Tim Kurkjian at ESPN.com has a nice story up about facing Randy Johnson as a hitter. He has several hitters' comments and opinions on facing Randy, including our very own Chipper Jones:
He is 13-for-36 with six home runs. "It's feast or famine with me and Randy. He gave me the sombrero [four strikeouts in one game] the other night," he said. "That's my first sombrero by one pitcher. I have five hat tricks [three strikeouts in one game] by one pitcher, and Randy has three of them. There was once a time when he was fairly predictable, and I got him into some predictable counts, and I hit him.
"But he has re-invented himself like [Tom Glavine] did with the Mets, using the inside part of the plate. Now Randy has a little changeup and a split. When I saw him the other night, he'd lost nothing off his slider. He had the short one, the one with a little break at the end and the big sweeping one. He's still 6-10 and 94-95 [mph]. He's the most physically dominating pitcher I've ever faced. Throw in dominant stuff, and it's doubly tough."
Johnson threw a perfect game against the Braves in 2004.
"I don't think I even foul-tipped a ball in that game," Jones said. "The Randy Johnson from that night is ... is electrically unhittable. I've also seen him make a ton of mistakes, but his stuff is so good, he gets away with them. If he's on, and your swing is off even a little, he's going to get you, and he's going to make you look really bad. I don't know how left-handed hitters hit him. I thank God every day that my dad made me a switch-hitter."
Jones' last game against Johnson might be that four-strikeout game.
"I really do hope that I've faced him for the last time," Jones said. "When he's finally retires, I'll be the first one to give him a standing ovation and a pat on the back on the way out."
That is simply classic Chipper. He gives pitchers so much credit and is always very honest about how hard it is to hit against some of those guys. Does anyone else think that this matter of fact quality and what seems to be a highly analytic baseball mind will make Chipper a good major league manager some day, if he chooses to go that route. For some reason I just think he has manager written all over him.
Back to Randy and Chipper. If Hall of Fame credentials mean that you do your best against the best, then Chipper should add one more feather in that cap because of Johnson. Yes, he's struck out a lot against him, but he also has the most homeruns against Johnson of any other major league hitter, and the third highest OPS against him.