I sure didn’t see that type of performance coming from Chicago White Sox starter Erik Johnson, as he took a couple steps backward on Friday night with his under two innings of work against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Johnson pitched just 1.2 innings, 60 pitches for 32 strikes, allowing four earned runs on four hits and four walks, including walking the final batter he faced with the bases loaded.
The White Sox won the game, 9-6 with a walk-off grand slam by Jose Abreu with two outs in the ninth.
The right-handed pitcher had just one strikeout and faced just 12 batters. His ERA stands at 6.46 on the season.
Even with as bad as he pitched in this game, the offense of the White Sox bailed him out by tying the game in the bottom of the fourth and giving him a no-decision.
Johnson this season has walked 15 batters in five starts, with 18 strikeouts in 23.2 innings pitched.
This game, however, was by far his worst outing of the season, but the one plus about Johnson this season is this … he’s just 24 years old and has plenty of opportunities to learn from this start and to just improve as the season continues.
Sure, I wished Johnson pitched longer than 1.2 innings Friday, but I won’t sit here and completely throw him under the bus, because he still has a lot of potential to become one of the better starters on this team.
We have to remember his two previous starts, where he allowed a combined two earned runs in 11.2 innings against the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox.
So this season, Johnson has had two very good starts and three not so good ones. That’s expected, but once he gets used to this level, good things will happen for him.
This was just one bad night, and I’m even more interested in seeing how he responds in his next start, which should be on Wednesday, April 30 vs. the Detroit Tigers.
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