Friday, June 5, 2009
Last night, the Tall, Dark and Mormon one, won a game all on his own. He chipped in with his usual dominance on the mound allowing just two runs in seven and two-thirds innings pitched, while striking out eight1. He also provided the offense for the evening with a huge three run shot to straightaway center field. The bullpen almost tried to blow it again, amazingly. Dan Meyer allowed a home run to Prince Fielder to cut the deficit to 4-3. Then Matt Lindstrom let the leadoff man reach in the 9th before notching the save.
He now has achieved ten quality starts in his twelve outings. Remarkably the team has only delivered him five victories2. With a 2.63 ERA and averaging right around seven innings per start, he deserves a better record. Baseball Prospectus took a look at some of his gems that have been wasted, namely, the eight shutout innings against the Phillies in April. Another strong performance not mentioned in the piece was a May date with the Reds. He went seven and a third innings and allowed just two runs, but the Marlin's offense could only match those two before finally winning 3-2 in the 14th inning3. Realistically Johnson could be 7-1 or 8-1 and dare I say, a contender to start the All-Star Game? Who knows, but if he keeps it up, he will definitely make it to St. Louis in July.
1 Including three of Mike Cameron's four punchouts on the night
2 The team is 9-3 in games started by Johnson
3 I realize the article is focusing on the bullpen blowing leads and in this game, the no decision was due to poor run support, as JJ was not in line to win when he exited the game. I think it deserves mention though as a game he should have won.