WASHINGTON – Buck Showalter believes Jim Johnson is still his closer. He probably won’t be his closer on Monday and wouldn’t have been if he had gotten the save in Sunday’s game since he threw 37 pitches.
Manager Buck Showalter declined to say whether Johnson was available. He’s not thinking that Johnson’s confidence will waver. “The more someone has had success and they know that it’s there, I think that’s true for all relief pitchers,” Showalter said. “It’s tough to go through. We’ve got to shorten that as much as possible.”
Johnson blew three consecutive saves before winning a game against the Yankees in the 10th inning and saving Saturday’s game, one that Showalter said could have been his best of the season. “He was filthy. That was so frustrating for him yesterday,” Showalter said.
His teammates maintain their support. “Jim’s one of the backbones of the team, let alone the bullpen,” Tommy Hunter said. “How many times has he gone out there and done it? It’s just a matter of time before Jim’s back.”