lowe back? I've been amazed at the number of Boston fans who tell me they'd take Lowe back in a heartbeat. I guess it was his postseason performance.

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