Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he didn't feel hamstrung by his relief options Monday night in the Orioles' 15-10 loss to the Red Sox.
Don't buy it. He was hamstrung, tendoned and ligamented by a beleaguered bullpen that was short on experience and rest.
Closer Kevin Gregg is serving a three-game suspension, and Koji Uehara had pitched three consecutive days. Veteran long man Mark Hendrickson also was unavailable after throwing three innings Sunday.
So five of the six pitchers Showalter used Monday (including starter Brad Bergesen) have pitched in the minors this year. The one who hasn't is Michael Gonzalez, who has a 5.82 ERA.
Showalter was in a tough spot with Johnson -- who was the Orioles' only legitimate closer option if the team had held a lead in the ninth. Showalter said he was attempting to stay away from Johnson but would have used him to close the game or to face Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth if there were two outs.
But it never came to that. Not in an eight-run eighth that started with a groundout before Michael Gonzalez loaded the bases on two walks and a single. With 2008 MVP Dustin Pedroia coming to the plate, Showalter was forced to bring in Mark Worrell, who was summoned from Triple-A Norfolk on Monday and hadn't pitched in the big leagues since 2008.
He could have used Johnson, but decided against it -- given the above.
And Worrell, who was Norfolk's closer, couldn't come through. He allowed Pedroia's two-run double, intentionally walked Gonzalez, then gave up a two-run single to Kevin Youkilis before being pulled.
"It's a tough spot, but [those are] spots I want to be in, and I feel like I need to succeed in that," Worrell said. "I wouldn't have it any other way. I need to pitch my way out of that. … All I want to do is do my part and help us win ballgames. I didn't do my part today, and it [stinks]."
Chris Jakubauskas came in and couldn't stop the bleeding, and by the end of the inning, eight runs had scored and the Orioles had wasted a good offensive night.