JJ’s historical, yet frustrating April
What Josh Johnson accomplished in April is simply historical. It also is a bit baffling and frustrating, because despite being so dominant, the Marlins’ right-hander doesn’t have much to show for it.
The Marlins inability to hold a three-run lead with two outs in the eighth inning on Saturday night is the latest example of the team wasting a superior JJ performance. The Reds rallied for three runs, all with two outs and no one on in the eighth to tie the game. They eventually won, 4-3, in 10 innings.
Johnson scattered five hits in seven shutout innings. The hard-throwing right-hander set an MLB standard by allowing 18 hits in 42 innings before May 1. It’s the fewest hits allowed (with a minimum of 40 innings) in the modern era, which began in 1900.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous mark was 19 by Nolan Ryan in 1978 in 41 innings.
Considering he has an 0.88 ERA, Johnson still has just three wins to start the season. In each of his last two starts, he exited with a multi-run lead but the bullpen was unable to secure him the victory.
This is where the frustration sets in because JJ is part of more history.
In the last 40 seasons, there are only five pitchers who have had sub-1.00 ERAs through six starts, but only had three or fewer wins to show for it. They all had exactly three wins.
According to Elias, they are:
2011 Josh Johnson 0.88
2002 Al Leiter 0.92
1989 Mike Morgan 0.85
1985 Fernando Valenzuela 0.87
1981 Bob Knepper 0.99
— Joe Frisaro