Josh Johnson matched AJ Burnett pitch for pitch tonight in what shaped up to be an old-fashioned pitching duel. Of course, the story line was AJ returns to Miami (with Joe Girardi, of course) to face his former team. It is quite obvious that AJ never liked the front office here – much like his current manager – yet, that is beside the point.
JJ got the win while only allowing run run in 7 innings. Only three hits were given up and at one point Johnson retired 10 batters in a row. He seemingly sawed off the Yankees’ bats.
Marlins fans know how good JJ has been. He is quickly becoming one of the top pitchers in all of baseball – his mid 2 ERA is sinking each time out it seems and he continues to string along quality starts, getting to the 7th with as much frequency as your average beer chugger attending games in the stands. Clark Spencer, of the Miami Herald, speculates that the Yankees are now foaming at the mouth to snatch up Josh Johnson – and that he will be one player that won’t make it to the 2012 coming out party for the Marlins franchise as they cut the ribbon on the new stadium.
The Marlins, of course, need to make JJ a priority like they did with Hanley. Right now, the Marlins have the makings of another great rotation – the likes of which won them a title in 2003. Dare I say, this staff is better than that staff though. Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, Andrew Miller, Ricky Nolasco and Sean West can all win double digits. Volstad and Johnson have #1 stuff while Miller could shake out and be a strong #2 guy on this staff. West is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, showing off his skills at future games each year. Who knows what the staff looks like in 2012, but right now this team is on the verge of getting back on track with only 2 more losses than wins and sitting 4 games behind the Phillies.