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Josh Johnson - April's NL Pitcher of the Month


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After an opening month in which he had historic success on the mound to help lead the Marlins to the top of the NL East standings, Josh Johnson was voted the National League Pitcher of the Month for April.


Johnson, the 6-foot-7 ace of the Marlins' staff, posted a 3-0 record and a Majors-low 0.88 ERA in his first six starts, all quality efforts. His 18 hits allowed were the fewest since 1900 by a pitcher with a minimum of 40 innings pitched before May 1.


Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, meanwhile, took home Player of the Month honors for the NL, leading the league in home runs (10) and runs scored (24) in the opening month of the season while reaching base in every game.


Johnson and Braun will receive engraved trophies for their monthly league honors, which are presented by Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball.


This is the second Pitcher of the Month honor for Johnson, who also earned the nod in June 2010. He is the fifth Marlins pitcher to win the award, and joins Dontrelle Willis as the only two-time winners.


Johnson wasted no time in getting in a good grove, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Mets in his second Opening Day start. He only got better after that, posting three outings of shutout ball over at least seven innings, including a one-hit effort of 7 1/3 innings against the Braves on April 13.


In his last four April starts, covering 28 1/3 innings, he allowed just one earned run. Thus far, Johnson has racked up 39 strikeouts and 11 walks while allowing opponents a .130 batting average -- leaving them duly impressed.


"You see his ERA, that's Bob Gibson stuff right there," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "He's pitching now more than just throwing. Before, he was more of a power guy. Now, he's a combination of power and finesse. That makes it doubly tough."


More at http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110503&content_id=18576088&vkey=news_fla&c_id=fla


Congrats to JJ. Definitely well deserved. And I get the sneaking suspicion that this season he'll become the first Marlins pitcher to win more than two Pitcher of the Month awards.

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