White Sox-Blue Jays Preview
The right-hander looks to bounce back from one of the shortest starts of his career when the Blue Jays try for a second straight win over the visiting Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Johnson (0-1, 11.05 ERA) allowed four runs and nine hits during a 6-4 loss to Boston in his Toronto (6-7) debut April 5, but struck out six and lasted six innings. It was much better than Thursday at Detroit, where he gave up six runs and seven hits in 1 1-3 innings of an 11-1 defeat.
"I haven't thrown a slider for a strike yet, and I need that pitch," Johnson said. "When I'm throwing it for strikes, it is something that the hitters have to think about, but this is two starts now, and it hasn't happened. They were all over my curveball for some reason, and the fastball was just hanging over the plate.''
Dating to last season with Miami, Johnson is 0-4 with a 5.81 ERA in his last five starts.
He's also a big reason the Blue Jays' rotation is among the worst in the majors with a 6.11 ERA and has yet to have a starter complete seven innings.
"I wish I could go 100-120 pitches just to help save the bullpen a little bit," Johnson told the Blue Jays' official website. "But when you give up five, six hits in a row, and six runs in 1 1/3 innings, it's not really going to work out."
Johnson is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA against the White Sox, but has not faced them since 2010.
He'll try to help the Blue Jays build on a 4-3 win over Chicago on Monday. J.P. Arencibia and Maicer Izturis each homered and Mark Buehrle allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings to beat his former team as Toronto won for the third time in four games.
Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion added three hits, and is 4 for 7 in the last two games to raise his average from .119 to .184. He's batting .406 (13 for 32) during an eight-game hitting streak against the White Sox (5-8) and has a homer in two at-bats against scheduled starter Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 5.79).
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 7.00 ERA versus Toronto, both at home. He gave up three hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-3 win in 2011, but yielded seven runs and three homers over three innings of an 11-9 loss last season.
Axelrod allowed six runs, seven hits and walked four in 3 2-3 innings of a 7-4 loss at Washington on Thursday.
Dayan Viciedo had three hits Monday for Chicago, which is 1-6 on a 10-game trip.
Teammate Adam Dunn is 0 for 14 in his last four games and has seen his average drop to .128. He's 4 for 24 (.167) with a homer and 12 strikeouts versus Johnson.
It's uncertain if Toronto slugger Jose Bautista will return after he missed the series opener with a sore back.
"His back just flared up on him," manager John Gibbons said. "Hopefully, it's just a day. We don't think it's a big deal."
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays are expected to activate infielder Brett Lawrie, who opened the season on the disabled list with a strained rib cage.