A year after Hanley Ramirez won a batting title, Josh Johnson will be the only Marlin to lay claim to a major statistical "title" with his 2.30 earned run average. Johnson can't be caught between now and the end of the regular season on Sunday.
"It's one of those (stats) people look at -- the wins and then the ERA," Johnson said. "To be ahead of the guys that are behind me, it's pretty crazy."
Johnson said he especially admires the Phillies' Roy Halladay, who is third in ERA at 2.44 (the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright sits in second with a 2.42 ERA) and piles up the innings like there's not a tired bone in his body. Halladay leads the majors with nine complete games -- more than any TEAM in the NL.
"You see Halladay, how many innings he has," Johnson said of Halladay, who leads the majors with 250 2/3. "Even when he's losing games, he's going seven, eight innings every time out. That's the guy you're just in awe of."
Typical of Johnson's season, he was the loser to Halladay in a game in which he did not allow an earned run. But Halladay emerged the winner in the 1-0 duel by throwing a perfect game. The Marlins bullpen lost seven leads that Johnson handed to them. There went seven potential victories.
"You think about it, but there's nothing you can do about it," Johnson said. "It seems like it happened in some weird times, like in Atlanta (on Aug. 29), where I'm saying 'We won this game.' And then, bam, it's gone. I don't sit there and go back and say, I should have won this one. No point in doing that now. It's over, done with."
NUNEZ SAVES HIS 30TH...Leo Nunez said he thanked manager Edwin Rodriguez after he tallied his 30th save in Thursday's victory over the Pirates. "I said to the manager, 'Thank you for the opportunity for 30 saves,'" Nunez said. Rodriguez said he wanted to see Nunez notch that milestone figure. "The plan was to let Nunez get his 30th save," Rodriguez said. Rodriguez said that Clay Hensley would return to the closer's role, however, for the remaining games.
CEDA RETURNS HOME....Reliever Jose Ceda returned to the Dominican Republic to be with his wife and witness the birth of their child. He is not expected back before Sunday's finale.