To say the past couple weeks haven’t gone well for Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson would be quite the understatement. But I guess that’s what happens when you’ve had a four-leaf clover in your pocket for the entire 2012 season.
To put it simply: the baseball gods are just catching up to him.
Johnson is a unique closer since he is one of the few out there that doesn’t really strike out a whole lot of hitters. His career 5.84 K/9 is a figure that one normally wouldn’t want out of its closer, but since Johnson had over 50 saves last season, everyone just assumed that he wouldn’t struggle this season.
In 2012, the Orioles defied all logic when it came to winning games, so it’s really not a surprise that they are struggling at winning the close ones this season.
Being a fan of the Chicago White Sox, I feel like this two-year stretch is very similar to the one the White Sox had in 2005-2006. In 2005, the White Sox won the World Series because of the flukiest pitching staff of all-time. In 2006, however, the White Sox’ pitching staff completely tanked, and a majority of their 2005 stars were out of baseball by the end of 2006.
Moreover, the White Sox’ offense was amazing in 2006, which is very similar to the way Baltimore is performing this year, too. Nevertheless, Johnson’s struggles shouldn’t really be all that surprising: he doesn’t strike people out, he allows way too much contact, he had an unsustainable home run percentage and his BABIP was also way below his career average in the previous season.
The baseball gods will catch up with every player; it may take a few weeks, a few months, or a whole year, but they will find them. I think it’s safe to say they have Jim Johnson in their grasps right now, and they aren’t ready to let go quite yet.