Jordan Zimmermann will be looking for his third win of the season and his career while five-time Cy Young winner and future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson will be looking for win number 300 of his career.
The Road to 300 started when the Big Unit made his big league debut on September 15, 1988 for the Montreal Expos while facing the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 9-4 victory.
He was selected by the Expos in the second round of the 1985 draft out of the University of Southern California. He played only two seasons for the Expos in posting a 3-4 record before being traded to the Seattle Mariners where he would really make a name for himself.
Jordan told me Tuesday that he definitely wants to stop history from happening here at Nationals Park when Johnson takes the mound aiming for number 300. He understands there will be a lot of people cheering against him and for Randy but that makes the challenge all the more welcoming.
He also said the key for him is to mix up his pitches and get out of the first inning. If he can stay ahead in the count he’ll be fine.
Nats starter John Lannan also told me his new pitching coach Steve McCatty had a lot to do with him making a smooth transition from Triple A to the big leagues.
He said McCatty was very instrumental in helping him focus on the mental part of the game.
Joel Hanrahan also had McCatty as a pitching coach in 2007. He said he appreciates what the former A’s pitcher brings to the game. He described him as a positive guy who doesn’t over-analyze things. Joel also said McCatty has a philosophy of “If you’re going to get beat, get beat with your best stuff.”
Mike Rizzo described McCatty as an old school pitching coach who is going to bring a toughness to the staff.
McCatty said his philosophy is to attack and throw strikes. He admits he’s old school but he simply expects his players to go right at hitters. He wants them to have a strong mental approach to the game, and that can be just as important as the physical aspect. The mental approach involves trusting your stuff and that’s something these young pitchers need to do more of.
I also heard McCatty has a great sense of humor, and hey, he worked as a baseball broadcaster for a while so he must be personable!