Hayden Penn has now had six starts in the majors. Tonight, he got absolutely shelled by an injury-riddled Atlanta Braves lineup. Penn went 2+ innings, giving up eight hits and seven earned runs in a 7-5 loss.
Now, look, I love Penn. But I love Penn's future. Penn's present is very clear: he's not a major league pitcher, and instead of his struggles and trials and tribulations on this level, he could be refining his stuff in Ottawa, or even Bowie.
I say this only because there is another option, and it's John Maine. Chances are Penn turns out to be a better pitcher than Maine, but right now Maine is a lot more mature and probably has a better chance of giving us six good innings most days than Penn does.
This is not directly a reaction to Penn's horrible start tonight, either. I've thought this since they called him up, but it's not getting better. He's 20, there's no need to push him right now. Maine is pitching well at Ottawa and probably would provide a little more stability. Would it be smooth sailing with Maine? Of course not, he's got basically no major league experience and he'd take his lumps too. But he's more advanced. It's just that simple.
What would you do? Keep Penn up to hopefully just make a couple more starts, or give them to Maine (or someone else, even) while Bedard continues to mend? This is short-term either way, but we've now seen Penn enough to have gotten a read on how ready he is, and my judgment is he's not ready. Again, we all like him. But there has to be some common sense exercised here, I believe.