Pitting Randy Johnson against the Cubs is like hosting a demolition derby with a Mack truck and a tricycle.
And that's when the Cubs have Sammy Sosa in the lineup.
On a day Sosa flew back to Chicago because of a neck injury, the word mismatch doesn't apply. Try no match.
Johnson improved to 11-0 against the Cubs by firing a six-hit shutout Sunday in Arizona's 7-0 victory.
The 38-year-old left-hander finished with two more RBIs than the Cubs.
Johnson used his devilish combination of fastballs and sliders to strike out 16 batters.
At least the Cubs can take solace in this: They're not alone. It was Johnson's 14th double-digit strikeout game of the season and his fifth in a row.
Johnson hit 102 m.p.h. on his 107th pitch, a seventh-inning fastball that buzzed past a swinging Mark Bellhorn for strike No. 3.
Why was Johnson's velocity higher Sunday than normal?
"I woke up today and I was a power pitcher," he said sarcastically. "I just feel like I'm locked in."
The Cubs adjusted their lineup in the absence of Sosa, whose neck injury could sideline him for several games. Angel Echevarria, who batted third and played right field, reached base on a single, double and walk.
But fellow replacements Chris Stynes and Chad Hermansen had less success, going a combined 0-for-8.
Sosa, meanwhile, planned to see team physician Michael Schafer either Sunday night or Monday.
"He has a strained muscle in his neck," trainer David Tumbas said. "The motion he had to the right was very limited. He couldn't do a lot. He looked down fine, chin to chest, but it would be tough to catch a fly ball.
"The muscle is as tight as could be, along the neck and going down into the shoulder."
Sosa apparently sustained the injury during his final swing of Saturday's game. Tumbas doesn't believe it's related to his collision with Bellhorn on Aug. 18.
Sosa is treating the injury with muscle relaxants and electronic stimulation.
The Cubs weren't entirely helpless against Johnson. They stranded three runners in the fourth, and Echevarria and Moises Alou led off the sixth with singles. With the Cubs trailing 2-0, manager Bruce Kimm had Stynes swing away rather than lay down a bunt.
"I really felt Stynes might be the one guy that could nail one into the gap or out of the ballpark," Kimm said.
"It wouldn't be a bad play to bunt there, but it's really hard to bunt off those [power] guys. And I felt like we needed to take a shot there."
Stynes struck out before Johnson retired Alex Gonzalez and Hermansen to end the threat.
"Those great pitchers, even when you get them in trouble, they get out of it," Kimm said. "That's why they're as great as they are."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun