Friday June 5th, 2009

1) No, that wasn't vintage Big Unit in Washington for win No. 300. Randy Johnson won for only the seventh time in his career throwing 78 pitches or less and for only the sixth time out of 300 with two strikeouts or less. But determination is what paved the way for the 45-year-old Johnson to get to 300, becoming the second-oldest pitcher to get there and doing so with more wins in his 40s than in his 20s.

So who's next? I'm not about to say it won't happen again or no active player will get there; Johnson proved the fallacy of ruling out what's possible with world-class competitors. The best guesses would be Roy Halladay, Mark Buehrle and Johan Santana, strike-throwers with good mechanics and athletic bodies who should hold up into their 40s. But I'll admit that we just might wait longer than we've ever waited before to see another 300-game winner. The record between 300-game winners is 20 years, done twice: between Lefty Grove (1941) and Warren Spahn (1961) and then between Early Wynn (1963) and Steve Carlton (1983).

By the way, did you notice the final score in Washington yesterday for No. 51? It was 5-1.

2) Johnson is also a member of the more exclusive 400-homer club. Only 11 pitchers have served up more than 400 homers, with Johnson having joined the club this year. No. 1 on the list is Robin Roberts, the only man to throw 500 homers (502), followed by Fergie Jenkins (484) and Phil Niekro (482).

But keep your eye on Jamie Moyer, who is threatening Roberts' record; Moyer is at 478 and counting.

Johnson joined Niekro, Don Sutton, Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton with dual memberships in the 300-win and 400-homer clubs. And who has the fewest wins among those who gave up 400 longballs? David Wells, at 239.

3) OK, time to take a written test to see if you qualify for your learner's permit to be a manager. You've just lost a 5-1 lead in the eighth inning to the Dodgers. The game is now tied. The Dodgers have the go-ahead run at second base with two outs. (First base is open.) The batter is Casey Blake, a right-handed hitter. The on-deck batter is Andre Ethier, a left-handed batter. Your pitcher is left-handed, a rookie, has just blown the lead, and is pitching in the first meaningful situation in his major-league life. Select one from the following choices:

A) Walk Blake and pitch to Ethier (lefty-on-lefty). B) Remove your left-handed pitcher and bring in a right-hander to face Blake (righty-on-righty). C) Do nothing and hope for the best.

If you answered A or B, congratulations, you have the smarts to possibly be a big-league manager someday. And if you answered C, well, actually, somehow you are a big-league manager. A.J. Hinch, given the Arizona job after never before coaching or managing in the big leagues, actually chose the worst possible option and managed his team into a loss this week in Los Angeles, letting rookie Daniel Schlereth pitch to and lose to Blake with the game on the line, first base open, and two outs.

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