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News » Marlins-Brewers Preview 2009-05-14

Marlins-Brewers Preview 2009-05-14

Marlins-Brewers Preview 2009-05-14
Josh Johnson has been nearly unbeatable for the Florida Marlins since returning from elbow surgery nearly a year ago.

He'll attempt to win a seventh consecutive decision on Thursday when the Marlins look to avoid being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers for the first time in over 10 years.

Arm problems limited Johnson (3-0, 2.34 ERA) to four starts in 2007, and he was 0-3 with a career-worst 7.47 ERA. Following the season, the right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery and has been outstanding since coming back in July,

Johnson is 10-1 with a 3.15 ERA in 21 starts, with the Marlins going 17-4. His only loss came at St. Louis on Sept. 7, and he's since posted a 6-0 record with a 2.96 ERA in 10 starts.

Johnson believes he's a better pitcher due to refining his fundamentals during rehabilitation.

"I just think my mechanics are a little more sound," he said. "You work on so much after the surgery. You throw 40-50 bullpens. That's all you do for two or three months. It's pretty annoying but it definitely helps you out in the long run, a blessing in disguise."

Johnson was impressive again Saturday, yielding one run and seven hits in eight innings of a 3-1 win at Colorado.

"This guy does everything the way you want young pitchers to do, hold runners, field his position, bunt," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez told the team's official Web site. "People are getting to know that name."

Johnson is 1-0 with a 3.95 ERA in two starts against the Brewers (20-14), but hasn't faced them since 2006, when he won a career-high 12 games.

Florida (17-17) hopes Johnson can help them avoid their first three-game sweep to the Brewers since May 3-5, 1999. In Wednesday's 8-6 defeat, the Marlins' Ross Gload had an apparent two-run homer reversed after video replay.

Milwaukee, which has won eight of its last 10, hopes to continue getting production from second baseman Rickie Weeks - who's hit home runs in three straight games.

Drafted second overall in 2003, Weeks is 11 for 31 (.355) with three homers and five RBIs over the last seven games. He's hitting .286 with a team-high nine homers and 24 RBIs this season, a vast improvement for a career .248 hitter who has at times been criticized by Milwaukee fans.

"Because of the expectations being so high on him, hopefully people are changing their opinion on him a little bit because the guy is a tough kid," Brewers manager first-year Ken Macha said. "You love to have him on your team."

Dave Bush (1-0, 4.05) might not mind some offensive help after failing to get a decision in three consecutive three starts - all Milwaukee wins despite getting seven total runs of support.

The right-hander didn't get much help again Friday, as the offense produced just one run. He allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 3-2 home victory over the Chicago Cubs.

"I just try to have a good outing every time out, and I figure our offense will score enough runs to win," Bush told the team's official Web site.

Bush is 1-2 with a 6.88 ERA in three career starts against Florida.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 14, 2009

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