Found August 16, 2013 on isportsweb.com:
PLAYERS: Jim Johnson
TEAMS: Baltimore Orioles
After blowing just three saves in 54 save opportunities last season, Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson has blown nine saves in 2013, including his last three. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume / Getty Images) The Baltimore Orioles had the opportunity to collect some wins on their latest West Coast trip. The O’s won four of five games between a two-game series in San Diego and a three-game series against San Francisco, but when the team traveled to Arizona the road trip came to a disappointing conclusion. The Orioles led the D-backs heading into the 7th inning in all three games of the series and in the final two games, it was Jim Johnson, the Orioles closer, who blew the save (Johnson also blew the save in the first game of the San Francisco series). These were blown saves #7, #8 and #9 on the season for Johnson, who blew just three saves all of last season — now he’s blown three in a week, for the second time this season (he failed to convert saves on May 14, 18 and 20). Though Johnson till leads the majors in saves (39), you couldn’t blame Orioles fans, players or coaches if they were a little concerned when Johnson entered a game with a small lead. Opponents are batting .271 off Johnson this season and his 3.52 ERA is the highest of the 13 closers ranked 1-12 in terms of saves. So, what can manager Buck Showalter do about Jim Johnson? More of the same; do nothing and keep Johnson as the team’s closer: Showalter has been loyal to Johnson and after earning the Rolaids Relief Man Award last season who can blame him. In 2012 Johnson was almost a guaranteed save when he entered games. From Aug. through Oct. in the regular season, Johnson allowed just one earned run. But in Game 1 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees, he was rocked for four earned runs including a homer and that seemed to be a change in the winds in terms of confidence. So maybe Showalter sticks with him and Johnson figures it out as the team enters the last month and a half of the regular season. Earlier today Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair took a personal leave of absence, so maybe Bill Castro, the Oriole bullpen coach and fill-in for Adair, can work out some of Johnson’s issues. Use Francisco Rodriguez:  Francisco Rodriguez set a MLB record 62 saves in 2008, will the Baltimore Orioles call on him to return to the role of closer? (Photo credit: Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports) On July 23 the O’s acquired Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers and one reason for doing so may have been as a back-up plan for Johnson. Rodriguez has oodles of closer experience — he collected save #300 earlier this season. This season between Milwaukee and Baltimore (34 games), Rodriguez has a 1.87 ERA. Opponents are batting just .195 against him and he has converted all 10 of his save opportunities. Use someone else: The Orioles have other relievers that have shined when the team has needed them to. Tommy Hunter and Darren O’Day, both former Texas Rangers, have been steady figures in the bullpen. O’Day, a submarine-style pitcher who has been lights out since coming to Baltimore, has a team low 2.45 ERA this season. He has converted two of his four save opportunities and opponents are batting .219 against him. Hunter, a former starter turned reliever, has a better opponent average (.209) and WHIP (0.93) than O’Day (.219/1.03) and Johnson (.271/1.34) in 65.1 innings pitched (compared to O’Day’s 51.1 and Johnson’s 53.2). Hunter has a 2.76 ERA this year and has converted three of his five save opportunities. Both are right handed pitchers who have been two consistent performers all season. Perhaps they could carry over that consistency into the role of closer. Acquire someone through trade waivers: While the Orioles have a few internal options, there are trades that can still be made post trade deadline. The players traded must first clear waivers before a trade could be made but it is possible the O’s could make a move for another reliever. Who they would look at and who they could acquire are two different questions and it’s unclear whether they’re looking to make more transactions. Chime in: What do you think is the best option? Or is there another route you’d take?
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Orioles pitching coach Adair on leave of absence

Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons, with no timetable for his return. No specific reason was given for Adair's departure. He has been Baltimore's pitching coach since June 14, 2011. Manager Buck Showalter says, ''It has nothing to do with job Rick's doing. Rick's doing a good job.'' Bullpen coach...

Francisco Rodriguez suffers groin injury

The Baltimore Orioles suffered another loss on Friday night when reliever Francisco Rodriguez left the Orioles game against the Colorado Rockies in the eighth inning with a right groin strain. As reported by Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Rodriguez appeared to injure his right groin while warming up, but entered the game in the seventh inning and retired the final two batters...

O's pitching coach takes leave

Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons, with no timetable for his return. No specific reason was given for Adair's departure. He has been Baltimore's pitching coach since June 14, 2011. Manager Buck Showalter says, ''It has nothing to do with job Rick's doing. Rick's doing a good job.'' Bullpen coach...

Orioles to support BARCS Animal Shelter with autograph signing, calendar sale and "Pawz ...

The Orioles have supported the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), a non-profit shelter that accepts and cares for all animals in need and promotes responsible pet ownership for a more humane community in Baltimore City, through pet calendar sales and player appearances at the shelter over the last several years, raising close to $100,000 for the organization through...

This week was pivotal for the Orioles...

Are we at the DEFCON 5 stage of the season for the Baltimore Orioles? No. However, based on what I have seen and read online, listened to on the radio and TV – maybe. They went 4-4 on a crucial road trip to San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix. While the trip started off well for the Orioles, it quickly unraveled as closer Jim Johnson blew three straight saves against...

Orioles use 7-run 3rd to beat Rockies 8-4

The Baltimore Orioles had gone nearly a week without a victory, a stretch that included three one-run defeats in Arizona and a lopsided loss to Colorado at home. So, when they finally got to add another digit to their win total, the Orioles didn't really care if the outcome was influenced by their opponent's mistakes. Brian Roberts and Manny Machado both hit two-run doubles...

Orioles 8, Rockies 4

The Baltimore Orioles had gone nearly a week without a victory, a stretch that included three one-run defeats in Arizona and a lopsided loss to Colorado at home. So, when they finally got to add another digit to their win total, the Orioles didn't really care if the outcome was influenced by their opponent's mistakes. Brian Roberts and Manny Machado both hit two-run doubles...

Orioles bust out of slump with 8-4 win over the Rockies

Orioles manager Buck Showalter spent several minutes during his pre-game news conference Saturday afternoon talking about how his offense was seemingly close to breaking out and may sometime soon finally take advantage of the scoring opportunities it kept squandering. That time came in the third inning of Saturday’s 8-4 bashing of the Colorado Rockies before an announced crowd...

Rockies-Orioles Preview

The Baltimore Orioles return home from a painful series in the desert with Jim Johnson's job possibly in jeopardy. Buck Showalter, however, isn't about to make any wholesale changes and plans to stick with his beleaguered closer. The Orioles try to put a disappointing stretch behind them Friday night when they open a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies. Baltimore...
Orioles News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.