For the Want of a Blister ... a Game Was Lost

George Herbert wrote (and Benjamin Franklin later printed) the famous "For the want of a nail a shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe, a horse was lost, for the loss of a horse the rider is lost..." quotation sometime in the 15th century, never suspecting it was applicable to a small blister on Brad Penny's finger that resulted in a loss (8-6) to the Braves some 400 years later.

In a battle of team aces, Brad Penny faced Atlanta's Tim Hudson. Penny entered the game with a major league-best 2.00 ERA and was trying to become the first Dodgers pitcher to begin a season 11-1 since Doug Rau in 1977.

Although he would not use the blister as an excuse, the attempt fell short but it didn't keep the big righthander from whacking a single and a double, tying a career high with three RBIs.

Penny gave up six runs and nine hits over four innings in his final start before his second consecutive All-Star game. Hudson lasted only three innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs.

Making his first appearance since being recalled from Las Vegas, Eric Stultz (0-1) pitched well, working three innings and allowing only two hits but one of them was a Chipper Jones home run with one out in the sixth that broke a 6-6 tie. Jones added his 372nd career homer and 15th of the season leading off the eighth on the first pitch he saw from Chin-hui Tsao.

It was only the second time in Penny's last nine starts that he allowed more than one earned run. He hadn't walked more then two in a game in any of his first 11 starts but when the blister appeared early in the opening inning, he walked both Jones's, Chipper and Andruw but got out of the inning unharmed.

Then his first pitch of the second inning was hit out of the park by Jeff Francoeur and a two-RBI double by Edgar Renteria scored two more to give the Braves a 3-0 lead.

The Dodgers came right back with two of their own with Penny's double driving in the second run.

Three consecutive hits made it 4-2 Atlanta in the top of the third but with the help of Jones' error and Penny's two-run double, the Dodgers took their first and final lead of the game.

After the blister developed, eleven of the next 19 batters reached base, and Penny finally left after making 102 pitches and Penny's ERA jumped from 2.00 to 2.39. Penny handed the ball and a tie game to Stults.

"It's nothing major," Penny said of the blister. "The only key today was me. I just wasn't locating. The finger wasn't a problem. The blister had nothing to do with it. This team gave me every opportunity to win the game. I just let them down today."

Oddly enough, even with the two all-star calibre pitchers on the mound, the two teams piled up 14 runs, 27 hits, made four errors and threw 313 pitches. Each stranded 11 baserunners. Juan Pierre led off the fourth with a triple but Russell Martin bounced back to the pitcher, Jeff Kent struck out and Luis Gonzalez grounded out. L.A. also left the bases loaded in the fifth.

The Dodgers remained a game behind division-leading San Diego who lost to Florida.

A pair of young studs, Dontrelle Willis (7-7, 4.65 ERA) and Chad Billingsley (5-0, 3.44) face each other tonight as the Dodgers host the Marlins.
 Score by innings
Atlanta	        031 201 010-8
Los Angeles	024 000 000-6

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  0  0  0  .273
Pierre cf	5  1  2  0  .280
Martin c	5  0  1  0  .300
Kent 2b	        5  1  2  0  .270
Gonzalez lf	4  2  2  1  .293
Garciaparra 1b	4  2  2  0  .272
Loney 1b	5  0  1  0  .368
Ethier rf	2  0  1  0  .282
 Kemp ph-rf	1  0  0  0  .377
Penny p	        2  0  2  3  .273
 Stults p	1  0  1  0  1.000
 Saenz p	1  0  0  0  .212
 Tsao p	0  0  0  0  .000
    Totals	40 6 14 4
    Atlanta	38 8 13 8

 Error- Martin (8). 2b- Penny (3). 3b- Pierre (4). 
RBI- Penny 3 (6), Gonzalez (40). LOB- Los angeles 11,
Atlanta 11. DP- Loney, Furcal and Loney.

 Los Angeles	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Penny	        4.0  9  6-6  4  5  2.39
Stults (0-1)	3.0  2  1-1  2  4  3.00
Tsao	        2.0  2  1-1  0  0  3.13
 HBP- by Stults. T- 3:28. Att- 41.052.
And Now for Some Good News-- The MRI on Dodgers pitcher Randy Wolf's left shoulder Thursday revealed an impingement. Shoulder impingement results from the front edge of the shoulder blade rubbing against the rotator cuff, usually occurring after repeated overhead activities with the arm, causing swelling and tenderness. Wolf was given a cortisone shot and anti-inflammatory medication and restricted from throwing until after the All-Star break. Although all indications are Wolf will be ready to come off the 15-day disabled list when he becomes eligible July 19, neither Wolf nor trainer Stan Conte was willing to say that. "The key is the rotator cuff and labrum are fine," said Conte. "He should respond to the injection. He'll start exercises in the next couple days, but we'll take it conservative and make it right. The 19th is not unreasonable to reach, but we're not playing the calendar." ...Reliever Joe Beimel, taken to the hospital with heart palpitations Tuesday evening, was sent home Thursday but won't rejoin the team until tonight's game with Florida, for which he has been cleared to pitch. Grady Little said, "I don't know if they know why, exactly he suffered palpitations. All they know is it's back to normal now, and that's the main thing. I'm sure it's not something they will just ignore. It's something he has to keep an eye on." ...Left-hander Eric Cyr, 6-3 with a 3.18 at Jacksonville, was promoted to Las Vegas to replace Stults and started for the 51s on Thursday night, allowing five runs before leaving in the fourth inning and taking the loss. Cyr is a 28-year-old from Montreal. He reached the Major Leagues with San Diego and also played in the Angels organization before pitching in Taiwan last year. Coming up:

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories