« Hernandez evolving | Main | Orioles: Jones and the silver lining »

August 27, 2009

Are you kidding me?

Jim Johnson gets the first two outs of the ninth inning and then comes apart, giving up a ground ball single to Matt LaPorte and a two-run homer to No. 9 hitter Andy Marte. That kind of thing happens once in awhile, of course, but it has a much better chance of happening when you fall behind 3-0 to the last guy in the lineup and have to challenge him because you don't want the tying run moving up with Grady Sizemore on deck.

Painful collapses have become a habit for the Orioles, and this one was another illustration of something that's been obvious for months. These guys just don't know how to win, because none of them ever have.

Of course, you can also back up an inning and replay a couple of at-bats in which Danys Baez looked unhittable until he had two strikes on the Indians hitter, then -- inexplicably -- split the middle of the plate belt-high to give up an important run.

This is hard to watch.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 9:58 PM | | Comments (108)
Categories: Just baseball


"This is hard to watch" is the understatement of the decade... Wait, make that nearly 12 years.

Watching the bottom of the 9th it's not hard to figure out why Baltimore fans have embraced Reimold and are starting to do the same with Felix Pie.

What hustle. And desire to win.

Now if we could get some more guys to play like them.

Get pissed O's fans this one was just ridiculous.

better players

come on. didn't anyone see that coming?

interesting to see how long it will take anyone to blame the manager and third base coach for this one....

Despite the loss some of the players like Pie and Reimold showed heart and hustle and willing to do anything to help the club win. Maybe the hustle of those 2 will rub off on some of the other players (even though normally it is the veterans who are supposed to do this). I know this has become a cliche, but there seem to be more positives in the Orioles losses recently

All right if you look at the schedule we have nothing but playoff teams coming up so we need to win these easier series against the Indians and Blue Jays. If we cant even do that properly at home maybe some shakeups need to start a bit earlier this is just crazy.


It happens to the best of them. I thought Baez and Johnson threw the ball pretty well. Give the Indians hitters some credit.

Great to see Pie hustle and run the bases like a champ. Great to see Trembley fist-bumping him at the end of the game.

That check swing rule is such BS. Every umpire has his own interpretation of it. Cakes' intent wasn't to swing at that ball. The O's where just a victim of circumstance.

Pete's reply: I would have called it a strike. Markakis watched the one hittable pitch in the at-bat and put himself in that situation. Wood got two guys with that pitch...I disagree on Baez. He's got good stuff, but you can't say he pitched great (as Trembley did) when he grooves an 0-2 fastball right through the middle of the cube.

And this is how you lose 100 games.
And this team has remained relatively healthy all year. Imagine if markakis or roberts were out for any length of time?

Back to the booth...Buck, what did Felix do wrong tonite?

You hit the nail on the head Pete - they don't know how to win because they never have. And I would say that, because no one expects them to win, there's no real negative consequence in losing. They need one or two vets with track records to come in and change the culture.

Pete's reply: Even bad teams generally win 90 percent of games they are leading in the eighth inning. I don't usually second-guess the bullpen blueprint, but I'm going to agree with the posters that think DT could have left Chris Ray in for another batter or two and reduce the variability of a parade of relievers. If you've got the Oakland A's bullpen of 1998-90, you can trot three guys out there in a row and assume they'll all get it done. When you've got the O's bullpen, that's not a fair assumption so maybe you keep the seventh-inning guy in there a little longer if he's throwing well.

Pete, nobody answered your question.
Answer: Nope.

I agree with djph. Even with the loss it was uplifting to see Pie and Riemold's play. Our veterans have been jogging out routine ground balls like that all year, but Pie and Reimold both run their infield singles out like it's the 7th game of the World Series (Reimold on a bad achilles). Pie taking third on the second hit was even better- it seemed like he was trying to win this game for the Os through sheer willpower.

