Archive for June 4th, 2009

The Big Unit Wins Number 300

As soon as I went online to check Andrew McCutchen’s line from his major league debut this afternoon, I remembered that today was the day Randy Johnson attempted to cement his place as one of the greatest pitchers of all-time by joining the 300 Win Club (I write that sentence for those of you who hate wins as a statistic).

Johnson left after six innings in which he allowed just one unearned run on two hits, with two walks and two strikeouts thrown in for good measure.  Things would have been so much easier if rookie Jordan Zimmermann had just rolled over, like he was supposed to, and let the legend have his day.  The kid was up to the challenge, however, striking out seven and giving up two runs on three hits in six innings of his own.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth, the Nationals had a chance to deny Johnson his day, loading the bases with two outs as Adam Dunn strode mightily to the plate (I was terrified, and I was sitting at my in-laws dining room table following the Yahoo box score at the time).

But then, there was a thought in the back of my head: what if Dunn decides to let Johnson have this one and strikes out on purpose?  I have no idea why he, or anyone would do this, but I thought it anyway.  And what did Dunn do?  Strike out looking (I highly doubt it was on purpose – that’s not how the big guy rolls).  I’m psychic.  Who rung him up?  Londonderry, New Hampshire’s own Brian Wilson, representin’ for the Granite State, bay-bay!  To celebrate, he’s gonna drive downtown in the rain, 9:30 on a Tuesday night, just to check out late night record shop.

San Francisco scored three in the top of the ninth to give Wilson some breathing room.  He didn’t really need it, striking out the side for the most important save of his life.

So congratulations to Randy Johnson, who is now tied with Early Wynn and Lefty Grove on the all-time wins leaderboard.  Next up?  Recently dissed fellow lefty Tom Glavine.  Go get ‘im, O Mighty Mulleted One.

Update: I should probably watch the games before I start typing.  The MLB Network just showed the replay of Dunn’s at-bat, and let’s just say that the home plate umpire’s call on the final pitch (on a 3-2 count, no less) appeared to be, um, generous.  Dunn was halfway down the line before he realized he had struck out.

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Now Batting For The Pittsburgh Pirates…

Andrew McCutchen was called up to the major leagues yesterday by the Pirates to replace the freshly traded Nate McLouth, in a case of a team trading its best player and replacing him with its best prospect.

McLouth’s debut in Atlanta isn’t underway yet, but McCutchen got his first start for the Bucs today, leading off and playing centerfield.  In his first at-bat, he singled and scored the first run of the game.  His third time up, he walked and later scored.  His fifth time up, he drove in a run with a single, stole second, and scored on Nyjer Morgan’s triple.

To recap, a 22-year-old rookie making his debut managed to gather his first major league hit, run scored, walk, RBI, and stolen base.  The RBI, for what it’s worth, was of the two-out variety, and he managed a multi-hit, multi-run game.  Verrrrry impressive.

It wasn’t long ago that I talked about all the injuries the Mets are suffering and lamented the fact that they probably wouldn’t be at full strength when I go down there.  Well, the trip is three weeks away, and it gets more exciting by the day.  Wieters and Reimold in Baltimore, McCutchen in Pittsburgh.  Three reasons to be very excited (not that I wasn’t already).

Now Pitching For The Atlanta Braves…

There’s a scene in The Matrix where Joe Pantoliano starts unplugging all the good guys while they’re still inside the matrix, killing them instantly.  Just after they figure out what’s happening but just before they figure out how to stop it, one of the soon-to-be-axed characters looks at Carrie-Anne Moss and says, “Not like this.  Not like this,” and dies.

That same sort of thing happened in Atlanta yesterday, only it was general manager Frank Wren who walked into the clubhouse and calmly pulled the plug on Tom Glavine while Chipper Jones looked on in horror.

Glavine had appeared in several games at the minor league level and appeared ready to rejoin the Braves.   Not so fast, Tom.

General manager Frank Wren said the decision had nothing to do with a $1 million bonus that Glavine would have received for being placed on the major league roster. Instead, the team felt it had a better chance to win with a younger pitcher in the rotation.

“This was not a business decision,” Wren said. “This was a performance decision.”

Taking his presumed place in the rotation will be the Next Tommy, Tommy Hanson, who ranked fourth on Baseball America’s preseason Top 100.  The 22-year-old Hanson was cutting a swatch of destruction through the International League, notching a 1.49 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 66.1 innings over eleven starts.  In my fantasy baseball league, he has been owned by over 70% of teams since just after the season began, more than any other prospect I remember seeing.

Hanson will be called up this weekend and make his major league debut Saturdayagainst the Milwaukee Brewers.

In another move (it was a very busy Wednesday for the Braves; a third move impacting a top minor league prospect will be mentioned in a separate post), Jordan Schafer was sent back down to the minors after hitting .204 with two homeruns and eight runs batted in.  Given the way things were going, I expected Jason Heyward to get the call, but it was actually Gregor Blanco who went to Atlanta.

Trying Out A New Theme

Just a brief post to let you know that the new look of the blog is something we’re trying out. We were annoyed that author names weren’t put on posts in the old theme, so this nice, balldiamond-green layout seemed like a nice change. We kind of miss the photo of the Delmarva Shorebirds superchicken up above, but all good things must come to an end some day.

Let us know what you think!