San Diego (51-80) at Arizona (68-62)

Fair Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 53° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Mon Aug 25, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If the Arizona Diamondbacks hope to contend for a playoff spot, they’ll likely need Randy Johnson to pitch like the five-time Cy Young Award winner he is.

The 39-year-old left-hander will take the mound when the Diamondbacks open a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Bank One Ballpark.

Since spending 12 weeks on the disabled list after right knee surgery, Johnson is 2-4 with a 3.83 ERA in seven starts.

Johnson has lost two straight starts, but manager Bob Brenly was pleased with the way he pitched in a 2-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. In six innings, Johnson allowed two runs and six hits while striking out six.

“It was lack of offense,” Brenly said. “You give up two runs, you should have a chance to win.”

Johnson agreed.

“I felt pretty good,” he said. “For the most part I think it was an improvement. The one thing I’ve noticed since I’ve come back, is my control has been pretty good. The ball does tend to find the middle of the plate a little bit too much.”

The Diamondbacks, who trail the Philadelphia Phillies by 2 1/2 games in the NL wild-card race, have alternated wins and losses for eight consecutive games.

On Sunday, Arizona fell to the Chicago Cubs 5-3, slipping to 3-3 on its nine-game homestand.

The Padres, reduced to playing the role of spoiler, have won four of their last six, but they lost to Montreal 8-4 on Sunday.

STANDINGS: Padres - 5th place, 28 GB, NL West. Diamondbacks - 2nd place (tied), 10 1/2 GB, NL West.

PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Jake Peavy (9-9, 4.06 ERA). Peavy has been impressive over his past four outings, allowing just four earned runs in 28 1-3 innings. He worked seven scoreless innings Wednesday, allowing six hits, but did not get a decision in the Padres’ 2-1 win over the New York Mets. Peavy is 1-4 with an 11.10 ERA in five career games against the Diamondbacks.

DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Johnson (3-6, 4.90 ERA). Johnson has dominated the Padres in 17 career starts, going 11-2 with a 1.96 ERA. He did lose a pair of postseason starts to San Diego in the 1998 NL Division Series as a member of the Houston Astros.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Padres - Mark Loretta, .318 avg. and 58 runs; Ryan Klesko, 20 HRs; Rondell White, 65 RBIs; Ramon Vazquez, 10 SBs. Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .305 avg, 22 HRs, 82 RBIs and 80 runs; Steve Finley, 9 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Diamondbacks, 8-6.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Padres - 2B Loretta is 2-for-25 (.080) with 12 strikeouts in his career against LHP Johnson. … C Gary Bennett is batting .435 (10-for-23) over his last nine games. … LF White is 2-for-17 (.118) over his last five games. Diamondbacks - LF Gonzalez is 7-for-13 (.538) with three homers in his career against RHP Peavy. … RF Raul Mondesi doubled in the first inning Sunday for his 1,500th career hit. … CF Finley is in an 0-for-16 slump.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Padres - 23-42 on the road; Diamondbacks - 38-26 at home.

INJURIES: Padres - INF Keith Lockhart (back), 15-day DL; OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (hip), 60-day DL. Diamondbacks - 1B Mark Grace (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Peavy SF vs. R. Johnson SF
12-11 Record 6-8
4.11 ERA 4.26
156 K 125
82 BB 27
1.31 WHIP 1.33