It was also telling to see Pie's face after Markakis struck out. It's good to see some disappointment after a tight loss like that, some evidence of desire to win. (after years of seeing our vets habitually just walk off the field after the loss without any apparent feeling at all).

Still a tough loss, but I guess you have to find your bright spots where you can...


It was me who wrote the post starting with ... "It happens to the best of them. I thought Baez and Johnson ..." and not djph. Tell them yahoos editing your blog to get it right.

Pete's reply: Sorry, that was me. I'm the yahoo. Nobody else edits my blog. You left your name off the first one and I didn't see that and deleted the second one, then whiffed on the name. I'll fix it.

Pete: I too couldn't believe it when Markakis took a strike. He needs stop looking for walks and start being more aggressive at the plate.

Yeah Slugger that was weird. I read that post a couple of times, and thought to myself, did I write that!

Even did something usually reserved by my wife and Pete: questioning my sanity. LOL.

this year is not about winning games(obviously). it's about getting the young guys some experience. Right now, they are experiencing losing at it's best.
Tonight, specifically. Johnson learned how not to close out a game against the bottom of the order. And tonite DT learned, as if he needed another lesson, that on most nights for this team, their best is just not good enough. You have your best reliever in the game and he gets beat by the 9. You have your best hitter up in a crucial situation and he whiffs. C'es la vie.


You're right about Baez. He actually just admitted the same thing you said to Amber on MASN. He took full responsibility for it. I like Baez. He is a class act. You like to see players recognizing mistakes and accepting responsibility. Felix did the same thing yesterday. I know it does not change the outcome of the game, but I actually liked the hustle tonight. Just a couple of wrinkles to get worked out and we can win these types of games in the future.

37 DAYS!

A leader is a dealer in hope.
-Napoleon Bonaparte

Totally Putrid...this stuff only happens to horseshi- teams.
As much as I hate the you see Rivera doing this?
Good luck finding a closer when this crew suddenly wakes up on February 1, 2010 & becomes THE BEAST OF THE EAST...that is when we are expected to have our 15 year plan come to fruition isn't it?
Jim "Homerun" Johnson couldn't close a door!

Hey Pete,

The next collective bargaining agreement needs to make games 14 innings of 2 outs each and strikeouts are at 2 strikes. Every 2 strike pitch, every 2 out at bat, every late inning is a summary of the season. Close, but not quite there.

ummmmm check the Whos to Blame poll in the Orioles section in the last couple hours Talent level went from like like 15 votes to 3868 LOL

Talent level. The Orioles just don't have strong base runners. (3868 responses)

Did DT stack this thing?

I hate to say "I told you so", but a few weeks ago I was telling people that the Sherrill trade was a colossal disaster and that the O's will need to look for another closer next year.

Nats win series in Cubbieville.........come on down and watch our Nats folks...At least we have an ownership thats TRYING to field a good team...only thing O's got going is the food is look at PeterS will confirm that fact.

Pete's reply: I think the food is better in Washington.

This is pretty sad when fans start seeing "something uplifting" about losing games by a run. "Atta boy, get 'em next time", works in the LITTLE LEAGUE.
Sorry, this is PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL, where it's all about winning.

Did the Orioles claim Trevor Hoffman????! LOL jk

Johnson really appears to be more of a setup guy than a closer. He seems to freeze up in save situations. Perhaps he's having trouble with the pressure. But I believe his ratio of saves/blown saves is below .500.

No Charles, the Orioles don't need to look for another closer next year. Johnson will be fine. You had a new closer and a rookie catcher and they combined to screw it up. They'll learn from their mistakes.

S. Johnson and Bell are both doing well on the farm and Bell looks like he could be up here next year. So no, the Sherrill trade was not a colossal disaster.

And Pie going to third in the ninth, a pretty astute baseball play, wasn't it?

The O's don't know how to win.

You'd figure by now the fans would know how to watch them not win. Must be the new guys complaining. Suck it up and no griping. This is Orioles baseball! You'll be calloused and expect nothing but bleakness in no time.


Well, I'll be sold on Johnson when his save/blown save ratio exceeds 85%.

You're right in one respect. You can't really assess a trade until about 2 years have passed. Josh Bell is doing fabulous at Bowie, but remember, that's AA ball. If he becomes a solid starter at 3B AND Johnson gets his act together, then yes, I'll consider this trade a success.


The Rough Rider giant rib at Natinals Park gives anything at Camden Yards a run man.

i have watched a lot of games and it never seems to fail. the 9th inning get two outs whiz bang.then comes the weak hitter base hit or the one that blows the wind out of the sails. what is the percentage that no matter who the pitcher is. how much is he nibbling thinking or hoping i'll get the batter on a sucker pitch.i would think that the pitcher who sends the message to the batter here is my best pitch beat me with it, will wind up saving more games that the pitcher who stands out there on the mound and nibbles.

Nationals Park can't really be compared to Camden Yards, however I like the ice cream better at the Nats stadium.

This ridiculous- I give up- No more baseball for me.12 years of this BS is enough.

These guys are terrible.They should move the entire franchise to AAA. Johnson should be docked pay as should "no clutch" Markakis who almost always doesn't put the bat on the ball when it counts. But wait- tomorrow he'll hit a double when we're way behind and no one is one base.


Nats park looks cheap and rushed but try the Rough Rider giant rib at the BBQ spot by the video batting cages. Its money in the bank bro lol. Just dont go to Adams Morgan or anything after eating one...

Johnson had saved five in a row and is now six for ten overall.

Ten opportunities, you are not seriously going to write him off after ten tries, are you? Just like the other young pitchers, he will need time to learn and adjust to his new role. I will admit I am a bit concerned with his habit of giving up homeruns, seven this year, after giving up none last year. That will have to be addressed.

Yeah, Bell and S. Johnson are in AA ball, doing well, Steve got his first win the other day, and both look like players. Remember, Tillman and Matusz did a lot of damage in AA ball, before moving to Norfolk or all the way here. You have to perform on the farm first.

I will consider the trade a success if Bell becomes a starter and consistent player at third. Sherrill was expendable because of his age and the depth of young arms the Orioles have. Who is betting against Chris Ray taking back the closer's role in a year or two? Steve Johnson will be icing on the cake.

I remember when the O's were winners. Seriously......they were......even though they play in the AL east.......They even outspent the Yankees before ( I know they didnt win that year, but they were competitive) and if it was done before it could be done again.!!! Right ?

this team lacks both the will and inclination to win. Its more profitable to keep payroll down and stink than to field a competitive team that costs too much, lol, people still beLIEve the crap from the warehouse. We've got a "plan" this time though.BWAHAHAHAHAHA

The more things change.........

I know it's really hard to look on the bright side after such a disappointing loss.

But there were some positives tonight.

David Hernandez pitched well. Chris Ray looks like he's back.
Matt Wieters homered. Mora got three hits.

The Orioles may not be able to win in the AL east, but at least they can compete.

The "guys just don't know how to win, because none of them ever have" arguement means they never will win.

The young players won at every level until they come to the Orioles. Winning is a combination of talent, circumstance, management and other variables. The Orioles lack of success is a combination of all of them, just as winning would be.

I completely agree with Juan Samuel's assessment of the Baltimore baseball club's deplorable base running. I have felt for many years that one of the problems with major league baseball is that there are too many teams, which allows too many AAA players to play at the major league level.

Woody what on earth are you saying man?!

The Orioles may not be able to win in the AL east, but at least they can compete.

For what man dead last? Draft picks? lowest payroll? Get it together!

As I recall, Johnson didn't allow a HR all last year, and now he's been lit up quite a few times this year (and often by weak HR hitters).

What's changed, Pete?

Pete's reply: Probably wasn't as good as that last year, and now seems more prone to the HR than he probably really is because the spotlight is on him in the closer role. He'll be okay.

