Jim Johnson Could Be The Orioles' MVP
When you think about the fact that the Orioles are 16-6 in one-run games, you start to get a sense of how close the Orioles could be to having a sub-.500 record.
Jim Johnson has had 27 save opportunities for the Orioles this year, and blown only one of them. He's been otherworldly and is well on his way, if the Orioles continue their narrow victory pattern, to breaking the team record for saves in a season -- 47 by Randy Myers.
Johnson didn't blow a save until June 5 and had only 11 opportunities to throw during June and early July. The simple reason was the Orioles' starting pitching began struggling, and the team was on the losing end of seven blowouts. Johnson has allowed nine hits and five runs, and his ERA stands at a 1.21. Batters are hitting just .151 against him.
After years of watching Michael Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg struggle late during games, Orioles fans can finally breathe a little easier with the game on the line.
National baseball fans got a glimpse of Johnson last night, as he threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning. It was the kind of performance Orioles fans have come to expect this season out of Johnson, who has pitched in 37.1 innings during 37 games.
Adam Jones was the best player on the Orioles earlier this season and still is right near the top, but Johnson has been virtually flawless. The Orioles aren't going to club their way to the postseason. They're going to scratch and claw their way there if they make it. On top of that, it's likely that any lead they have will be tenuous.
Johnson's just the right man to hold it down. His calm presence and tight focus are the stuff of winners and, really, the best kind of closers. Without him, the Orioles would be near the bottom of the AL East standings.
Posted July 11, 2012.