Closer Jim Johnson set another Orioles franchise record Friday, converting his 35th consecutive save in the regular season (14 this year, most in the American League). That dates back to July 27th last year against Oakland.
That’s a pretty impressive streak, eclipsing Randy Myers one of 34 straight saves in 1997. Johnson kicked Myers out of the club record book last year as well when he set a single-season franchise record with 51 saves in 2012.
You can make the argument that Johnson’s stability at the back of the bullpen may be the biggest key to the Orioles’ run the past year-plus. Because Johnson has been so reliable, he’s allowed the other relievers to be in fairly set roles.
"That's very important for our success. Jimmy has really been as solid as you can ask of anybody,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “Whether it's a three-run lead or a one-run lead, he's a guy who cares about doing the job for his teammates.”
But what’s most impressive about Johnson is that he just doesn’t care about the accolades, the steaks, the awards.
“It’s not really anything I’m focused on,” Johnson said. “It’s great, but our ultimate goal is our team record at the end of the year and going further than that. Personal achievements are always second.”
And that may be more important to the Orioles than what he brings to the mound. He’s about as no-nonsense as any Orioles player I’ve covered in the last decade.
“I'm just proud of the way he handles his success. Jimmy acts like it's the first save he's ever had,” Showalter said. “It's never a look-at-me mentality. It's look at our team. I'm proud of Jimmy, and I know his parents are.”