Josh Johnson in mid-season form and Kyle Lohse in 2008 form.
Florida’s Josh Johnson looked in mid-season form Thursday, retiring nine of ten St. Louis Cardinals hitters faced. He fanned the side in the first and added another K later. Twenty-three of his 34 pitches were strikes. The only hit allowed was a double by Cards rookie Allen Craig, mounting a legitimate bid to make the team as a reserve outfielder/infielder.
Kyle Lohse was not quite as impressive as Johnson, but still spun four shutout frames on just two hits for the Cardinals. He made 33 strikes on 44 pitches with two strikeouts and no walks. Lohse is looking to put an injury-plagued 2009 behind him and if healthy, should be a 2010 draft bargain.
It is worth noting that St. Louis was starting just three regulars. The lineup of the Fish included a mix of starters and kids, but at least Hanley Ramirez played. Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday remain sidelined for the Cards.
Marlins closer Leo Nunez was given a two-run lead in the ninth but imploded against the Cardinals batters mostly wearing #70s and #80s. In 2/3 of an inning, Nunez yielded five runs, four earned on four hits, one walk and one wild pitch. Ugly.