Micah the Amazing

A day after Brandon Webb put on another pitching clinic where he shut out the potent Atlanta Braves line-up and ran his streak to 42 innings of not allowing a run everyone wondered how rookie right-handed pitcher Micah Owings could possibly compare. While Owings has had glimpses of promise, he found himself in an impossible situation of following a history making performance by the team ace. This was an unenviable position to be in and no one expected much and the only hope was that Micah would somehow keep the Diamondbacks close and allow the hitters an opportunity to possibly steal game 2 and the series. The problem with that theory was that someone forgot to tell Micah.

Micah Owings was born in Gainesville Georgia and grew up an Atlanta Braves fan. His dreams included not only the great pitchers but also the sluggers of that era. Both of those had a profound effect on him and both would manifest themselves at tonight’s game. From the opening pitch it seemed as though Owings had better command than he had had in any previous outing. Perhaps it was the fact that there were 500 of his friends and family in attendance at tonight’s game or maybe it was just one of those moments when everything seems to come together for a perfect night. Regardless of what the reason, the people in attendance at Turner Field saw some historic baseball. Not historic as in Randy Johnson perfection but historic in one of the most rounded performances in Diamondbacks history. From a pitching perspective Micah was dazzling allowing only 3 hits over 7 innings while striking out 7 batters. He had command over all of his pitches throwing each of them for strikes. If we were only talking about this one dimension of his game it would have been a success as he held the Braves to 3 runs and put the Diamondbacks in a position to win. But a single dimension does not a ball player make. In the National League the pitcher is not only a defensive position but one that can have an impact offensively. In Micah Owings case that might be the understatement of the year. During his start he set Arizona Diamondbacks records for most hits in a game by a pitcher, most runs batted in by a pitcher, and most home runs in a game by a pitcher. Micah’s box score read 4-4 with 2 home runs, a double, and 6 RBI. For many pitchers that would be a career. The thing is Owings expects himself to put up numbers like that at the plate. In high school he hit 69 home runs and in college he added 48 more to his total. In our day these kinds of numbers are inconceivable. I can only imagine that similar discussions occurred in the early 1900’s when the Boston Red Sox had a pitcher who was adept with the bat. They did not necessarily recognize how adept and traded their power hitting pitcher to the New York Yankees for some cash. If I remember right; that ended up with a curse that lasted nearly a hundred years. Let’s hope the Diamondbacks don’t make a similar mistake with their re-incarnated “Babe”.

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