Randy Johnson has struggled through a forgettable season with injuries and inconsistency.
After pitching a one-hitter in his last start, the reigning four-time NL Cy Young Award winner will try to win consecutive starts for just the second time this year as the Arizona Diamondbacks open a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Johnson walked one and struck out 12 in his first complete game of the season on Sunday as the Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 5-0. He had at least 10 strikeouts for the fourth time this year, and 190th in his career. It was his fourth career one-hitter, and first with Arizona.
“He had it all going,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said. “Tremendous command of all of his pitches, very aggressive with his fastball, tremendous velocity. He had that back-foot slider going again.”
Johnson missed 12 weeks after having arthrosocopic knee surgery on May 1.
“Obviously my stuff was probably the best since I’ve been back,” he said. “The results were real good today. I have two more starts and I want to end the season on a positive note and start preparing for next year.
“I’d like to think that I still have a lot of these games left in me. It’s been a long season, a very frustrating season.”
It’s been frustrating for the Diamondbacks as well, as they’ve had to endure long stretches without aces Johnson and Curt Schilling.
Still, the Diamondbacks were in close contention for the NL wild card, but a stretch in which they lost 18 of 26 dropped them behind too many teams. Arizona has won six of eight but is in fifth place in the wild-card race—5 1/2 games behind Florida.
The Diamondbacks are coming off a 2-0 loss to Los Angeles on Thursday, as they failed in their bid to sweep the Dodgers.
The Brewers are coming off a 13-0 loss to St. Louis on Thursday, their 11th loss in 14 games. Starter Matt Kinney lasted 4 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs and 10 hits with seven strikeouts and five walks. In his last three starts, Kinney has surrendered 17 runs in 14 2-3 innings.
“They have an unbelievable lineup and I didn’t make a lot of good pitches,” Kinney said. “The way I pitched was pretty embarrassing.”
STANDINGS: Diamondbacks - 3rd place, 14 1/2 GB, NL West. Brewers - tied for 5th place, 18 1/2 GB, NL Central.
DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Johnson (5-8, 4.41 ERA). The “Big Unit” is 17-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 26 career starts against the Brewers.
BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Doug Davis (3-1, 2.25 ERA). The left-hander has pitched well since coming joining the Brewers in August. Davis began the season in Toronto and is 7-7 with a 4.08 ERA in 18 games this year. He has made just two relief appearances against Arizona, totalling two hitless innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .301 avg., 26 HRs, 100 RBIs and 90 runs; Steve Finley, 14 SBs. Brewers - Scott Podsednik, .315 avg., 93 runs and 42 SBs; Richie Sexson, 40 HRs and 114 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Brewers, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Diamondbacks - LF Gonzalez has reached 100 RBIs for the fifth consecutive season. He is the franchise leader with 570 RBIs. … OF Finley has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, going 8-for-31 (.258) during the stretch. … LF Gonzalez is just 5-for-22 (.227) with two HRs and four RBIs in six games at Miller Park. Brewers - CF Podsednik needs one triple to break the team record for a rookie. He got his seventh on Wednesday, tying Alex Sanchez (2002) and Ernest Riles (1985). … The Brewers are 7-13 since a season-best 10-game winning streak. … 1B Sexson is hitless in his last nine at-bats, spanning the last three games. He has walked three times during the stretch.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Diamondbacks - 35-40 on the road; Brewers - 30-46 at home.
INJURIES: Diamondbacks - RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 60-day DL. Brewers - OF Geoff Jenkins (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP Jayson Durocher (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Matt Ford (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Ruben Quevedo (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (shoulder), 60-day DL.