1. A Penny Earned: Brad Penny has exceeded everyone’s expectations this year in being one of the best pitchers in the majors. On Monday he had his most dominant start of the season against the Marlins. Penny had 14 strikeouts in 7 shutout innings. Amazingly, he only had 15 strikeouts the whole season up until this game. Now Penny is 4-0 with a 1.39 ERA, good for second in the majors behind John Maine. He has reeled off seven straight quality starts this season, and has yet to give up a homer. The Dodgers won 6-1, helped offensively by Jeff Kent and breakout catcher Russell
Martin. They have a one-game lead over San Diego in the NL West.
2. Best vs. Worst: The best team in the league played the worst one on Monday, and the result was basically what you would expect. The 22-10 Brewers shut down the 9-23 Nationals as Chris Capuano gave his best start this year. Capuano went 8 innings, had 9 strikeouts, and played a huge role in the 3-0 shutout of Washington. Capuano is now 5-0 and has a 16-inning scoreless streak. As the season goes on, Milwaukee is starting to look less and less like a fluke and more like this year’s Detroit Tigers.
3. Other unbeatens: Penny and Capuano are among a multitude of pitchers who have not lost this season. Most notably is 6-0 Josh Beckett, who has won the most games in the majors this year. CC Sabathia and major league ERA leader John Maine are 5-0. At 3-0 there’s resurgent Bartolo Colon of the Angels, who’s pitching better than he did in his Cy Young season. Also, Mike Maroth is 2-0 despite a 5.35 ERA, Jeremy Bonderman is 1-0 with five no-decisions, James Shields of Tampa is 3-0, Baltimore’s Adam Loewen is 2-0, and Milwaukee’s Claudio Vargas is 3-0. All those undefeated pitchers combined with the 24 who have an ERA under 3.00, and it’s no surprise that pitching has been dominant this season.
Player of the Day: Bengie Molina, Giants: 2-3, 2 HR, 5 RBIs in a 9-4 win over the Mets. Both of Molina’s homeruns and all of the Giants’ runs came in a 9-run fifth inning.
Stat of the Day: Roy Oswalt is 19-1 in his career against the Reds. He beat them on Monday to improve to 5-2. Only four other pitchers in major league history took 19 of 20 from the same team, according to Elias Sports.