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News » Diamondbacks-Giants Preview 2009-04-19


Diamondbacks-Giants Preview 2009-04-19


Diamondbacks-Giants Preview 2009-04-19
The best years of Randy Johnson's remarkable career came with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as the towering left-hander became the face of one of baseball's youngest franchises while leading them to their lone World Series title.

In Johnson's first two starts with the San Francisco Giants, he's shown few reminders of the dominant pitcher he once was.

The struggling five-time Cy Young winner will face the Diamondbacks for the first time in his 22-year career on Sunday as the Giants look to take two of three from Johnson's former team.

Johnson (0-2, 11.42 ERA) became one of the game's premier pitchers in Seattle, but his most successful seasons came in Arizona, where he went 103-49 with a 2.65 ERA from 1999-2004, taking home four NL Cy Young awards and leading Arizona to a World Series win in 2001.

Following a two-year stint with the New York Yankees, Johnson returned to the Diamondbacks (4-7) in 2007, and after an injury-plagued season he bounced back to go 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 2008.

That resurgence prompted the Giants (3-8) to give Johnson a one-year deal worth $8 million, but so far the future Hall of Famer certainly isn't living up to that contract. Johnson followed up a shaky first start with a dreadful outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, giving up seven runs and eight hits over 3 2-3 innings in an 11-1 loss.

"Pitching against the Diamondbacks, at this point right now, I think I need to start pitching some quality games, and it doesn't really matter who it's against," Johnson told Arizona's official Web site. "I'll be excited, but as far as trying hard, I was trying just as hard five days ago in L.A."

While Johnson has been struggling, the offense he'll face hasn't been hitting well, either. Arizona has scored two or fewer runs in seven of its first 11 games, and is batting just .227.

Catcher Chris Snyder, though, just wants the Diamondbacks' slumping lineup to worry about putting together good at-bats rather than facing a former teammate.

"It's just another game," said Snyder, who's 2-for-20 at the plate. "We know what he's about, we know how he likes to work. We just need to string some hits together, get guys on base and get him out of his rhythm."

Arizona managed only five singles through eight innings against 2008 NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum on Saturday, striking out 13 times and extending its scoreless streak to 20 innings.

Once Lincecum left, however, the Diamondbacks took advantage. Chris Young hit a two-run double in the ninth to lift Arizona to a 2-0 victory.

"We'll take it," manager Bob Melvin said. "As the game went along and the outs continued, it seemed like it was going to be one at-bat and a big hit that was going to win the game."

Max Scherzer (0-0, 5.40), who was born one year before Johnson was drafted in 1985, will make his second start of the season and the ninth of his career still looking for his first win.

Scherzer, one of the Diamondbacks' top prospects, appeared in 16 games - seven starts - last season, going 0-4 but with a solid 3.05 ERA.

He opened 2009 on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, delaying his season debut until Tuesday against St. Louis. Scherzer gave up three runs and five hits over five innings, not picking up a decision in the Diamondbacks' 7-6 win.

Scherzer has never faced San Francisco.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 19, 2009

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