Brad Penny is dominating NL opponents in the first half of the season for the second consecutive year. He still isn’t having much success against the AL.
Penny (8-1, 2.18 ERA), second in the NL in ERA and tied for second in wins, is off to another impressive start after going 10-2 with a 2.92 ERA in his first 18 outings last season, becoming the NL starter for the All-Star game.
Another strong first half is not translating to interleague success for Penny or his team. The Dodgers (39-30) are 2-7 against AL opponents this year while Penny has gone 0-1 with a 6.39 ERA in two starts.
He is 1-8 with a 5.49 ERA in his last 12 starts against AL clubs, dating back to a win at Texas on June 13, 2003, while with Florida.
Penny, however, did pitch well against Toronto on June 8 in the opener of a three-game series, giving up one run and five hits with seven strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings. Olmedo Saenz’s pinch-hit, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth gave the Dodgers a 4-3 win in that contest, but the Blue Jays won the next two games of the series.
Penny followed that outing versus Toronto with another strong performance on Wednesday, helping the Dodgers complete a three-game sweep of the New York Mets with a 9-1 win. He held New York to one run and seven hits while striking out seven in seven innings.
“I thought I threw the ball pretty well. I had no walks, so I’ll take that every time,” Penny said.
The Dodgers now look to bounce back from consecutive losses to the Angels over the weekend, including a 10-4 defeat on Sunday.
“Well, we got six games left against Toronto and Tampa Bay, and we need to get better,” Dodgers manager Grady Little told the team’s official Web site. “(Toronto) is a team that swings the bat well, but like I said, we feel we have a good ballclub over here.”
Little’s team, though, was held to nine runs in its three-game set against Toronto earlier this month.
Dustin McGowan (3-2, 4.78) again will start opposite Penny, having allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings in the first matchup.
McGowan pitched well enough on Wednesday to notch his third straight win, giving up two runs in six innings of a 7-4 win at San Francisco.
“He was solid, but he wasn’t as sharp,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told the team’s official Web site. “‘Laboring’ isn’t the right word, but he battled out there. He got some big strikeouts when we needed some, and we gave him a little breathing room to work with.”
The Blue Jays are coming off a 4-2 loss to Washington on Sunday as it failed to complete a three-game series sweep.
Toronto was held to four hits after totaling at least 10 in three straight games—all wins—and scoring seven runs in each.
Frank Thomas, who homered Sunday to become the all-time leader as a designated hitter with 244, is expected to start against the Dodgers at Rogers Centre after going 1-for-2 as a pinch hitter in two games at Los Angeles. His hit came in his only at-bat against Penny.
The Dodgers lost two of three games in their only series at Toronto from June 8-10, 2004.