Struggling closer Jim Johnson answered several questions today by his locker. It was not his favorite thing to do, I’m sure, but he was accountable for his performance as always.
He ended his session with reporters answering a question about manager Buck Showalter’s confidence in him.
“It’s fine. I mean, we talk and what else is there to say? I’ve talked about this for the last three days,” he said. “My confidence is fine, Buck’s confidence is fine. We’re good and we’re going to win tonight, so, that’s it.”
Johnson suffered three blown saves on the O’s road trip, has nine on the year and has saved just four of his last 11 chances when trying to protect a one-run lead.
“I feel like I’ve actually made some pretty good pitches,” he said. “I’ve been working hard and hopefully things will work out in my favor. A little luck never hurts, but I’m still confident in what I do.
“As a pitcher, you control what you are thinking about and as much as to the ball leaving your hand. After it leaves your hand, it’s out of your control. If you do the right things, if you have the right conviction, I’ve said that many times, you have to have conviction in your pitches and then the execution of the pitch, that is all you can really do.
“I know what my strengths are as a pitcher. My strengths are pitching to contact. I’m not going to try and strike everybody out. That will put me in a worse situation. I need to trust the process of what I do and stay true to who I am.”
Johnson was asked if he wants the ball in a save situation tonight?
“Absolutely,” he said.
Johnson disputed the notions that his command has been off recently or that he needs a better mix of his pitches.
“Actually, I think my command the last couple of days that you are asking about has been pretty good,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a question of mixing it up as much. Earlier, it was a matter of location, I don’t think that is the issue. I’ve been making pretty good quality pitches, just haven’t seen the results.”
Johnson was asked about struggles against the first batter of an inning. Is he aware of the stats in that situation?
“I just heard about it the other day honestly. I guess I am now,” he said.