For the second time in three days Ketchup has mocked my assessment that he is over-the-hill. I am not about to change my mind after a couple of lucky race results. I’ve seen condiments get hot before then fade away like mold on Jell-O. I’m only going to be impressed when Ketchup is able to continue his success over the course of several weeks or months. It is a long season and you can’t get too excited this early at the success a few players are having. It did seem somewhat appropriate that Ketchup picked today to pull out a victory. I’ve written on numerous occasions how I felt that Ketchup was too old to be an everyday condiment. His best days are over and he is now in the waning moments of his career. Ketchup may be able to hang on for a few more seasons but only if he moves over to the American League where he doesn’t have to play the field. The question is, what AL teams are looking for a Designated Condiment? Chances are Ketchup will have to adjust his expectations and come to grips that he is no longer the condiment ace. That is not to say that he shouldn’t be playing, just that Ketchup may not be suited to going the whole distance in a condiment race. He is obviously a liability on the base paths and it is sad to see that happen to someone you admired for so long. So why did I say that it was appropriate for Ketchup to get the win today?
There are a lot of parallels between the performance of Ketchup and Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson. Johnson makes his second start of the season after returning from off-season back surgery last week. During his first start in San Francisco; Randy pitched well but struggled in the later innings and was the recipient of some poor fielding. While Johnson did not get the loss, the Diamondbacks did drop the contest to the Giants. In that game it was the left side of the infield that let down the “Big Unit”. Stephen Drew and Mark Reynolds both committed costly errors that led to unearned runs and ultimately a loss. In today’s game Randy once again saw his run support disappoint and once again saw the left side of the infield falter. This time errors were attributed to shortstop Chris Burke and Augie Ojeda. For the 2008 season the Arizona Diamondbacks have committed 11 errors total. In the two games that Randy has pitched the Diamondbacks have recorded 5 or nearly half the total for the season. During Randy Johnson’s first tour of duty with the Arizona Diamondbacks he was the unfortunate recipient of a lack of run support. There were years when he averaged a full run less in run support than the other Diamondbacks pitchers. This year he has gotten plenty of run support with the Diamondbacks scoring 4 runs in each of his starts. The problem this time is one of defense. You have to look at this a bit of bad luck for the “Big Unit” and that his fortunes have to be different than what we have seen these first two contests. The typically sure handed Diamondbacks just ran into a little bad luck was all, Because of this though there will be countless stories written today and tomorrow discussing how Randy has lost it and is on the verge of retirement. They will discount the 11 strike outs over nearly 11 innings instead focusing on the end result of two losses in games where Johnson pitches. That’s fairly short-sighted and hopefully will come back to haunt those who suggested that the Unit doesn’t have what it takes. I think a few more starts and a positioning the slider closer to the corners of the plate and Randy will be just fine. Now if I could only be that confident with the Diamondbacks fielding percentage.