Quick hits: End of the road for Penny?

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– It looks like the Red Sox are losing patience with Brad Penny, as Tim Wakefield will return from the disabled list to take his turn in the rotation against the White Sox next week.
After getting hammered for eight runs over four innings against the
Yankees on Friday night, Penny has a 5.61 ERA over 24 starts with
Boston. Penny hasn’t completed seven innings in a start all season.




– The Diamondbacks have called up prospect first baseman Brandon Allen
from Triple-A Reno. Acquired from the White Sox in the Tony Pena trade
last month, the former 2004 fifth-round draft pick batted
.298/.373/.503 with 20 homers and 75 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A
this season. He profiles as Arizona’s first baseman of the future.




– The 1969 “Miracle Mets” will be honored before Saturday’s game against the Phillies, while the Pirates plan a similar celebration for the 30th anniversary of the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh club of 1979.



– Joel Sherman of the New York Post
asked seven major league executives which second baseman they would
rather have for the next five years: Dustin Pedroia or Robinson Cano.
The general consensus may surprise you.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.