No question about it. If the Orioles find themselves in a save opportunity tonight against the Yankees, Buck Showalter will hand the ball to Jim Johnson. “Come back tomorrow and watch it again,” Showalter told reporters after Johnson blew his third consecutive save in Monday’s 6-4 loss.
Is that really the move?
I’m not sure Showalter has another choice. You’ve got to have confidence in the guy that had 51 saves last season. Johnson’s problems are clear, he’s keeping the sinker up and struggling to hit his target behind home plate. The only way to fix it is to hand him the ball.
Besides, who would you want to take the ball in a save situation?
Brian Matusz has been the Orioles most solid reliever, but I question his mental makeup in such a critical role. Tommy Hunter seems to have found consistency, but can sometimes lose his command just as Johnson has of late. I wouldn’t mess with Darren O’Day in the setup role and that pretty much just leaves Pedro Strop.
That’s not happening.
It’s the right move for Showalter to keep his faith in Johnson. Sure, he’s been responsible for three of the team’s six straight losses, but his track record is long enough to keep running him out there. At least for the time being.