Josh Johnson allowed one earned run while striking out 11 in 6 1/3 innings Thursday against the Rockies.

Florida is getting used to this type of quality outing from its 6-foot-7 righty, who has not allowed more than two runs in his past 13 starts.

While Ubaldo Jimenez and Roy Halladay got off to hot starts, it seems Johnson has emerged as the NL Cy Young front-runner.

But to say that Johnson is putting together an award-winning season would be selling the Marlins' ace short. He is having one of the best seasons of the modern era.

Since 1920, only four pitchers have finished with a lower ERA than Johnson's 1.61: Greg Maddux (1.56, 1994), Dwight Gooden (1.53, 1985), Bob Gibson (1.12, 1968) and Luis Tiant (1.60, 1968).

If Johnson can keep up his pace, he will have some new hardware and a season cemented among the greatest in baseball history.