He probably didn’t figure that would earn him a date with the hottest team in baseball.
Penny will try to slow down slugging Adam Dunn and the streaking Cincinnati Reds on Monday, as the Reds hope to win their seventh straight overall - while avoiding a seventh straight loss at Dodger Stadium.
After sweeping first-place Florida last week, the Reds (21-23) cooled off intrastate rival Cleveland over the weekend.
The Indians had won six of seven coming in, allowing only six runs in those games. But the Reds swept the three-game series, scoring 14 runs and handing Cleveland’s Cliff Lee - who came in as the major league ERA leader - his first loss with a 6-4 win Sunday.
The Reds—who own the longest current winning streak in baseball—are looking to win seven straight for the first time since winning eight in a row in 2006.
“I have a lot of buddies who surf,” Reds manager Dusty Baker told his team’s official Web site. “When they catch a good wave, they ride it all the way to the beach. You ride that wave and keep on riding. You can’t worry about falling off.”
Baker’s metaphor is even more apt as his team begins a seven-game road trip in Southern California. After playing three in Los Angeles, the Reds will visit San Diego for four.
Cincinnati split two games with the Dodgers (22-21) at home last month, but the Reds have been swept in Los Angeles each of the past two seasons. They’ve lost 11 of 14 overall in the series.
Penny (5-4, 5.09 ERA) has been a common nemesis. The right-hander has won seven straight decisions against Cincinnati, including his last five starts.
Since he joined the Dodgers in 2004, he’s 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA against the Reds. He gave up just one run in six innings at home in Los Angeles’ 9-3 win on April 21.
But Penny has dropped his last two starts, allowing 15 earned runs in just 10 2-3 innings in those games. He gave up nine hits and five runs in six innings at Milwaukee Tuesday, then felt stiffness in his arm during a bullpen session.
“He saw a doctor and there was nothing more than that, so that sort of put the concern away, and we just decided to give him an extra day,” Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said.
Among the Reds hitters Penny has silenced is Dunn, who is just 3-for-25 with 13 strikeouts in his career against Penny.
Dunn is still hitting just .221 this season, but he has homered in a career-high four straight games for Cincinnati. He hit a three-run, walk-off home run Saturday, then put Cincinnati ahead for good with a solo shot Sunday.
“Those are the same pitches I was grounding out on or popping up or striking out,” Dunn said. “I knew I was going to start hitting. They’re the same pitches. That’s what I’ve been dealing with all year.”
He’ll try to support Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (2-4, 6.08). After struggling to start the season, Arroyo has been brilliant in his last two starts, allowing just one run in 15 innings and striking out 14. He pitched seven shutout frames on three days’ rest against Florida in a 7-6, 10-inning win Wednesday.
He won for the first time in five starts against Los Angeles by giving up six hits in 6 2-3 innings in a 4-0 win on Aug. 7.
The Dodgers will be looking to end a four-game home losing streak. They finished a 3-3 road trip Sunday, losing 10-2 against the Los Angeles Angels.