The 300-win watch for Randy Johnson officially begins next Wednesday in Washington when he faces the Nationals. Last night, he won his 299th game over the Braves by a 6-3 score. He pitched six innings and allowed one run, three hits, and struck out five while walking none.
On April 25, Johnson walked seven in 3 1/3 innings in a loss to the Diamondbacks. Since then, over six starts, he has walked only six in his last 33 innings.
If he doesn’t win his 300th game in Washington next week, his next chance would be in Florida, when the Giants play the Marlins.
Johnson will be 46 on Sept. 10. He probably would like to strike out his 5,000th batter this season but still needs 157 more strikeouts, which may be unreachable for him in 2009.
Johnson had to play well into his 40s because he was 27 when he won more than seven games in a season the first time. He won 14 games that season in 1990 and had only a total of 24 wins.
The MLB Network should be looking in at his game next Wednesday so we can see Johnson have a chance at 300 wins.
Carlos Zambrano Loses It…Again
Carlos Zambrano probably will be facing a suspension from MLB after arguing a call made by home plate umpire Mark Carlson. When a pitch got away from catcher Geovany Soto, the Pirates runner on third, Nyjer Morgan, broke for home, and in a very close play was called safe.
Zambrano had raced in to make the tag on Morgan. To me, it looked like Morgan had touched home plate with his hand before Zambrano applied the tag.
Zambrano probably didn’t notice the hand touching the plate, so since he tagged Morgan’s foot before it crossed the plate, he thought Carlson had missed the call.
Zambrano, in the course of the argument, appeared to bump Carlson and then ejected Carlson from the game.
He then slammed his glove and threw a ball toward the bleachers. After that, he worked on the drink dispenser that Ryan Dempster had damaged in his last start.
He made a few deliberate adjustments on the drink dispenser with his baseball bat before Larry Rothschild rescued the drink dispenser and led Zambrano toward the clubhouse.
Zambrano was pitching well before his ejection, having allowed only one earned run in 6 1/3 innings. His ejection may have cost him a win, but the Cubs went on to win the game, 5-2. The ejection possibly cost him his 100th career win.
Now, the Cubs will probably lose Zambrano for a start if a suspension is handed down by MLB. His next start will be next Tuesday against the Braves if he decides to appeal a possible suspension.
Zambrano recently came off the disabled list, so he lost at least two or three starts while on the DL. He has won only twice since opening day and has a 3-2 record after the first two months of the season.
On this date last season, Zambrano was 7-1 and didn’t lose his second game until June 7. He won only two games after July 29, so he still has time to match or better his 14-6 record of 2008.
He lost to the Dodgers in the NLDS by a 10-3 score, but pitched much better than that score indicates, since he allowed three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Four more runs scored while he was on the mound, but they were because the entire Cubs infield made errors in that game.
Johnson Homer Gives Cubs Lead
Reed Johnson hit a homer in the eighth inning that gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. Then, Andres Blanco and Jake Fox hit back-to-back run scoring doubles to end the scoring for the Cubs and gave them a 5-2 victory after Kevin Gregg closed out the win in the ninth inning.
Ryan Theriot was 3-for-3 and finished the game with a .287 batting average. Theriot’s average had dropped to .263 before the Pirates series. Pirates pitching agreed with Theriot, as he was 7-for-11.
Milton Bradley raised his batting average to .200 for the first time this season and had an outfield assist when he threw out Freddy Sanchez at first base.
Jake Fox was hitting .423 for Iowa when called up with an OBP of .503, a slugging percentage of .886, and an OPS of 1.389. He had 17 homers and 50 RBI with 33 extra base hits.
Fox may be forcing the Cubs to make a decision on whether to trade Derrek Lee, since there is not space on the roster for Fox and Andres Blanco when Aramis Ramirez returns from the disabled list. Fox will be 27 in July, so it makes no sense to send him back to the minors.
The 25-year-old Blanco was hitting .314 when called up by the Cubs from their Iowa farm club and showed he can hit with late inning pressure with his run scoring double yesterday in the eighth inning.
The days of Aaron Miles as a Cub may be coming to an end. He is hitting .204 with no homers and four runs batted in after 98 at bats. He may be released soon if Blanco can hit in the .250 to .260 range. Miles has only driven in two runs since April 18.
It was sad to see Bobby Scales sent down, but after hitting .444 by May 14, his average had dropped to .257. Scales was 1-for-17 since that day.
Everyone was hoping for a better outcome for the 11-year minor league veteran, but Jim Hendry had to make a move to improve the offense from the infield with Aramis Ramirez out of action.