This is why I can't find anything interesting to write about for the first two months of the season. 30 games into this season I've found one thing to really analyze, Brad Penny's sudden inability to strike anyone out. Every other subject involved me waving my hand dismissively and saying "small sample size", but watching Penny fail to fan anyone game after game just seemed disconcerting.
One game is all it took to make those concerns look completely invalid over the long term.
After one of the most dominant pitching performances by a Dodger pitcher the last few years, Penny's season has gone from "terrible disaster eminent" to "he's just struggling a little at the start of the season." Coming into tonights game, Penny's K/9 was at a Beimelian 3.52. Now, it's a much more palatable 5.76. His once frightening .88 K/BB is now a reasonable 1.71. If Penny has a couple of games later this month where he strikes out five or six batters in six innings, he'll be back to his usual 6.5 to seven strikeouts per nine. His strike out to walk ratio is another issue, he'd have to strikeout another 13 guys without walking anyone to get it up to 2.5, and it usually sits around three. However, Penny is the only starter in baseball that hasn't allowed a home run, and that more than makes up for it.
The main lesson here is the same one I preach over and over again. Stats from the start of the season have no predictive value. I might have to start running shudder "classic" True Blue L.A. to get my analysis fill in. First up will be my interview with AFL-CIO chairman George Meaney.
There's a good chance that Penny's 12 strikeouts in five innings ties a Dodger record. In their 18 strikeout games, Sandy Koufax struck out 11 through five innings and Ramon Martinez had 12 after the fifth frame. There's probably a couple of performances I'm missing, but that seemed like a good place to start.
Former Dodger knuckleballer Tom Candiotti has been inducted into the bowling hall of fame. I imagine he has a slightly different approach to bowling than he took on the mound, though watching someone throw the canuck with a bowling ball would be a highlight of my life.
Nate Silver ranks the top 50 players in baseball for Sports Illustrated.com. The players were ranked based on how much they would produce if you controlled them for the next six years. The Dodgers contributed nothing to this list, though Russell Martin did get an honorable mention.