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Josh Johnson looking forward to Monday night start versus Marlins 'post-season legend' Josh Beckett

Monday night's series opener between the Marlins and Red Sox doesn't have a catchy slogan yet.

Josh Johnson
Marlins Opening Day starter Josh Johnson, coming off his best start of the season, will face Marlins World Series hero Josh Beckett on Monday night.

But if it did an easy choice would be the Battle of the Josh's -- as in former Marlins ace Josh Beckett versus current Marlins ace Josh Johnson.

"It's pretty cool," Johnson said of the scheduled match up. "He's a post-season legend almost."

Beckett, 32, wasn't almost a post-season legend for the Marlins. He is a legend. 

He was the World Series MVP in 2003 and almost single-handedly beat the Yankees in the Fall Classic, tossing a complete game shutout on three days rest in the Game 6 clincher at Yankee Stadium. Before that, he helped the Marlins rally from a 3-1 deficit against the Cubs, tossing a complete-game shutout in Game 5 of the NLCS and then four solid innings of relief in a Game 7 victory.

By the time Johnson first got called up to the big leagues in September 2005, Beckett was wrapping up his five-year run with the Marlins. Shortly after the 2005 season ended, the Marlins traded Beckett to the Red Sox along with Mike Lowell for Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez. But before Beckett was traded Johnson did get to spend some time with him on the field.

"He was pretty much the veteran guy here," Johnson said. "So I pretty much followed him around to see what he was doing and did that."

Beckett has never faced the Marlins in the regular season since being traded to Boston. He's gone 88-53 with a combined 4.04 ERA, 1,065 strikeouts and 316 walks and been selected to the All-Star team three times since being acquired by the Red Sox. He was the ALCS MVP in 2007 and has won two more World Series rings with Boston.

Josh Beckett
A fathead sticker of World Series MVP Josh Beckett on this Sports Illustrated cover can be found in the hallway of the press level at Marlins Park.
Johnson is looking forward to a big crowd for the game.

"It should be fun," Johnson said. "That's what we want. The more people the better even if some are Boston fans. Quite a few of them are going to be. That's alright as long as we get a lot of people here. The atmosphere is going to be good."

Johnson (3-4, 4.56 ERA) is coming off his best start of the season when he went a season-high 7 2/3 innings in a 2-1 loss to the Braves. He's 3-1 with a 4.04 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 13 walks since May began. The Marlins are 6-1 in those starts.

"You never really have it figured out. But you can take steps in the right direction," Johnson said. "Last bullpen was good again. Hopefully, I'll just continue that and take it into the next start."