Largely lost in tonight’s 4-1 Orioles’ win was the performance from reliever Jim Johnson, who needed just eight pitches (seven strikes) to get through the seventh inning and pitched around a leadoff double in the eighth. It wasn’t lost on Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
“Johnson was, for me, that was the Johnson we saw when he first came up,” Francona said. “He was overpowering. He got some movement. He had the changeup coming out of the same slot. That was impressive.”
Johnson struck out four in the two-inning outing which lowered his ERA to 2.79.
“Jimmy’s had a good look on his face since the first day of Spring Training,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s healthy, feels good. Had a real low pitch count there in the seventh and there will be some times with some off-days where you’ll use him and Koji [Uehara] and Kevin [Gregg], but you’d like to stay away from one of them to have him tomorrow fresh.
As good as [Johnson] was in the seventh, the part of the order he went through in the eighth was pretty impressive, too. But there’s not a part of their order that’s not impressive.”
Orioles rookie Zach Britton, who was pretty impressive himself, had this to say about Johnson…
“His stuff is really good. I was actually in here watching it on video and it is pretty nasty to have him come in behind me,” Britton said. “I just feel pretty confident.”