The Dodgers’ ace tries to help his team bounce back when it continues a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday at PNC Park.
Los Angeles (32-23) was held to its fewest runs in 11 games in a 3-1 defeat to the Pirates (24-31) on Saturday thanks to a stellar effort from Pittsburgh starter Ian Snell. The Dodgers fell for just the third time in their last 10 contests, but haven’t lost much when Penny (7-1, 2.06 ERA) starts.
Penny enters with a scoreless streak of 13 1-3 innings in winning his last two starts for the Dodgers, who are 9-2 in his appearances this season.
The right-hander held Washington to four singles while walking one and striking out four over 6 1-3 innings in a 10-0 victory on Tuesday. He has yet to surrender a home run in 70 innings, making him the only pitcher in the majors who has pitched at least 40 innings without allowing one.
All but one of his 11 starts have been quality outings and he has held opponents scoreless in five of those games. Dodgers manager Grady Little said Penny has been successful because he isn’t focused on overpowering opponents— he’s struck out more than four batters only once this year.
“He’s worried about getting people out,” Little said. “He’s proud when he gets them out on one or two pitches. That’s all a part of maturation.”
Penny is 3-2 with a 4.06 ERA in 10 career starts versus the Pirates and held them to two earned runs over six innings in a no-decision on April 21 as the Dodgers won 7-3. His ERA ranks second in the NL and he’ll square off against Pittsburgh’s Tom Gorzelanny (6-3, 2.39), who is third in that category.
The left-hander has allowed just eight total runs in his last six starts, including a 4-1 win over San Diego on Tuesday when he held the Padres to one run and seven hits over seven innings.
“I’m still a long ways from being established,” said Gorzelanny, who is in his second full season in the majors. “And I’m just going to go out there, do my thing, work hard. I know there’s still a lot of things I have to work on, especially with my pitch count.”
Gorzelanny threw a season-high 120 pitches in his last outing, including 34 in the first inning. He is 1-0 with a 7.71 ERA in two career games versus the Dodgers, beating them 7-5 on April 22 when he gave up three runs and five hits over six innings while striking out six.
Pittsburgh snapped a three-game skid Saturday despite having three runners thrown out at home plate. Xavier Nady homered and Matt Capps earned his second career save in his first game as the Pirates closer.
The Pirates have won just two of their last seven games at PNC Park, where they are 11-17 this season. The Dodgers have dropped six of their last nine games on the road.