The Boston Red Sox bullpen is as frightening as Freddy Kruger would be to a pubescence teen. The continuing problems of Brian Johnson have now made Johnson expendable.
Brian Johnson has been a personal enigma for me as I have been supportive of his ability to eventually be a contributor to the Red Sox. Granted, some of this is rooted in the name connection with the lead singer of AC/DC. This season that faith was rewarded with a six-inning and one run allowed start. Then came a few extended relief efforts and the former number one draft pick had finally turned the baseball corner of performance and personal issues. Now the old Johnson has surfaced.
Johnson roster spot was purely the result of options circumstances since he was down to zero options. Trade him, keep him, designate him, or any other potential creative method that would have maintained the lefty on the roster. No more. The final straw came when Johnson’s inability to find the plate surfaced in Toronto.
Johnson entered the game in the 12th inning and promptly walked the first batter. I consider walks the way a gardener views woodchucks. And when a left-hander walks a left-hander we are now in the realm of my personal seven sins of baseball. With control issues what then happens is another noted baseball sin – a visit to Broadway. Pitching behind the count or shaky legs over being too magnanimous with a free pass leads to a pitch right down Broadway. The results are certainly not enjoyable.
Johnson’s recent troubles are only magnified as Bobby Poyner toils for Pawtucket. The surprising Poyner earned a coveted roster spot and the lefty did not disappoint. In seven games Poyner demonstrated considerable grit and certainly deserves better. Baseball, however, is a “numbers” game and Poyner has options. And speaking of numbers take a gander at a career 1.8 BB/9 for Poyner. My personal worry line is a 3.0 BB/9. Get below that and i am elated, but get above it and I consider it like being trapped watching the entire Jersey Shore reality series.
The Red Sox bullpen is a disaster zone – a veritable baseball Chernobyl as manager Alex Cora attempts to find anyone who can demonstrate the two “C’s” of baseball pitching – consistency and control. What is known is Johnson is just one of many that cannot provide that, and it is killing this team. And, yes, we can toss in about three or four more.
So – just what do you do? In the case of Johnson, it is in the best interest of the team and the player to simply move on. Johnson has value and in the right environment may be a productive contributor. Red Sox Nation has seen what Johnson can do and what Poyner or Austin Maddox can do. Both may eventually fail, but what is beyond any doubt is that Johnson has failed – at least in Boston.