Randy Too Old?

Coming off back surgery and being 43 years old, Randy Johnson is still struggling to find the endurance necessary to become a consistently dominant pitcher again.

The Diamondbacks (20-19) hope the five-time Cy Young Award winner can continue to recapture his form when he starts the opener of a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies (16-22) at Coors Field on Tuesday.

Oddsmakers have made Arizona -110 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 10ev total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 68% of bets for this game have been placed on Arizona -110 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Johnson (0-2, 6.00 ERA) struck out the first six batters he faced and threw six scoreless innings against Philadelphia on Wednesday, but ran out of gas in the seventh. All three hitters he faced reached base and came around to score, and Arizona went on to lose 9-3.

Johnson finished with a season-high nine strikeouts and allowed only four hits. He didn't get the decision.

"I may have been the old Randy for six innings," Johnson said. "Then I just got old."

The Diamondbacks are hoping for more after giving the left-hander a two-year, $26 million extension through 2009 during the offseason, when they reacquired him in a trade with the New York Yankees. Johnson has lasted seven innings once in his four starts since returning April 24 from back surgery.

"I'm still trying to get my legs under me and get my stamina back," Johnson told the Diamondbacks' official Web site.

Johnson will be making his first start of the season on the road, where Arizona has gone 2-8 in its last 10 games. The only series the Rockies have won at home came in their season opener from April 2-4, when they took two of three against the Diamondbacks.

Johnson is 1-3 with a 2.50 ERA in his last five starts against the Rockies after winning eight straight decisions against them during the 2001-03 seasons. He's 14-7 with a 2.35 ERA in 23 starts overall against Colorado, including 5-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 Coors Field appearances in his career.

Johnson will be looking for his first victory since Sept. 16, as he's 0-3 with a 6.56 ERA in his last six starts. He has not lost four consecutive decisions since dropping five straight starts from June 20-July 10, 1999. The only season Johnson started with losses in his first three decisions was 1989, when he was 0-4 after seven starts.

The Rockies will counter Johnson with right-hander Jason Hirsh (2-3, 4.10), who's coming off his shortest start of the season. He allowed three runs, five hits and six walks with five strikeouts in four innings of Colorado's 9-2 loss at St. Louis on Wednesday.

It marked the first time Hirsh, 25, has lost consecutive decisions in his two-season career.

"It's inexcusable," said Hirsh, who pitched for Houston last season and has never faced Arizona. "I just feel like I'm way out of sync."

The Rockies will be looking for Hirsh to bounce back and help them do the same after suffering their worst defeat of the season, 15-2 at home to San Francisco on Sunday.

"I'll let my offense take care of (Johnson)," Hirsh told the Rockies' official Web site. "I have pretty good confidence in them right now. They're swinging the bat pretty well."

No one more so than first baseman Todd Helton, who's batting .440 (11-for-25) against Arizona this year and .327 (170-for-520) with 29 homers and 102 RBIs in 148 career games against the Diamondbacks. Helton is hitting .412 (13-for-34) in his last nine games overall.

Arizona hopes third baseman Chad Tracy can return after sitting out Sunday's 4-2 defeat at Houston with an oblique strain. Tracy is batting .364 (71-for-195) in 53 games against Colorado, and his 13 homers and 37 RBIs in those games are his highest totals against any team.

The Rockies have dropped two straight and three of four.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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