Perhaps O's should re-hire Flanagan to show these guys the little things needed to get the important outs. With the money Angelos and MacPhail pissed away with Uehara,etc.,etc ,they certainly should be able to afford a reasonable salary to get valuable insight from a former Cy Young and World Champion.If nothing else,he could justify his salary by being a mentor to Matusz ,Guthrie,Tillman,etc.Flanagan is an important resource that's not being used.

Paul Selnick

I think Flanagan never fully left he just has another role. Angelos loves him


While we root for different teams in both College and the Pros, I'm sure like me, actual football games can't get here soon enough.

Don't know what 2010 brings for the O's, if AM doesn't work a considerable amount of magic it could be ANOTHER LONG season. We need a closer, 1B, 3B and DH to go with a front line pitcher. I've never been too big a fan of the King of Swing, but he seems to be developing Pie quite nicely.
As some other posters noted, the fans want to see hustle and desire much more than sheer athletic ability. He is earning my respect. Maybe Nolan can play first base? I think Wigginton and Scott are serviceable spare parts but NOT everyday players.

Anyway, less than two weeks to our favorite football teams take the field!

Pete's reply: I agree, but I'm still interested in watching these young pitchers.

I was never in favor of the Sherrill trade because I don't think the age of a closer, should be a factor in trading a guy. I've seen too many guys in their late, late 30's, still be effective closers. George, had the mentality to be a closer. I am not giving up on JJ, but way, way, way before the trade, I didn't think JJ, had the makeup to be a closer.

I know the O's are rebuilding, but I still believe that without a legit closer, blowing late leads in close games will make younger pitchers think they have to be perfect and change the way they pitch. I still believe that Koji, could go 1-2-3 without breaking a sweat because whether fans want to admit or not, the guy has great stuff, but not endurance.

The double that Luke hit, did anyone other than Jim Hunter, think that was a no doubt about it HR? I sure as hell didn't, but Hunter called HR before that ball even made it to the wall.

Fire Hunter, DT, Juan, Wiggy and those two girls on MASN that want to hook up with the Oriole Bird!!!!

I'm as disappointed as everyone else with this loss. However, Jim Johnson has the best stuff of the entire staff. Should be a starter not reliever. 96 mph fastball and 94 mph sinker.

I actually didn't see tonight. I did see the collapse against Boston the day after the comeback against Boston earlier this year, as well as that loss to Minnesota the other day. And I agree that this team's late-season form is troubling.

But what is more troubling is the complete delusion of thinking any win validates McPhail or any loss proves him a fraud. And I'm personally disappointed that you, Pete, have let your fandom (which I am OK with in and of itself) ruin your better judgement and insisting one bad loss, or even a season full of them, indicates none of these players know how to win because none of them ever have.

Yes, there is something to be said for a learning curve on MLB. So there is for minors vs. college, or college vs. high school. I highly doubt if any of these players would've ever made it here without figuring out how to win somewhere, or at least being around people who knew. Did Jim Johnson not know how to win last weekend when he got a 4-out save in chicago, something even Sherrill had plenty of difficulty doing (I can't recall him doing it, to be honest).

This is a bad team. I won't argue that. But this is a much better organization than it was two years ago. And the only reason people are this vitriolic toward McPhail is because they are holding him not only responsible for the previous 2 years, but the 10 before that.

Any comprehensive rebuilding project requires time to get the bulk of your prospects through the system, which is usually at least four years. When you are truly ready to compete, i.e. not pitching with a rotation of four rookies that is doing REMARKABLY WELL despite it's in experience, then you go out and spend the money on a couple key free agents who "know how to win." Or stick with the guys you have and figure, this is baseball, if we believe in their talent, the averages say they figure this out eventually.

