The Boston Red Sox will turn to left-hander Brian Johnson to snap the losing streak when they host the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.
The Boston Red Sox desperately need a stopper to end this losing streak. A frustrating weekend in Tampa Bay resulted in the team being swept for the first time this season. Boston is currently riding their third three-game losing streak of the season. To stop the bleeding, they’ll send a pitcher to the mound who wouldn’t even be in the rotation if everyone were healthy.
Preventing the first four-game losing streak of the season is a lot to put on the shoulders of Brian Johnson. The lefty hasn’t been all that sharp since returning to the rotation this month, allowing six earned runs over 10 innings. However, there are reasons to be optimistic about his chances of snapping the streak.
Johnson was a bit shaky in his last two starts but the Red Sox came out victorious in those games against the rolling Rays and playoff-bound Indians. Neither was deemed a “quality start” and a 5.40 ERA over that span is nothing to get excited about but Johnson pitched well enough to keep his team in the game. He’s pitched well enough for the Red Sox to win in each of his last four starts and seven of his last nine.
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The 27-year old has performed admirably when called upon to join the rotation this season. He’s 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA over 10 starts this season. His 1.33 WHIP and 2.42 K/BB ratio in those starts leave a lot to be desired. Still, that’s better production than most teams get from their No. 5 starter.
Johnson also gets a favorable matchup against the cellar-dwelling Miami Marlins. Only four major league teams have a lower winning percentage than the 53-79 Marlins. They also rank 29th in the majors in runs scored and dead last in OPS. It shouldn’t take a dominant performance to reel in these fish.
We’ve seen Johnson thrive against this team before. He earned his first win of the season by holding the Marlins to one run over six innings back in April. Miami has since continued the teardown they began last winter and have been significantly worse at the plate in the second half.
The lineup supporting Johnson has been in a rut lately. Perhaps the Marlins pitching staff can help get them back on track. It starts with facing Jose Urena tonight. He’s 4-12 with a 4.50 ERA this season and has produced a 4.91 ERA in six starts since the break.
This week allows the Red Sox to beat up on some bad teams – the Marlins, followed by a trip to Chicago to face a White Sox team that is one of the few with a lower winning percentage than Miami. With difficult games against the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros looming, the Red Sox need to get back to their winning ways to prevent the lurking New York Yankees from gaining more ground in the division.