Boston Red Sox Pitcher Brian Johnson In A Spot Start Pitches A Complete Game Shutout In A 6-2 Win Over The Texas Rangers
The Boston Red Sox have had a lot of issues finding pitchers who can throw a spot start and have legitimate success. But on Saturday when they called upon Brain Johnson, he was able to pitch extraordinarily well and give Boston the outing it so desperately wanted from a spot starter.
Johnson tossed a complete game shutout, and allowed only five hits, while not walking a batter and striking out eight. He needed 109 pitches to throw nine innings which was remarkable for Johnson. Boston Red Sox Manager John Farrell was very pleased with the outing by Johnson and was astounded by Johnson’s ability to get through innings with a limited number of pitches.
“I think so many innings, you write down how many pitches per inning, he had 13 for three consecutive, I don’t think he threw more than 17 pitches in any one inning,” manager John Farrell said. “But, again, getting ahead in the count, first-pitch strikes were so key for him and really had good finish to his fastball through the zone. Take away the velocity, just look at the action, some of the swings they were taking, he had a good depth to his breaking ball to keep them off-stride. He led the breaking ball, he finished a couple of left-handers with sliders. You can’t say enough about the way he pitched. He was outstanding.”
It is important to note that Johnson is not overpowering by any stretch of the imagination with the left-hander only topping out in the high-80’s with his fastball, but his strengths are through his ability to hit his spots.
In the 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers, Johnson was aided by spectacular defensive efforts. One was by Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts who robbed Nelson Cruz of a home run in the fourth inning and then Jackie Bradley Jr. made a great catch up against the wall in center to take an extra base hit away from Robinson Cano in the sixth. Bradley Jr. also made a diving catch in the ninth.
This was the second major league start of the season for Johnson, and his second win. In seven starts with the PawSox, he is 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA. Johnson took a leave of absence last season to battle with anxiety, but he has overcome this ordeal and is always excited to come up to Boston and perform for the big league club.
“You always want to come up here and do well, and now that there’s obviously some stuff I’ve gone through in my career, but it’s an awesome feeling,” Johnson said.
Johnson likely won’t be sticking with the Red Sox beyond the one start with David Price returning on Monday, but if another injury occurs or if Drew Pomeranz struggles, Johnson has put himself in the conversation to be relied on as a serviceable major league starter.