Everyone said the Rays, Tigers and Phillies didn't know how to win. They stuck with their plans through some really rough times, and then all of the sudden they did. The situation is worse here, because, like i said, there is a tendency to look at the whole of the 12 years, instead of just 2 under our current regime. This losing is going to hurt, and it isn't going to end tomorrow. But remember, reactionary, poor buys are how we got to needing to rebuild in the first place, not trying to build a minor league system and develop our own talent.

Pete's reply: I wasn't basing that opinion on one bad loss or a few. I based it on the past few years and the histories of some of the veteran players. I believe a couple of marquee veterans with a winning attitude would help complete this team. Otherwise, they'll have to learn to win themselves, which will happen if the starting pitchers perform well, but might take longer without an infusion of additional talent and experience.

Hunter is terrible but i dont blame him I blame MASN for putting him on and not only him but the whole network being weak. This rounding the bases thing they have been doing is horrible. I dont care about some scout that signed cla meridith or wiggys dad lol

Just a pointless rant to get the steam out: a loss so terrible the only response is to laugh. I was listening to game driving home, missed first two outs of 9th but got to TV to see Johnson facing what I assumed would be the last hitter. The count was O-2. I thought, well, it's meaningless but still it's a nice mercy from God or Whomever when the locals cop a W . Inside of two minutes, I was cursing both God and Whomever , but not as much as this posse of inept clown. Where's Roy Hobbs when you need him? We are truly in the wasteland.

did i smell a flanagan fan? an unused resource? for the sake of this organization, it'd be best that he stays as far away from the organization as possible. Buffalo might be too close...

This Orioles team will finish the season with just as many losses as last year's team, but there is a difference. This team is not totally overmatched in its losses. It is just coming up a little short. Isn't that a sign of progress?

Mark, I agree with you man, as the rounding the bases segments, suck! I am OK with it when they talk to a top prospect's mom or dad, when they just got called up, but when they dig deep to find scouts for so-so players or in the case of Wiggy's dad, a man who they couldn't get off the phone when the inning was over, is crazy.

I don't know how much MASN generates, but as much as I hate to say this (and I do), the quality is so inferior compared the YES Network and NESN, it's not even funny.

No offense to Roch, but every time that he makes an appearance with Amber, he uses the same joke about it being cold and can he borrow her jacket. I've heard it at least 6 times. I would love for Amber to reply, haven't heard that before, but Dave and Juan, would probably throw her under the bus.

AM's PLAN is to lose for a few years so the players are just executing the PLAN. Besides low expectations in general, the "genius" gives away the closer and clean-up hitter for nothing, decides to essentially shut down the starters because they're approaching 130 innings this year, and never utters a word to demand the maximum from the players. The fans who believe so strongly in AM will at least hopefully acknowledge that everything about the PLAN is the future, the future, the future, and never about now. Don't hang it on the players. They're far above average in talent who are suffering from a total lack of demanding leadership.

I disliked Sherrill, now I see Johnson as a "SHerill Clone", can't get up for an inning unless I've got runners on. I can see I'll dislike Johnson just as much , maybe even more. Starters don't have a chance, once bumblin TRembley makesthe walk to bring in the hopeless bullpen, it's over. Convert the name to "Chicken Coupe", much more fitting.

Another simply awful LOSE in front of the home crowd!

No offense to Roch, but every time that he makes an appearance with Amber, he uses the same joke about it being cold and can he borrow her jacket. I've heard it at least 6 times. I would love for Amber to reply, haven't heard that before, but Dave and Juan, would probably throw her under the bus.
Hey dude, I said it once in NY during the last series at Yankee Stadium because it was freezing. At the most, maybe once at Camden Yards, though I don't recall. At least six times? Really? I'm calling bullsh*t on that one.
We don't teach math at School of Roch, but you definitely need some tutoring.
Hey Schmucker, how's the Achilles? We miss ya around the Yard.

