Saturday, April 18, 2009

Penny: "I felt unbelievable"

If you expected Brad Penny to be upset after getting shelled for seven runs in the second inning on Friday, well, be prepared for a bit of a surprise.

"I felt great," he said. "I haven't had that kind of stuff in a while."

Say what now?

OK, sure, Penny hit 96 on the radar gun and showed off a sharp breaking ball. Even the grand slam Nick Markakis hit came on a curveball the right fielder almost had to dig out of the dirt.

"It was a good pitch," he said. "He went down and got it. I watched the video: I think he was sitting on it. Usually, with a curveball, they're going to put their front foot down first, but he was waiting back on it. He hit a great pitch."

But, still, seven runs is seven runs, right?

"Stuff-wise, I felt great," he said. "My breaking ball was good. I didn't get to throw too many splits because I was 2-1 and 3-1 on everyone, but I had a great curveball -- and my fastball, I felt great with it today. ...

"Tonight, my velocity was consistent. Everything felt great. I felt unbelievable tonight."

Penny even turned his five walks into an encouraging sign.

"The walks killed me tonight," he said. "That's uncharacteristic for me. I don't usually walk a lot of people, so I got that one out of the way, I guess."

(Fact-check: Penny has averaged fewer than three walks per nine innings in five of his 10 big-league seasons. For comparison, Josh Beckett has averaged more than three walks per nine innings in six of his nine big-league seasons.)

And he certainly wasn't going to forget the ultimate positive: The Red Sox rallied from the early deficit to win the game. No other Red Sox pitcher has seen the team win both of the games he's started.

"Tonight, those guys coming back like that, that's a first for me," he said. "Other teams I've played on, down 7-0 in the second, it's over. You feel a lot better about an outing like that when your team comes back and wins the game."

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