Johnson on Buck’s trust, Palmer’s tough love & the fanbase
Orioles closer Jim Johnson, who blew his third consecutive save on Monday night, was hoping to get an immediate chance for redemption. And if a save situation arises Tuesday against the Yankees, manager Buck Showalter made it clear that Johnson will be the one to get the ball.
“He’s not going to sugarcoat it,” Johnson said of Showalter’s public and private support for him. “If he felt like he needed to do something, he would do it. But we are not at that point. He trusts me and I trust him. We use that word a lot around here, trust. We hold each other accountable and that’s just the way this works.”
Johnson, who saw a stretch of 35 consecutive save opportunities snapped on May 10, has allowed eight earned runs over his last three games (2 1/3 innings) and the All-Star closer has looked nothing like the shut-down reliever who lead the Majors with 51 saves last year. Or has he?
“It’s never as bad as you think it is, and you are never going as good as you think you are,” he said. “There were times last year I pitched terribly and somehow ended up getting the save. But nobody talked about that because they don’t see it. Actually there is one person that saw it, it was [broadcaster and Hall of Famer Jim] Palmer. He called me out on it. And I knew he was right. It’s just the way the game works.
I feel like being consistent in this game is having a good work ethic. I think I have a good work ethic and the results will come.”
Johnson has gone back and watched the video of all three of his blown save outings and has been working on making a few adjustments that he hopes will get his command back on track. And while Showalter has stuck by his closer, Orioles fans have been pretty divided over whether the 29-year-old should continue to man the ninth-inning duties. Johnson said Tuesday he doesn’t pay attention to any of that kind of stuff, but he did have some high praise for the home crowd.
“I think our fans are a little bit smarter than most, honestly,” Johnson said. “They understand the game a little bit better than I’ve seen at other ballparks. They understand it’s not that easy. They are fans, they want us to win, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s part of being a fan, [and] enjoying the game.”