Pete's reply: I really am slow on my feet right now, Rocco, because you got to that post long before I did.

good thoughts. As Vince Lombardi used to say, winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

The losing is a direct result of having no veteran leadership at winning in any area, even with the coaches. The team on the field today is what it is, can't change that now. Next year will be no different! How in the world would you get veterans who kow how to win come to this ball club??
Why is Chris Ray not the closer and JJ the late inning guy?
Biggest area of weakness for Trembely is he sticks with a game plan from 3 p.m. the day of a game until the game is over. He needs to use his coaching instincts a little more and adjust as the game progresses.

It seems to me that it's Mickolio who looks like the closer of the future. That guy has nasty stuff!

I disagree about Markakis needing to be more aggressive at the plate. If anything, he has been too aggressive, swinging at a lot of first pitches. What he needs to do is be more selective, and quit swinging at pitcher's pitches and pitches out of the strike zone. If he had the same patience and knowledge of the strike zone as Reimold, he'd be a tremendous hitter.

Folks the O's have not known how to win for over a decade. Why does it still surprise? We suck, plain and simple. The future is also not so bright.

Geesh. Had to let this one sink in.
Jim Johnson is a nice pitcher but basically has one out pitch, that nasty slider that breaks down and in to a rightie. But the Indians looked for it and just kept beating it foul. Thats alot easier than fouling off an outside sinker. Jim needs to throw that pitch away or develop another outstanding pitch(changeup)
And here I go again.
Neither Cleveland home run is a homer in Memorial Stadium.
Grady hit it about 380 to power ally(Memorial was 390ft) And our joke left field continues to eat fly balls for homers. Its ridiculous. I would never ever pitch here. You need to give the pitcher something!
My biggest beef is why Reimold was not playing deeper. He has to be at the wall in that tiny left field. That ball was easily catchable. Hell it would have bounced off the wall if it did not go over. He simply was not in position to make a play. Fault? His and coaches. PLEASE...NO MORE BALLS OVER YOUR HEAD THAT KILL GAMES. Stupid baseball.

Making one bad pitch and knowing how to win are two different things. The O's don't give up and fought back in the bottom of the 9th. It's execution, not "not knowing how to win."

Hard to believe at the All Start Break that this team was losing 100 games.

But it's happening. Mark it down.

Might be a horse race, but Toronto at the end will close that out.

Ted, maybe Reimold could have been playing deeper, but that ball was NOT catchable. Sorry.

And I don't agree with the critics of Jim Hunter. I think he does a pretty good job. Just wish he'd stop saying "inning over" when the visiting team is retired; but this is something most announcers are now saying, even though it's an absurdity. But people calling Hunter a "homer" should listen to the home broadcasts of some other teams around the country and they might realize he's not so bad.

On the "throwing Pie under the bus" thread of the last couple of days, people may be making too big a deal of what the coaching staff says. To me the only important thing is are the manager and coaches getting the best on the field out of the talent they have. To date Trembley and staff have failed in this regard, but there have been some signs of improvement recently. Too little, too late though IMHO.

This is becoming routine. How many games have the O's lost bringing a lead into the 8th or 9th inning this season?
Good teams find ways to win, bad teams find ways to lose, this is still a bad team.
I turned the radio off in disgust after the homer last night, but got over it pretty quickly, after all I've had a lot of practice getting over heart breaking losses.
We have all written a lot about the O's culture of losing this season, the question is what to do to turn it around.
I think we need at least a new manager, at least one veteran pitcher from a winning team, and at least one big veteran bat. Will that be enough, who knows? Will AM even be able to find those pieces? Time will tell fans.

Couple of bullpen questions..
First, do you think we should use Ray as our closer rather than JJ? He's done the job before and maybe JJ is better suited to a set-up role; why not throw Ray into a few save situations?
Does Cla Merdith fit beyond this year? I think hitters usually figure out the submariners so I don't he has a future. Trembley hasn't used him in too many key situations so maybe the writing is already on the wall.

