Ever go to a restaurant where they have a fish tank with lobsters swimming around? The helpless creatures are just waiting for the inevitable pot of boiling water. They’re only in there for show and are going to be eaten eventually.

Batters facing Florida Marlins ace Josh Johnson this season can empathize with those helpless premium dinner entrees. They can slap, bunt, and swing all they want. They can extend the at-bat with foul balls. They can take their sweet old time going in and out of the box trying to break the pitcher’s momentum.

No matter what they do they can’t hit Josh Johnson.

Johnson has cooked batters this season to the tune of 130 strikeouts against 128 innings of work with a 1.62 ERA, and a 10 – 3 record on an average club. The Marlins are currently in the middle of the pack in the NL with a 45-47 record, 9.0 games back in the N.L. East. Additionally the Marlins have one of the worst defensive units in baseball. With 72 errors thus far, they only trail the Nationals (77).

Whether it’s a 96 mph fastball, a vicious slider, or a sinking change-up, players aren’t going to touch first base often and rarely, if ever, cross home plate when JJ is pitching.

In his 19 starts this season he has given up more than two runs a mere three times. Three! The most runs he gave up all season was four, and that was in the season opener against the Mets in April.

Johnson is gaining steam towards his first Cy Young. The Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez has been struggling of late.

His case will only strengthen if the Marlins turn it out around in the second half and close in on the division. Regardless, he is having one of the best seasons in recent history.

Johnson’s 2010 season has a chance to go down as one of the best of the decade for a starting pitcher.

Pedro Martinez’s 2000 season, when he went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA and 284 strikeouts, comes to mind, as does Randy Johnson in 02′, when he went 24-5 with a 2.32 ERA and an amazing 334 strikeouts.

To say that Johnson’s year thus far isn’t on par with those legendary marks in baseball history is blasphemy.

Johnson is easily among the top three pitchers in all of baseball, and arguably the best. The fact that he’s still just 26 years old just isn’t right. The guy is going to get even better.

Terrifying, I know.

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