Josh Johnson quietly moves past Ubaldo Jimenez as the first half's top pitcher

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Ubaldo Jimenez dominated the early season headlines, and rightfully so, but three straight poor starts have bumped his ERA from 1.15 to 2.27 and now Josh Johnson is the only starter in baseball with a sub-2.00 mark.
Johnson still can’t compete with Jimenez’s attention-grabbing win total, but after shutting out the Dodgers for eight innings yesterday he’s now 9-3 with a 1.70 ERA, .203 opponents’ batting average, and 123/28 K/BB ratio in 122 innings.
He’s reeled off 16 straight Quality Starts and has allowed just seven earned runs in his last 79 innings for a 0.80 ERA. And last night Johnson improved to 33-0 in his career when the Marlins’ lineup provides him with at least four runs of support.
My guess is that Jimenez will get the starting nod for the National League in the All-Star game because of his MLB-leading 14 wins and incredible amount of early attention, but Johnson has been the best pitcher in baseball this season and may be the most underrated ace in the game. Since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery in mid-2008 he’s 31-9 with a 2.86 ERA in 418.1 innings.

Jon Niese leaves start with knee pain

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Mets starter Jon Niese left his start Tuesday night against the Cardinals due to left knee pain.

Niese walked two and gave up an RBI single before leaving with a trainer with one out in the bottom of the first inning. He was eventually charged with three earned runs. Robert Gsellman, just up from Las Vegas, took over, making his major league debut under unexpected circumstances.

Niese, who has not pitched well at all since coming over in a trade with the Pirates, is likely to be placed on the disabled list after the game or before tomorrow’s game.

Mark Trumbo’s home run streak ends

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 11:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles hits an RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 11, 2016 in Oakland, California. The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-6. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Mark Trumbo still has many chances to hit a home run tonight — it’s only been an inning or so in the Nats-Orioles game — but his weird home run streak is over.

Coming into tonight’s game, Trumbo’s last seven hits had been homers. The all-time record had been 11, set by Mark McGwire back in 2001. The last time Trumbo got a hit that wasn’t a dong was back on August 11. Later in that game, however, he hit a grand slam. After that he went 6 for his next 34, with all those safeties dingers.

But that’s over now. In the first inning tonight he drove in a run with a two-out single. Then he was thrown out trying to stretch it to two. Good job on the RBIs, Mark. Bad job on the base running. Judgment withheld on the homer streak because, really, that’s just kind of weird and cool.