J.J. looking to regroup

Perhaps Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez put it best when he summed up Josh Johnson’s outing on Wednesday afternoon.

“He’s human,” Gonzalez said.

Considering how impressive Johnson has been all season, anything less than a quality start raises eyebrows.

Johnson exited on Wednesday against the Nationals after a season-low 3 1/3 innings. While the 6-foot-7 right-hander gave up just one run, and he wasn’t involved in the decision, his pitch count reached 89. He uncharacteristically walked four, with one intentional, and he struck out three.

The good news is Johnson physically is fine. You could chalk the outing as just an offday.

Johnson is 7-1 with a 2.76 ERA, and his 114 1/3 innings are behind only Arizona’s Dan Haren, who has 115.

Because the Marlins won on Wednesday, they improved to 14-3 when he starts.

In trying to pinpoint what was off against the Nationals, Johnson says he thinks he was landing too far apart on the mound. He plans on double checking on Saturday when he plans on watching video of his last outing.

Johnson is slated to throw his between starts bullpen session on Saturday, and he expects to review his delivery on video beforehand.

“I think I was getting too far out there,” Johnson said, meaning his front leg landing wider than normal. “When I land too far apart, it leaves you open, you slide.”

The glitch is very minor. But being slightly off can hinder a pitcher’s command of the strike zone.

Johnson is making a strong case to be an All-Star. He will know on Sunday. His next start is on Tuesday at San Francisco.

If Johnson does make the All-Star team, it is doubtful that he would be the National League’s starter. He’s also scheduled to pitch on July 12 in Arizona, which is the final game before the Break.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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