Jim Johnson’s third blown save in as many opportunities obviously was the main angle in Monday night’s 6-4 loss to the New York Yankees in 10 innings.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter – as he usually does in these kinds of sticky situations – tried to lift the blame off of his player that made the key mistake.
“I thought he threw the ball pretty well. He had one pitch,” Showalter said. “We had trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark. That's pretty much it. Not just Jimmy. He made some really good pitches.”
Johnson also thought he had thrown better Monday night than in his last two appearances, blown saves to the Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres.
“I thought so. I thought I made some pretty good pitches. Obviously, the home run pitch was not,” he said. “There were a couple other pitches I thought were pretty good pitches.”
Don’t for a minute think Johnson wasn’t putting this loss on his shoulders. He took blame – again – for all three blown-save losses in the six-game losing skid, the Orioles longest since last May/June.
“Well, three of them are my fault. The other guys do their job and I do mine, then we’re not standing here,” he said after the game. “I think everybody’s doing a great job. I’m just not pulling my weight. And I’ll figure it out. … I’ll figure it out, there's no other option.”
Johnson meant there’s no other option for him but to figure it out.
The burning question is whether there is another option to use in the Orioles’ next save situation besides Johnson.
Showalter said there was no question in his mind that he was going with Johnson for the save if the opportunity arose Monday. And he’s not changing that mentality the next time around.
"Come back tomorrow and watch it again,” Showalter said.