Left-hander Brian Johnson has been Boston’s least effective pitcher this season. He produced a solid spot start in his first appearance, holding the Miami Marlins to one run over six innings. His time in the bullpen since then has been disastrous.
Johnson has allowed 13 runs in 13 innings of relief. Boston has lost four of the last five games he’s appeared in, with Johnson getting tagged with two of those losses himself. He’s allowed 11 runs over his last six innings of work, including the walk-off home run he allowed in Toronto without recording an out.
While he’s currently on the only southpaw in the Red Sox bullpen, the team may not need a lefty specialist given how well their right-handed arms have performed against left-handed bats. Being left-handed won’t necessarily be enough to save Johnson’s roster spot.
The one factor he does have in his favor is that Johnson is out of minor league options. If he’s not willing to accept a demotion to Triple-A then the Red Sox would be forced to designate him for assignment. As brutal as he’s been as a reliever, Johnson still has some value as depth for the starting rotation.
Johnson’s performance doesn’t warrant keeping him on the active roster but his job may be saved simply because the Red Sox want to avoid losing him for nothing.