UPDATE: My guess was way off. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Penny is “weighing an opportunity” with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League.
7:15 PM: Brad Penny was pretty awful with the Tigers last season. In addition to his 5.33 ERA over 31 starts, his strikeout rate of 3.67 K/9 was the lowest in the majors among qualified starting pitchers. Even worse, it was the lowest by a qualified starter since Livan Hernandez averaged 3.35 K/9 in 2008 between the Twins and Rockies.
With ugly numbers like that, it’s not a surprise to learn that the 33-year-old right-hander is having a hard time finding work with an MLB team. However, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick notes that Penny is drawing interest in Japan.
Just spitballing it here, but it would seem the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters have a void in their starting rotation now that Yu Darvish is officially a member of the Texas Rangers. And Brad Penny seems like the type of guy who would proudly fight to defend ham at all costs. Pretty easy match, really.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.