Rarely are we going to see anyone match up with any of the Phillies' four aces (don’t give me that Joe Blanton shit, he’s hurting after a few sweaty innings last night). Tonight, however, Josh Johnson comes in to the game with an ERA (1.68) more than half a point lower than Doc’s (2.19). Frightening.
It gets better. In their two head-to-head starts last year, the two pitchers gave up – a combined – one run in 32 innings. Somewhere, a honey badger is cowering in fear.
But wait, there’s more!
Doc and Johnson (if this isn’t a late 1980’s crime-fighting serial soon, I’m going to be upset) are friends. Somewhat.
According to Matt Gelb’s excellent piece (his article, children), Doc, who pitched his perfect game against JJ, permitted Johnson to watch him throw a bullpen last year, and remembered his padawan learner at the All-Star Game: [Philly.com]
The righthander apparently has gained Halladay's respect. After the stoic Phillies pitcher permitted Johnson to watch his bullpen session, the two spent time together at the All-Star Game in Anaheim, Calif. When Johnson walked into the National League clubhouse, Halladay came up and said hello.
"Whoa," Johnson said. "This is, like, the Roy Halladay."
That bond stuck.
"I was like a little brother to him," said Johnson, 27. "I was kind of following him around and trying to pick his brain about what he does after starts, in between starts."
Cute. However, since I’m fairly certain Roy would eat his own children if he ran out of whey protein, this budding bromance means nothing in regard to tonight’s game. You can expect lots of cutters.
Oh, hey, speaking of cutters and awful transitions… J-Mac has a tremendous article over on Philly Sports Daily about how both Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels have embraced the use of the cutter. But guess what? Neither of them began to use it full-time until last season, two years after one was the AL Cy Young and the other was the World Series MVP. One-trick ponies my ass.
– Chase Utley will play in his first rehab game of the year tonight. That means he has to be back with the Phillies by May 30th. Sexy.