Johnson worked around a hit and one walk to notch his fifth save of the season Friday against the Phillies. Even though Johnson finished the job Friday, it wasn't exactly what he needed in order to hush the idea of losing his job as the team's closer. His 4.10 ERA and 1.37 are anything but impressive for a ninth-inning man, and with the Braves playing for nothing but pride, manager Brian Snitker doesn't need much reason to give 22-year-old Mauricio Cabrera a run at the job.
Johnson blew the save Tuesday against the Reds, giving up two runs on four hits over two-thirds of an inning. Anyone who has ridden the Jim Johnson-as-closer trainer in recent years realizes that this is par for the course. He's a pitch-to-contact reliever, and thus he's subject to the whims of balls in play more than your average closer. This outing could have been worse - the Reds had a runner thrown out on the bases and another caught stealing with Joey Votto at-bat. Meanwhile, Mauricio Cabrera pitched well in extra innings and drew praise afterward - Johnson might not have much role security.
Johnson walked one in 0.2 innings Sunday to pick up the win in a 1-0 victory over the Rockies. Chase d'Arnaud's walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Johnson his second win of the season. The fact that he was used to close out the top of the ninth is another strong indicator that he'll be used as the Braves' closer while Arodys Vizcaino (oblique) is out of action, as the team would not have been able to give him a lead to protect had the game gone into extra innings.
Johnson could take over as the Braves' closer for the time being with regular ninth-inning pitcher Arodys Vizcaino (oblique) expected to land on the disabled list, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Johnson received and converted a save opportunity last week when Vizcaino was out with an elbow injury, so he would be the favorite to take over the closer duties if it turns out Vizcaino does require a stint on the DL. Johnson would presumably serve as the closer until Vizcaino is ready to return, but he is a candidate to be traded prior to the August 1 deadline while playing for a Braves team that is far out of the playoff race.
Johnson worked around a hit to secure his second save of the season Sunday versus the White Sox. With regular closer Arodys Vizcaino (elbow) out of commission, Johnson was called upon to close out Sunday's narrow victory. The former is expected to be back by the end of the week after throwing a bullpen session Sunday, meaning Johnson should slide back into his setup role for the hapless Braves.