Sherrill clone? That is crazy talk. Sherrill a crafty lefty and Johnson a power right hander. I have not been a supporter of the Sherrill trade, but Johnson made one mistake, really the sky is not falling because of one BS.

I went to the game and left with two outs in the top of the ninth. On the way out via Eutaw St. I stopped at a concession stand to watch the two out single and I started to get that bad feeling that comes when you know something awful is about to happen.

As I have said before, I have tried to keep myself from getting worked up over these games, because I think we all realize that this is the way the team is going to play for the rest of the year.

Everything that could be said about last night has already been eloquently stated by Pete and his blog posters.


I totally agree with you on this club NOT knowing how to win. Managing a baseball team for more than 20 years, it is a learned event, not something that just happens. My driving method was to have the team play like we were always 1 run down. I'm sure as we approach 100 losses concentration will be even harder.

I would also say that DT's lineups probably are NOT doing much to instill confidence in some players that the O's are trying. I say that in that Matt Wieters sits every 3rd game for a .200 hitter while 35 year old catchers like Pudge or Varitek catch everyday. Also one night 1B Aubrey a great fielder DH's while a slumping Luke Scott bats 3rd and plays first for the 3rd time in his career??? As a player I would be baffled, that and the B.S. surrounded by kissing Melvin Mora's @$$ some 3 weeks ago!

The O's need some real leadership in the dugout!

Thisw was hard to take, but how do you get around it. Why look so good for two outs and then lose all concentration?? Pitch selection, Weiter's call of rpitch selection??
Why does Buck Martinez call Reimold's infield single foul when it hit the chalk dust, was he predicting a future that did not come?? Why do Rick and TOm smile gleefully after Oriole losses??

We're so fed up with losing that we blast our team every time they lose. Every play and every game is under the microscope right now. If we do that we're going to be miserable with disappointment. I thought the team played fairly well. A couple of mistakes cost us, but give credit to the Indians also. It was a well fought battle on both sides, but they were luckier. If you don't take this game in the context of other losses you'll see that it was just another baseball game that could have gone either way. The Yankees and the Redsox and other good teams have lost games like last night's many times this season and past seasons. Those who pile it on Johnson, please be patient. He did just become the closer. You can't make the decision based on one blown save. Johnson has blown 1 save as a closer and surrendered 6 home runs on the season, same stats that Mariano Rivera has in 2009.

Someone said,

Johnson has blown 1 save as a closer and surrendered 6 home runs on the season, same stats that Mariano Rivera has in 2009.

He has 6 saves in 10 chances (60%). Rivera has 36 saves in 37 opportunities (97%).

Hey Anonymous,

That someone was me. To use one of Pete's 'favorite' lines: "Way to see the forest through the trees". I love it when people counter their arguments with their own words. You can't make an educated opinion about Johnson's performance with such small sample size.

Sorry Pete, I'm gonna borrow another one. Anonymous, you must have had such a huge knee jerk reaction to my comments that you probably hit yourself in the back of the head.

BTW. The only good thing on your post was to use HTML tags for the bold font to draw attention.


Most of the blown saves were 7th or 8th inning results. He is four out of five since taking over closing the ninth inning.

Also I do not think it is fair to compare with Mariano, he is the man!

Did anyone notice Sherrill still has not had a run scored on him since becoming a Dodger? His ERA is now 1.81, but he is an old 32 year old, does not fit in an Oriole uniform, RIGHT?


I'm with you. The Sherrill trade still hurts. I love both JJ and Sherrill. I think they could both be a vital part of the O's future. Plus Sherrill was a guy who wanted to be here. I don't buy the arguments against him being here at all, as he is showing that he is a trooper, even in LA. The guy is blue collar, and performs no matter where you put him. His All-Star appearance was phenomenal. One of the best I've seen by a closer.

See you next year.

DT's postgame comments sad. He's lapsed into self preservation mode; so concerned about second guessing that he feels truly sorry for himself and it shows.

