Thought of the day
Jim Johnson hadn’t pitched in three days, and the Orioles’ lead was only four runs, so it was a no-brainer for him to work the ninth inning of yesterday’s 4-0 win over the Jays.
But closers many times aren’t as sharp pitching in non-save situations, which is why it was encouraging to watch Johnson mow through the inning 1-2-3.
Johnson hadn’t pitched in a non-save situation since Aug. 4, and that was also a 1-2-3 ninth in a 4-0 win over Tampa Bay.
With these games down the stretch meaning so much, the Orioles might put more 4- or 5-run games in Johnson’s hands. It’s hard to explain exactly why a closer would struggle when he has a bigger lead – the obvious suggestion is that he lets up a little bit – but Johnson hasn’t shown a hint of that.
And, since his last blown save against Oakland on July 27, he’s allowed no runs and just five hits in 12 2/3 innings of work.
Just what you want to see from a closer at this time of year.
Inside the enemy clubhouses