Countdown Goes to Fourteen

After a rough outing against the Houston Astros, everyone was wondering how Randy Johnson would respond. Was the 6 runs in two innings an aberration or is this what they could expect from a 44 year old pitcher coming off yet another back surgery. Around the ballpark I heard countless comments of how the Big Unit was not the pitcher he once was and that he should just hang it up. I think they are underestimating how much Johnson has left in the tank or what he can contribute to the team. Personally I would much rather have a Randy Johnson at this point in his career over say an Edgar Gonzalez at this point in his career. Oh sure we may never see another 99 mile per hour fastball leave Johnson’s hand but he is still capable of getting big league hitters out and making them look badly in the process.

Even before the game started the murmurs in the crowd placed Randy on a very short leash before the boos would begin. This coupled with the magnitude of Philadelphia in the stadium were a recipe for disaster. I wasn’t exactly sure how I would react if the fans really started to get on Johnson. For the most part I try to keep to myself and be positive so if it got really bad I was probably going to say something. Luckily that didn’t have to happen. The Diamondbacks took the lead in the first inning. At one point in his career, a 1 run lead by Randy Johnson was almost insurmountable. Those days are probably gone forever. But the Diamondbacks have proven that being behind by a run like they were in the third was not a problem either; never more so than in the fourth inning of tonight’s game. The Diamondbacks erupted for 5 runs in the bottom of the fourth and never looked back. Probably the most gratifying part of that rally was watching Randy Johnson at the plate work the count before drawing a walk to score the tying run. You just have to love it when the opposing pitcher cannot get a strike in the largest strike zone in all of Major League Baseball. The walk gave Randy Johnson an RBI entering him into the Diamondbacks starting pitchers club whose members each have at least 1 RBI. The only starter who does not have a run batted in is Max Scherzer who has made just one Major League start. Like the rookie didn’t have enough pressure on him already, now he has to deal with the grief he will get from his starting pitcher teammates about how he is bringing down the staff by not being a hitter. Maybe he can work with Brandon Webb who leads the pitching staff with 4 RBI (that has to be driving Micah Owings crazy to think that Webb has more RBIs than he does). It’s almost unfair; its like the Diamondbacks get to play with a designated hitter while all the other teams have to deal with an automatic out in the number nine spot. In the end Randy Johnson gave six strong innings turning it over to the Qualls/Pena/Lyon freight train to close it out. This marked the 286th win in the Big Unit’s career and inches closer to that magical number 300. I’m rooting for him to do it, he definitely deserves it.

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