While most of the young pitching for the San Diego Padres has been shaky to say the least, the members of the projected starting rotation have been absolutely dominant this spring. Following suit in today’s 7-2 win against the San Francisco Giants was a pitcher who many feel was the Padres’ biggest offseason acquisition — Josh Johnson.
Making his Padres debut, Johnson looked like the guy who was routinely mentioned as one of the best young pitchers in baseball just a few seasons ago. Johnson breezed through his two innings of work against the Giants, retiring all six batters faced. Anytime a player is coming off of the worst statistical season of his career combined with an offseason surgery, there is always going to be questions until you actually see the player on the mound again. While two innings of work isn’t exactly a lot on which to form an opinion, Johnson definitely answered quite a few questions today.
With back-to-back strikeouts of the Giants’ Hunter Pence and Michael Morse, Johnson showed he still had the ability to miss bats with his pitches. One of those strikeouts came on a nasty slider — another good sign — as he showed that he’s confident enough in where he is at health-wise to avoid stepping on the mound in a game for the first time after a surgery and to just throw fastballs.
If Johnson returns to his pre-injury form, he is going to make what looks like a potentially dominating starting five even more special, and the Johnson signing will go down as one of the Padres’ most savvy signings in a long time.
Along with Johnson the Padres’ projected starting rotation which includes Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, and Eric Stults, have combined to pitch a total of 10 innings while only allowing two earned runs on five total hits with seven strikeouts — pure dominance.
When you realize that those two earned runs and three of those five total hits allowed all came from one of those five pitchers, you get an even clearer view of how strong these guys have been. While I have made it a point not to get too down on a lot of the young arms for their bad spring performances thus far, I’m having a hard time not getting too up on the potential of this Padres’ rotation based on what I’m seeing. And with those numbers, how could you blame me?