Atlas Johnson

In his last start Randy Johnson looked like his vintage self from 2001. He dominated the San Diego Padres en route to his 289th career victory. In that start he was working the location of his pitches with pinpoint accuracy. His slider had a lot of bite and he was changing speeds on his fastball making it extremely difficult for hitters to adjust. This was substantially different than his previous several starts and I think baseball fans everywhere were wondering whether that game was a fluke or if it were a premonition of things to come. Tonight marked Randy’s next start and I was keenly interested in seeing which Randy Johnson was going to show up.

It didn’t take long for that question to be answered. The Big Unit made the Philadelphia Phillies look off balance and held them scoreless over the first 2 innings; everyone that is except Shane Victorino who connected twice on Johnson for 2 home runs and 3 RBI. Randy Johnson allowed just 5 hits over 6 innings but Victorino accounted for 3 of those hits including the 2 homers. Randy walked only 1 batter and struck out 3. This kind of outing might have gone as a loss earlier in the season but not this time. The Diamondbacks staked the Big Unit to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Phillies tied the game in the third on the Victorino home run but the Diamondbacks came back in the top of the fourth inning to score 8 runs. Yes you read that right, the Diamondbacks scored 8 runs in a single inning. It was not just the offensive explosion that was impressive but how the Diamondbacks did it.

The inning began with Mark Reynolds flying to left field for the first out. Centerfielder Chris Young grounded to short for the second out. This had all the markings of a typical quick inning for the Diamondbacks hitters. Alex Romero who was playing right field for the injured Justin Upton singled to center. Catcher Robby Hammock walked to put runners on first and second. Pitcher Randy Johnson who had just allowed the Phillies to tie the game came to the plate and rifled a ball to left field for a double that would score Romero and Hammock. Just like that the two runs he had given up were erased and Randy was standing on second with 2 outs. This was the spark that the Diamondbacks needed. Lead-off man Stephen Drew walked to put runners on first and second. Conor Jackson doubled to left field scoring Randy and putting Drew at third. Orlando Hudson was intentially walked to load the bases. Chad Tracy hit a single to centerfield which allowed Drew and Jackson to score and put Hudson on third. Mark Reynolds came up for a second time this inning and hit a home run to left center scoring Hudson and Tracy. Chris Young then singled to center bringing up Alex Romero for the second time. Romero flew out to centerfield to finally end the inning giving the Diamondbacks 8 runs. All of this scoring occurred as a result of Randy Johnson getting a two-out hit.

The Diamondbacks would go on to win the game by a score of 10-4. The win was a direct result of Randy Johnson both on the mound and at the plate. At a time when his team was struggling mightily he took them on his back and carried them to victory. This was the type of performance that Diamondbacks fans have come to expect from the future Hall of Famer. It was another classic Randy Johnson outing where he recorded his 290th career win. This leaves the Big Unit just 10 wins short of 300. For a while this season people wondered if Randy would ever reach that plateau. In the past 2 outings the question of if has suddenly become just a question of when. The second half should be interesting to see if Randy Johnson can continue his pursuit of 300 career wins and if he will do it this year. I hope he does, I would love to see him get that victory as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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