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Baseball Articles

Arizona Diamondback's magazine
VOLUME 6 NUMBER 3 APRIL 2003
DIAMONDBACKS MAGAZINE

"STARting Pitching"

     by Andrea Mallis

 

The 2001 World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks have enjoyed more success than any expansion team in history, winning a third National League West title in their mere five years of existence. The potential for a "threepeat" as division champs is on the horizon, since pitching is considered vital to every team's triumph.

One of the reasons for their stellar success is the outstanding one-two pitching punch of intense Scorpio Curt Schilling and industrious Virgo Randy Johnson. The Diamondbacks are 55-15 in games started by this dynamic duo.
In 2002, this pair became the first teammates in major league history to strike out 300 in the same season.
They exemplify the adage, "not getting older, only better," as this powerful pair has ripened over the past couple of years. In their two full seasons together, they are a combined 90-24! Arizona was a mighty 40 games over .500 in the 70 games they started last season.
In 2003, the rotation behind them grows more settled with pragmatic Capricorn Elmer Dessens, intuitive Pisces Miguel Batista, the unique Aquarius John Patterson rising in the ranks, and earnest Capricorn Byung-Hyun Kim conceivably vying for position.

Lone lefty JohnsonRandy Johnson
Virgo is a sign associated with unrivalled work ethic and health consciousness. Randy Johnson epitomized this by hiring a personal trainer, a pitching guru, and a university professor to obtain optimum physical conditioning in the off-season. Virgos are hell bent on self-improvement. The Big Unit heralds, "the best is yet to come." Quite a proclamation, as last year was a career best: 24-5 with 334 strikeouts and a 2.32 ERA! Consistently catching fire around his birthday, lone lefty Johnson's record during September (since 1993) is an amazing 28-1! Driven by a deep sense of destiny, Randy's health commitment is a significant component to his mission.

Honored with his fourth straight Cy Young award, he became the second NL pitcher (since '73's Doc Gooden) to deliver the luminous "Triple Crown" of pitching (24-5, 2.32 ERA, 334 strikeouts). A Virgo perfectionist, he shows no signs of hindrance, ranking fourth in career strikeouts (3,746), tied with Nolan Ryan for the most 300 strikeout seasons (six). Still hurling that overpowering fastball and sneaky slider, Johnson's resilience is legendary.

2003 represents his midlife turning point-the big 4-0 occurs this September. Randy has robust cosmic company in top performing athletes Michael Jordan, Roger Clemens, and Jerry Rice, plus the opportunity to show the baseball world just how empowering 40 can be. Seeking advice from Nolan Ryan who pitched into his early 40's, Randy's fixation with fitness is very Virgo.

Intense Scorpio Curt SchillingCurt Schilling
A healthy sense of competition pervades the tandem. Powerhouse Scorpio Curt Schilling finished runner-up to Johnson in Cy Young Award voting. Leading the league last season in wins, winning percentage, ERA, complete games, innings, and strikeouts, Curt faced 165 consecutive hitters without a walk! Scorpios are masters of control and there were few free passes from this scrupulous Scorpio, as Schilling walked a scant 33 batters while striking out 316 in 259 innings. His 1.15 walks per nine innings were the best in the majors. A 20 game winner for the second consecutive season, Schilling has 45 wins over the past two campaigns-the most since Baltimore's Jim Palmer in 1976.

A hard taskmaster, Curt's capable of extraordinary effort. This season's transformation was jump-started by a 20-pound weight loss from a regimen that includes weightlifting, Pilates, and martial arts. He can effectively channel the tremendous energy at his disposal. Avoiding a September deceleration, he's powered by Pluto and working extremely hard. May he use this timely gift of immense energy, being mindful not to overdo! Batters beware as Scorpios overpower obstacles.

Pragmatic Capricorn Elmer DessensElmer Dessens
Pragmatic Capricorn Elmer Dessens (born January 13, 1971) eagerly joins the ranks-an exceptional four-pitch pitcher with command. Finishing sixth in the NL in ERA last season, he'd easily be a number one starter on many teams. Dessens might slip under the radar after a lackluster year with the Reds, but with Schilling and Johnson to motivate, watch for Elmer to begin his ascent. Capricorns are the old souls of the zodiac: serious, disciplined, ambitious. Efficient and strong, Dessens should be a fitting complement. With an impressive ERA and WHIP, Arizona fans have high hopes of a terrific trinity.

