Washington (58-54) at Arizona (57-54)

  • Game info: 9:35 pm EDT Tue Aug 5, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Arizona Diamondbacks are happy to be home.

After a dismal road trip, Arizona will play 19 of its next 26 games at Bank One Ballpark, including a three-game set against Montreal that begins Tuesday.

The Diamondbacks played 14 of their last 17 away from home and went 3-11 in the road games, including a club-record 10-game road losing skid.

Despite its recent poor play, Arizona is still in the wild-card hunt, trailing Philadelphia by five games.

Having finally gotten its pitching staff healthy with the return of aces Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the Diamondbacks could be set for a big stretch run.

Johnson, who will start Tuesday, has gotten stronger with each game since missing 2 1/2 months following knee surgery. He allowed four hits in six innings and gave up two runs—both unearned—in Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Florida. It was Johnson’s first career loss to the Marlins.

While Arizona was foundering on the road, Montreal finished up a successful season-high 12-game homestand with a 4-2 victory over Milwaukee on Sunday.

“It turned out to be a very good homestand,” said manager Frank Robinson, whose Expos went 8-4. “It’s exactly what we needed, a shot in the arm, and hopefully we can carry this over to the road.”

The Expos are just 22-32 on the road this season and trail Philadelphia by 4 1/2 games for the wild card.

STANDINGS: Expos - 4th place, 15 1/2 GB, NL East. Diamondbacks - 2nd place, 12 GB, NL West.

EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Claudio Vargas (6-7, 4.25 ERA). The right-hander is looking to rebound from the worst start of his career. He recorded just one out while allowing seven runs in an 11-1 loss to St. Louis on Wednesday. Vargas has not faced Arizona in his rookie season.

DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Johnson (1-4, 4.15 ERA). The left-hander has allowed only two earned runs in his last three starts but doesn’t have a win to show for it. He is 2-2 with a 1.94 ERA against Montreal in seven career starts.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Expos - Jose Vidro, .326 avg.; Orlando Cabrera, 15 HRs, 63 RBIs, 72 runs and 17 SBs. Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .316 avg., 20 HRs, 72 RBIs and 72 runs; Steve Finley, 8 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Expos, 2-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Expos - 2B Vidro has not started seven of the last 11 games because of inflammation in his right knee. … Vidro and OF Vladimir Guerrero are a combined 9-for-44 (.204) with 17 strikeouts in their careers against LHP Johnson. … Montreal is 11-5 against the NL West and plays 16 of its next 19 against that division. Diamondbacks - OF Gonzalez, who has reached base safely in 21 straight games, is hitting .294 with 12 homers and 47 RBIs in his career against Montreal. … 1B Mark Grace, who played 13 years for the Cubs, went 0-for-3 in his final game at Wrigley Field on Sunday. … Having been sidelined for so long this season, LHP Johnson won’t be able to extend his major league record of five straight years with 300 strikeouts. He is 207 short of reaching 4,000 in his career.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Expos - 22-32 on the road; Diamondbacks - 30-22 at home.

INJURIES: Expos - C Michael Barrett (hip), 15-day DL; 3B Fernando Tatis (chest), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Scott Stewart (appendicitis), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 60-day DL. Diamondbacks - RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Vargas TOR vs. R. Johnson SF
6-8 Record 6-8
4.34 ERA 4.26
62 K 125
41 BB 27
1.33 WHIP 1.33