At a certain point you have to wonder when the Baltimore Orioles are going to start to question themselves during this losing streak which has now reached six games after last night’6-4 loss to NY. Jim Johnson blew his third straight save on Travis Hafner‘s ninth inning home run an NY took the lead in the tenth to secure the win on Vernon Wells‘ RBI-double followed by another Hafner moment, this time an RBI-single. Pedro Strop took the loss, however it’s Johnson blowing the save which people will remember. There were two things about Johnson’s outing that were positive. At the beginning and the end of the inning his stuff was pretty crisp, and he minimized the damage. In previously blown saves he’s allowed the tying and go-ahead runs.
The Orioles were tasked with beating possibly the best southpaw in the league in C.C. Sabathia. Obviously Sabathia was non-decisioned, however the O’s got to him. NY took a 1-0 lead early on Robinson Cano‘s solo home run in the first inning, followed by David Adams‘ solo shot in the second (his first big league home run). Aside from that, Orioles’ starter Freddy Garcia pitched very effectively. Garcia’s line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K. Garcia was lifted after throwing only 66 pitches, as manager Buck Showalter claimed that he was starting to be “not as crisp” in his last inning. While Troy Patton immediately came in and surrendered a home run to Lyle Overbay to break a 2-2 tie, the devision to lift Garcia didn’t really figure into the game’s ending.
Chris Davis continued to stay hot with his second inning solo home run which cut NY’s lead to 2-1. Nick Markakis also singled home Steve Pearce in the last of the fifth to tie the game at two. This game also featured two egregiously bad calls, both of which were made by first base umpire Eric Cooper, and both of which went against the Orioles. In the sixth Bret Gardener walked, and appeared to be picked off by Matt Wieters at first base, however he was ruled safe. In the last of the inning Matt Wieters his a deep grounder to third and appeared to beat the throw, but was ruled out. Showalter protested vehemently and at one point appeared set to be ejected from the game, but to no avail. It’s worth mentioning that neither of those plays affected the final outcome of the game, but from the Orioles’ standpoint that doesn’t mean that the nature of the call went unnoticed.
Alexi Casilla singled to start the seventh inning with the Orioles trailing 3-2, however Nick Marakkis’ RBI-double tied the game. Markakis would later score on an RBI-double by J.J. Hardy, and the Orioles had the lead. As for Jim Johnson, it’s tough to say what he’s thinking at this point. After the game Buck Showalter said he’s sticking with Johnson as his closer. That’s really all you can do, and in fact I would say that the next time the Orioles have a large lead going into the ninth inning they should consider putting Johnson in. Perhaps pitching without the pressure of a one-run game might help him to garner his confidence back up. The Orioles had a runner at third base in the eighth inning, so getting an insurance run would have been nice also. Showalter was quick to use the term “we” in his post game presser, indicating that it’s not all on Jim Johnson. You win and lose as a team, and that’s important to note. If someone doesn’t strike out here, or someone doesn’t pop out there, it might be a different game. It’s not all on Johnson.
The two blown calls illustrate how things go when you get on a cold streak like this. In no way should ANY Orioles fan think that there’s some sort of conspiracy to prop up the New York Yankees. I do feel that some teams get the benefit of the doubt a bit more than others, but I don’t think that the league is trying to make things easier for certain teams. (What I do think is that MLB needs to take a look at the calls their umpires are making and come down on umps that blow blatant calls, such as Eric Cooper last night). Miguel Gonzalez will return to the Orioles’ rotation tonight after being on the DL with a blister on his hand. That means that the Orioles will need to make a roster move before tonight’s game. I don’t know, but I would think that infielder Danny Valencia might be the guy sent back to Norfolk. While Sabathia wasn’t on his A-game last night, throughout this losing streak the Orioles have run into some pretty good pitching. Tonight they’ll see Phil Hughes, who’s struggled in his previous two starts.