Jim Johnson has now blown two consecutive saves after finishing off 35 straight in the regular season dating back to last July.
My take: No big deal.
Johnson is exceptionally reliable. But he isn’t perfect. It was a little disconcerting that he walked two in a row Saturday night, I’ll give you that, but it happens.
Johnson has been successful because he throws strikes and allows the defense behind him -- mainly the infielders -- to do its work. He gave up four singles in his blown save Tuesday. He gave up a homer, a double, two walks and a broken bat single Saturday.
As he said, they were completely different outings, completely different mistakes. The only similarity is that they happened consecutively and were both losses.
That’s worth noting. But not worthy of concern until he has a couple more outings in which he struggles with his command.
Give Jair Jurrjens a mulligan for his first big league start since last July. He gave up six hits, one walk and four earned runs in five innings. At one point he fanned four batters in a row.
So there were glimpses, enough to likely get him another start. Partially because most of the other candidates in the revolving rotation didn’t fare any better.
But here’s a note to Jurrjens and the other wannabe starters: The easiest way to stay with the Orioles right now is to throw strikes. This team needs innings out of its starters. And five innings isn’t good enough on a long-term basis.
The Orioles sent infielder Ryan Flaherty down to Norfolk after Saturday’s game. Just another in a continual spray of roster moves -- it was the club’s third on Saturday alone.
This one had to happen. Flaherty was batting just .133, so he wasn’t helping at all offensively. But more important he was starting to hear boos at home every time he made an out.
The guy is just 26; he is finding his way at the major league level. That’s difficult enough.
When he starts hearing it from his own fans -- and the fans pay hard-earned money and can voice their opinions, I get that -- I can only imagine how much pressure he was putting on himself to succeed. He’s an earnest, hard-working kid. His struggles weren’t a product of not taking his job seriously enough.
The way the Norfolk-Baltimore shuttle runs, we’ll see Flash back at Camden Yards this year. I’m pretty sure of that. Hopefully, he’ll have figured things out at the plate and will have silenced the boo birds.
The club didn’t announce a corresponding move for Flaherty. But Orioles manager Buck Showalter said earlier Saturday that he was content with the arms he had in the bullpen. So the replacement will be a hitter, and it’s likely Danny Valencia, who is tearing up Triple-A and didn’t play on Saturday for the Tides.
He’s a right-handed hitter with some pop and major league experience. He’s even played a little in the outfield this week for the first time in his career. He’ll get a shot, at the very least, to DH some.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun