July 6, 2013
By: Dom Rosetti
The Orioles suffered another heartbreaking loss in Friday’s defeat to the Yankees, 3-2. The Orioles lead the whole game from the second to the eighth inning thanks to a two-run homerun by Matt Wieters and a great start from Miguel Gonzalez. It was his sixth straight quality start. The lead disappeared in the 9th inning.
With a one run lead we chose Jim Johnson to come in and close this one out. Well, he couldn’t. David Adams led off with a single. Then Brett Gardner reached on an error by Jim Johnson. Ichiro sacrificed himself by bunting the runners over. Cano was due up next and with first base open he was walked intentionally. So the bases were loaded with one out and Travis Hafner was up. A double play would end the game. Well Johnson walked Hafner on four straight pitches to walk in the tying run. Vernon Wells was up and with the count 2-2, he hit a single into left field and the Yankees won on a walk-off. It was Johnson’s sixth blown save on the year. Yes, he leads the majors with 29 saves, but also in blown saves with six. He also leads the team in losses with seven.
Maybe it is time to switch up the closer’s role for a little bit. Possibly until the All-Star Break. Those six blown saves could have been wins and the AL East race would be a lot different now. It would not be a bad idea to have Tommy Hunter or Darren O’Day come in to close the game out. If either has a good eighth, why not have them pitch the ninth?
If a big left-handed hitter is up next such as a David Ortiz or Robinson Cano, have Brian Matusz or Troy Patton come in. They could also come in if two or the next three due up or lefties.
The important thing the Orioles must do is win and do that by playing the matchups. I’m not saying have three different pitchers pitch the ninth because that would obviously tire the arms out. We just need to play it smart, but also cautiously when it comes to the ninth inning with a one, two, or three run lead.
Last night would have been a key win, but instead it was a painful loss.