The Padres traded away James Shields for this? Erik Johnson continued his poor start to his San Diego Padres career Wednesday with another clunker, his third in as many starts for the Padres and in 5 starts this season hasn’t allowed less than 4 runs.
The Padres seemed to have a somewhat knee-jerk reaction to trade Shields after his 10 run allowance affair in Seattle and Ron Fowler’s comments, but it does seem they might have been able to find someone better than this.
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Johnson made it through 4 innings on Thursday, allowing 6 runs on 9 hits with 1 walk. He has allowed 7 home runs in his 3 starts, making even James Shields look like a more prolific long ball setter. The Padres lost to Baltimore 7-2.
Of course, the upside is that Johnson isn’t owed nearly as much money as Shields and is younger at just 26 years old. Surely it is far too early to declare Johnson a total bust, especially considering just how much Shields first three starts have been in Chicago.
Shields has lasted 2, 5, and 1 2/3 innings respectively, allowing 7, 6, and 8 runs respectively. That makes Johnsons line of 4 2/3, 6, 4 IP and 5, 5, 6 not look so bad. Shields has been admired for his innings durability, but all those innings might be catching up to him all at once and certainly these abbreviated starts put his 200 inning streak in jeopardy – not that at this point I doubt he really cares.
Assuming Johnson can right the ship to some degree and the Padres continue to see good starts from Colin Rea, Christian Friedrich and get Tyson Ross back healthy, their 2017 rotation doesn’t look so bad after all and considerably younger. Friedrich is 28 but has gone at least 6 innings in 4 of his last 5 starts and though he allowed 6 runs his last time out, has only allowed 14 total earned runs in his 7 starts on the season. Johnson might be a future fixture of the Padres rotation, but fans are hoping he can stop doing his James Shields home run watching impersonation sooner than later.