Posts Tagged ‘Josh Johnson’
With the end of the regular major league season yesterday, the post-season lineup has become clear, leaving 7 of the 14 Mormon players we follow on teams that have made the post-season in some form. The 7 players are:
- John Buck (Pirates)
- Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox)
- Kyle Farnsworth (Pirates)
- Doug Fister (Tigers)
- Elliot Johnson (Braves)
- Adam Rosales (Rangers)
- Eric Sogard (A’s)
Of these, Rosales has perhaps the most tenuous position. He hasn’t seen much playing time as the Rangers have fought hard to make the post season, ending up with a tie for the second wild card spot in the American League. As a result the Rangers face a one-game playoff tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays to see who will get the wild card spot. If they win, the Rangers will then face another one-game playoff on Wednesday against the other wild card team, the Cleveland Indians, to see who will face the Red Sox in a 5-game series starting Friday.
Four Mormon players are on teams that have clinched a berth in this year’s playoffs, and another 5 could still make it — and two almost certainly will. Jacoby Ellsbury (Boston Red Sox), Doug Fister (Detroit Tigers), Elliot Johnson (Atlanta Braves) and Eric Sogard (Oakland Athletics) will all experience the post-season. In addition, John Buck and Kyle Farnsworth (both with the Pittsburg Pirates) are very likely to also make the post season. And Jeremy Guthrie (Kansas City Royals), Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals) and Adam Rosales (Texas Rangers), all still have a chance of seeing the post season, if their teams win and others lose.
Phillies ace Roy Halladay was srong in his start last week against the Nationals, lasting 6 innings and giving up just 1 earned run while striking out 5. But Halladay didn’t have the control he has had in the past, as he walked 5 and hit two batters. But the outcome was good enough that we wonder if perhaps Halladay is back, or on his way back to his form of previous years. Commentors claim that his velocity is down, so Halladay may need to make the adjustment that aging (Halladay is 36) pitchers often have to make, trading velocity for placement and surprise. He has perhaps 4 starts left in the season; in those starts we may see what kind of pitcher Halladay will be for the remaining years of his career.
Also strong on the mound last week were relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Matt Lindstrom, both of whom held opponents scoreless in their relief appearances. Farnsworth struck out three over a total of 2 innings while giving up just one hit. Lindstrom struck out four over 1 2/3rds innings while giving up 3 hits and bringing down his era to 2.89. Neither pitcher walked a man.
Despite his team’s poor performance, Matt Lindstrom is still managing to perform well. This past week he gave up just 3 hits and one walk while striking out 5 over 4 2/3rds innings. And despite struggling a bit earlier this month, Lindstrom’s season era is just 3.26.
But all this doesn’t mean that Lindstrom will be able to stay with the White Sox, as he would like. The team is second from the bottom in the American League, and third from last overall, which has led it to make many of its players available for trade, including Lindstrom, who cleared waivers this week. But his relatively low salary should have let him be claimed off waivers if there was any interest, so perhaps he will stay with the White Sox.
Its an old story in baseball. The pitcher performs extremely well, but the team behind him doesn’t, and the pitcher ends up with a loss. That was the story for the Toronto Blue Jay’s Josh Johnson last week.
Over 5 innings Johnson pitched fairly well. He gave up 1 earned run and 7 hits while striking out 5 and walking just 2. While that perhaps isn’t a great performance, it should be sufficient to win the game. What’s missing is that the the team gave up a total of 6 runs, 5 of which were unearned, due to errors made by Johnson’s teammates.
Mormon baseball fans should perhaps be looking to Boston at the moment, where Jacoby Ellsbury just had a great week. In addition to retaking sole posession of first place in stolen bases in the majors, Ellsbury hit .400 for the week, scoring 6 runs and earning 4 rbis and boosting his season batting average to .289—back in the range of what he has performed in the majors in previous years. And at his current rate of stealing bases, Ellsbury may have one of the best years of his career. He has stolen 32 bases so far, on track to come close to the 70 bases he stole in his best year so far (2009). He should be able to best his second best year (2008), when he stole 50 bases.
Royals’ starter Jeremy Guthrie finally notched his 6th win of the season last week, after struggling through much of May and losing 3 games in a row. This game brought his season era down to a respectable 3.66, but still quite a bit above the phenomenal 2.28 era he held on May 9th after his 5th win.
Guthrie’s pitching was perhaps bested among the Mormons pitching in the majors by both Matt Lindstrom and Brandon Lyon, relievers who each pitched 3 or more innings during the week without giving up a run. Lindstrom (White Sox) is perhaps slightly more impressive, with a season era of 2.96 over 27.1 innings, but Lyon (Mets) has a 19-6 strike out-to-walk ratio, much better than Lindstrom.
Returning from the DL is sometimes a struggle, and sometimes its rejuvenating. Where some return and struggle to get back to form, other players start hot, as if the break put them back at the top of their game. With his strong return, Mitch Maier must be feeling great. During the week since he rejoined the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA), Maier has hit .353, including 5 runs, 6 rbis and 2 home runs, while managing 4 walks and a stolen base. His average for the season is now .333 — among the best in the league, except for the fact that he hasn’t enough plate appearances to make the stats lists.
The Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury wowed fans last week at the plate, and more importantly on the base paths. In four games against the Phils Ellsbury was 9 for 18 with four runs scored and 2 rbis. His heroics for the week culminated in last Thursday’s game, in which he set a new team record: 5 stolen bases in a single game. But Ellsbury’s fantastic performance came to a screeching halt that same game: his groin tightened up. He was benched for the next three games last week, against the Yankees, but not put on the DL.
The utility infielder has to be one of the more difficult positions on a team. You don’t now where you will play in the field on a given day, whether you will start or come in late in the game, whether or not you will even play on any given day. In a game where consistent performance is prized, such a position makes success difficult. So when Elliot Johnson manages to get his batting average up to .281, it is perhaps a bit more impressive.
This past week Elliot was particularly strong at the plate, going 5 for 15 (.333) with 2 stolen bases. His season batting average (.281) comes in just 64 at bats, about 1/3rd of what an every day player would have at this point. What remains to be seen is whether or not Johnson can keep up a .281 average, or whether or not he will slip back to last year’s .242 or the .194 of the previous year.