Friday, June 5, 2009

A Couple of Pitchers on My Mind

Obviously, I'm a Twins fan. But beyond that, I am a fan of baseball. Today, I've been thinking about a couple of pitchers whose stories vary greatly.

Randy Johnson
If you haven't heard yet, Johnson tallied his 300th win Thursday. What's absolutely amazing about that is that he had several seasons shorted by injury (or in the case of '94, strike). Many guys don't bounce back like Johnson, but he's only gotten better with age. He's always thrown heat, but early in his career, his control was an issue; he walked or plunked, like, everybody. He led the league in walks '90-'92 and hit batsmen in '92 and '93. But that wildness was part of the success. How frightening would it be to be standing in the box watching a 99 mph pitch and have no idea where it's going? Add that to his ugly, mean, angry demeanor, and the man is badass. He's a five-time Cy Young winner and a 10-time All Star. He's pitched a no-hitter and a perfect game. He's second on the all-time strikeouts list and the 24th member of the 300 Club. And, he's the only member of the 300 Club to have defeated every MLB team. The only problem with him going to the Hall someday is deciding which hat will his bust wear.


Fausto Carmona
You may have noticed that the Twins easily chewed up Carmona on Thursday. He gave up four runs before logging his first out of the game. As a result, the Indians sent him down to "the minor league complex" on Friday (read: Rookie League - ouch!). And as much as I was glad the Twins got a bunch runs and chased him from the game early, reading about his struggles really do bum me out. Carmona captured my interest in 2007 during the ALDS against the Yankees. Remember the "bug game" that turned Joba Chamberlain into a big wuss? Well, it was cool-cat Carmona who took a breath, fixed his gaze on the catcher's glove, cleared the mechanism, and sat down Yankees one by one. No silly little swarm was going to bother him. He was awesome; I truly enjoyed watching him pitch. Clearly this wasn't the same fellow who took the Metrodome mound on Thursday. I really hope he can find his command or his stuff or whatever it is he's missing and come back better.

Photo credits:
Johnson: ABC News

1 comment:

Liz Strand said...

I would be so terrified to stand in the box against any pitcher, let alone Randy Johnson! Sure, I played hs softball & coached it another 7 yrs after that, but a big softball hits the body with the force spread out more than a baseball. Plus, no one threw like Randy Johnson!

Carmona has so much talent. Recall Torii saying that facing him was like trying to hit while drunk/hungover. Interesting from a guy who no longer drinks. But somewhere, Carmona lost his confidence. Kinda like Liriano, who obvIously had a physical issue too, but shows his amazing talent in little glimpses.