What has happened to Jim Johnson?

Jim Johnson entered tonight with an ERA of 6.23.

He entered allowing four of his six inherited runners to score. Suddenly, he cannot hold a lead and has become a liability pitching late in the game, maybe soon to join Matt Albers as pitchers the team just can’t use anymore with the game on the line.

Tonight, frankly, he was terrible. He gave up a single to Pedroia, the first batter he faced to tie the game 3-3 in the seventh. He elevated a 2-2 pitch to J.D. Drew that he hit for a homer in the 8th to give Boston a 4-3 lead.

He faced eight batters tonight and five of them reached. It appears he can be successful when starting an inning but not when coming in to get out of a jam.

Perhaps we learned something last year when he could not close games with much success after the George Sherrill trade. In 2009, he pitched to an ERA of 2.55 in the 8th inning and 6.11 when working in the ninth.

He has been taken off the hook for a possible loss by Miguel Tejada’s 417-foot solo homer in the 8th off Daniel Bard. It’s a 4-4 tie in the ninth at the Yard.

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