Red Sox thoughts & reactions: Brian Johnson adds to historical stretch

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 02: Brian Johnson
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 02: Brian Johnson /

Boston Red Sox lefty Brian Johnson pitched six innings of one-run ball to extend the strong starting pitching streak of the team. 

Brian Johnson was not to be outdone Monday night in Miami.  The left-handed pitcher continued the outstanding pitching from the Boston Red Sox starters with a solid six inning performance, allowing just one run in the team’s 7-3 win over the Marlins.

With the outing, Johnson added to the team’s historical stretch of starters who allowed one run or no runs in each of their starts.  Unlike the quality starts by Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Hector Velazquez, Johnson got some offensive production in his outing Monday night.

The Red Sox bats exploded for seven runs, including home runs by Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts to support Brian Johnson’s effort.

While the pitching performances from Sale, Price and Porcello were more optimistically expected rather than surprising, what that team got out of both Velazquez and Johnson has to be an added bonus since the team is starting the season without three expected starters.

Nonetheless, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said the team expected the strong pitching out of all five starters.  His confidence shows how deep the starting pitching is and the faith he has in whoever starts the game on the mound.

"“It’s what we expected,” Alex Cora said, via the Boston Herald.  “We know how special they can be.  We know the first three guys, but the next two, they were outstanding the last two games.  The game plan, all the information we have gathering and executing, it’s good to see.  It’s a good road trip and it can be a great road trip.  We’ve got the right guy going (in Chris Sale) tomorrow [Tuesday].”"

The Red Sox are 4-1 on the season and could easily be 5-0 if the bullpen would’ve help up on Opening Day.  While the opposition is not exactly elite, it is still good to see the starting pitching coming through to start the 2018 season.

A tale of five starters

These weren’t the five starters Red Sox fans had in mind going into the season, but they have certainly performed.

Following Brian Johnson’s solid outing, the five-man rotation has an ERA of 0.90 over 30 innings.  That streak should continue with Sale’s start Tuesday night.

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Back to Johnson.  What was impressive about his six innings, one run and five strikeouts was that he kept his composure and confidence after falling behind 1-0.  Again, he did get support from the offense, but limiting the Marlins to just the one run was a testament to his command on the mound.

He also got a little jolt of confidence from the four starters who did their thing prior to his start.

"“Everyone feeds off each other, it’s huge,” Johnson said, via “You see one guy out there and do well, you want to repeat that.  I think that’s how it works.”"

Good depth in the rotation and Cora loves it

Alex Cora has to love this stretch by the starting rotation.  With Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright all on their way back to the rotation (eventually), the new Red Sox manager acknowledged the performances of Velazquez and Johnson as important because of the depth they now add to the rotation.

"“It’s important because we know we have to take care of these guys, David and Chris,” Cora said.  “And when you have a deep rotation, it’s going to help us pick spots.  When everybody comes back, obviously those two guys, three guys, are really, really good, [Steven] Wright, Eduardo and Drew.”"

Next: Boston Red Sox: Starting rotation is getting the job done

Not only do they have pitchers they know can fill in for a start when needed, they can give both Sale and Price extra rest during periods of the season in hopes of keeping them fresh down the stretch.