Elmer's Mars (planet of energy) in strong-willed Scorpio makes him a fearless go-getter. Born days after fellow Capricorn Jason Giambi, he's got the spark of ten! Blessed with good health and vitality, Elmer should start the season off with a bang, as Mars in Capricorn grants strength. Tough and competitive, he's feeling more like a winner. During the dog days of summer, an energy surplus continues. This veteran can make the most of opportunity with favorably timed action.

Intuitive Pisces Miguel BatistaMiguel Batista
Next in line to find his groove is Miguel Batista, born February 19, 1971 on the Pisces/Aquarius cusp. Fairly steady the past two seasons, he's in line for a coveted spot in the rotation, versatile enough to ditch the bullpen. Aquarius is innovative while Pisces is receptive, greatly benefiting from routine. After making 37 starts and 27 relief appearances, Miguel clearly flourishes with regular performance. Questing for power through his career, he may one day battle for top standing.

With Mars in athletic Sagittarius being energized by Pluto (planet of power), increased physical stamina may reach beyond the 6th inning. During this time of heightened potential, Miguel's pitching's pursued with greater vigor and determination. Potential double-digit wins beckon. Feeling he can take on the world, competitive physical activity characterizes this compelling season. Life may feel like a roller coaster ride as he awakens to true potential. Expect the unexpected as an exhilarating epoch awaits Miguel and Diamondbacks fans!

Exceptional Aquarius John PattersonJohn Patterson
John Patterson, an exceptional Aquarius born January 30, 1978, seeks to create a spot for himself in this increasingly impressive pitching arsenal. Patterson is the first homegrown starting pitcher from the organization, doing well late last year (2-0, 3.23 ERA). This poised rookie earned his stripes and is looking forward to joining the starting rotation. He's gained ten pounds of muscle on a throwing program devised by Schilling. A smart strategist, he'll plan a realistic course leading to eventual success. Possessing an inner poise belying his age, he responds with cool efficiency under stress. Blessed with ultra-smooth mechanics, he has impressive command, a 90 mph fastball, and a "12-6" curve ball. Dispassionate Aquarians are hard to read-a plus for a pitcher. With Mars in Cancer, energy levels may fluctuate, but a strong Jupiter (planet of good fortune) provides endurance. Reaping benefits from past hard work, while planting seeds for the future, career promotion is a distinct possibility. Attaining greater maturity, he utilizes the wisdom of experience.

Disciplined, ambitious, and tenacious Byung-Hyun KimByung-Hyun Kim

Byung-Hyun Kim, born January 19, 1979 on the Capricorn/Aquarius cusp, bounced back from the 2001 World Series to post a solid season on par with Smoltz and Gagne. Exorcising old demons, Kim completed a save in a 9-5 triumphant victory at Yankee Stadium, setting a team record with 36 saves in his first full season as a closer. Capricorns are well suited to precisionist work. This season he may be changing styles to find his niche. Will he return to a set-up role, be a part-time closer, or preferably become starter? Holding opposing batters to a mere .208, his potent Sun/Mars connection goes boldly toward challenge. Complete with a funky submarine delivery, and an extraordinary sense of drama, he's learning to keep his composure. With the season opening with Mars in Capricorn, he's even more disciplined, ambitious, and tenacious in pursuing objectives.

For a relatively new team, the Diamondbacks have amassed 375 victories in the last four years, fifth highest in baseball. Moreover, the BOB offers its special brand of magic, hosting 55 home victories last season-the most in the major leagues. The pitching staff's strikeouts per walk last season were a major league record: 1,303 strikeouts, 421 walks. If other pitchers step up this season, merging into a confluence of consistency, it'll jokingly no longer be Schilling, Johnson, and "pray for rain." The Diamondbacks will be the team to beat.

Andrea Mallis is a Sports Astrologer and Writer, appearing on ESPN SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight. She writes astrology profiles for the Oakland Athletics Web site, and is astrologer on their post game show, "Extra Innings." She's also contributed to the MLB magazines of the A's, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Angels, Reds, Tigers, Padres, Rangers, and mlb.com's Left Field. Let Andrea guide your game. For more information, please view www.virgoinservice.com. E-mail andrea at andrea@virgoinservice.com, or call 510-874-4911.


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