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It is looking less likely that Randy Johnson (4-2) will reach the 300 win plateau this season since he has made ten starts, yet has only won four of those starts with two losses and and four no decisions. Three of his four wins have been against teams with losing records: Detroit, San Diego, and Colorado. The only top echelon team he has defeated this season is the Philadelphia Phillies, when he beat them on May 6th.
He has pitched into the seventh inning only twice in his ten starts. His strikeout numbers are as great as ever, with 68 strikeouts in 58 innings, and he has walked only 4 batters over his last five starts. He still has about 21 starts left this season and he missed some starts due to injury at the start of the season. Those missed starts could be the difference from winning 300th game this year and waiting until 2009 for the historic win.
Johnson needs 12 wins to reach 300, and it could happen, but with the Diamondbacks losing more games, as they have went from 28-16 on May 18th to 4-11 since then, it will make it harder for Johnson to win. They have scored only 26 runs in their last 12 losses, so Johnson will need better run support than that to post 300 wins this season. And, of course, Johnson has an extensive injury history, and any injury would wipe out any chance of winning his 300th game this season.
Johnson is one of three active pitchers to have at least 10 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Johnson tops the list with 10.7 K's per 9 innings with Kerry Wood at 10.3 and Pedro Martinez at 10.1. These three pitchers are also leading in this category in the history of baseball with no other pitcher having recorded 10 or more strikeouts per 9 innings. Nolan Ryan is 4th with 9.5 K's per 9 innings.
In fact, Johnson, with only 3907 innings pitched compared to Ryan's 5386 innings, would have been the all time strikeout leader if he had pitched those 1479 extra innings that Ryan had to pitch. If you figure 200 innings a season, that means Ryan pitched 7 more seasons than Johnson. Ryan pitched his first Major League game at the age of 19, while Johnson didn't pitch in the Majors till he was 24.
With Johnson becoming 45 on September 10th, he probably would like to get his 300th win this season so he can retire from baseball, but if he doesn't win the 300th game this season, he will have an incentive to pitch one more season.
Johnson is going into the Hall of Fame regardless of whether he wins 300 games or not since he has 5 Cy Young Awards, has been an All Star 10 times, led the league in strikeouts 9 times, and won 20 games three times. He only had 68 wins at the age of 30, so it has taken him 15 more seasons to reach the 288 wins he has posted as of today.
Johnson pitched a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on June 2, 1990, and pitched a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves 14 years later on May 18, 2004. He has pitched the only perfect game in this century. He won't be going into the Hall of Fame for his batting though, since he has only one home run in 561 at-bats, but he shouldn't feel too bad. Juan Pierre hasn't hit a home run in his last 844 at bats.
Johnson is a lock to be voted into the Hall of Fame, and should be enshrined in the next 6 or 7 years. I am already looking forward to him making his Hall of Fame induction speech.