Johnson's a good pitcher, man, nasty stuff; every once in a while a guy hits one 350 feet and it sneaks over the short wall. But he's a man about it and next year will do better w/ proper leadership in the dugout.

Pete's reply: If he's not in self-preservation mode, I would be disappointed in him.

I envision a future with Mickolio closing (setup by Ray and JJ). I think that could work.

You're absolutely right about nobody knowing how to win because nobody on this team has ever won. It's a shame this organization, loudly supported by you, didn't see fit to bring in some winning pitchers for THIS YEAR so that it wouldn't be a wasted year. It was all about "waiting for the kids" and forget about this year, which was a horrible attitude. Signing a couple of decent starting pitchers wouldn't have held back any kid and could have created a decent atmosphere for them to come up to as their first ML experience.This horrible losing has to have a terrible effect on every player's psyche and isn't creating a fun and winning atmosphere just as important a part of creating a successful team as finding good young players? A couple of winning veterans, who were out there on the FA market, wouldn't have turned the season around or even brought us to .500, but they could have made it a much more pleasant atmosphere and maybe a learning one as well. And no, Koji was not the answer as that winning veteran, as he was old, fragile, and needs a translator to have an in-depth conversation. Maybe winning pitchers could have taught some of the young guys something. Maybe Jeremy Guthrie wouldn't have had such a bad season if he wasn't under the pressure of being the only decent ML pitcher on the staff. A guy like Derek Lowe could say something like, "when I didn't have my stuff, here's what I did to win" and maybe help out a Hernandez or a Guthrie. This need was patently obvious at the end of last year to everyone except the O's management.

Closer comment....

All this talk about a closer is hysterical. Thats like going to the junk yard, picking out a clunker, and the first thing you do is put on a new pair of tires.

If we won every game that our closers had a chance to finish what would we have....another 5 wins, maybe 10.

So we go from losing 100 games to losing 90.

McPhail did the right thing trading Sherrill............we eventually will need a set of new tires, but its not our primary concern right now.

Why does MASN insist on these long-winded interviews with people (scouts, players, family, etc) while a game is in progress? I tune in to watch a game, not listen to stuff more suitable for Facebook than live (?) TV.

so tempting to just say 'take down the tent and pack up this circus' because this is just ridiculous. but i can't let myself lose faith. i've stuck it out this long, i've got to believe that things will change for the better sooner than later.

anyway thank you God for the Ravens.


Whose idea was it to shift to a full screen view of the announcing crew in the 7th inning for a three minute yak fest? Don't they think we know what they look like? Do they really think we'd rather watch two guys standing there, holding mics, than the ACTUAL GAME?

Can't they talk off camera and let us watch the game? The ACTUAL EVENT?

MASN --- FIX THIS!!!!!!

This idea that a team has to "learn how to win" is just ridiculous. It's an excuse. The majority of professional baseball players have never won a world championship, so where exactly would the experience of "learning how to win" come from?

These guys have played thousands of baseball games, and I would assume that they haven't all lost every single one of them. They have plenty of experience "winning".

Instead of "learning how to win", what they really need to learn is:

1. How to run bases.
2. Some plate discipline (not all of them, but many could use some lessons here)
3. How to throw strikes without grooving pitches down the middle.
4. How to not give up so many gopher balls.

Folks, the season was over two months ago. The job for this team now is to get their work in. You don't measure the rest of the season in wins and losses, you measure it in quality starts, quality at-bats and good baserunning. The kids are doing some of these things well, and need work on the others. I don't care if they lose every game from here on out, so long as they learn along the way and remember what they learned come next March.

We've all suffered with the Orioles forever, but I think it's time to celebrate Brian Roberts - about to hitt 50 doubles in a season for the 3rd time.

Do you know that only Tris Speaker (5 times) Paul Waner (3 times) & Stan Musial (3) times have ever accomplished this ??

Quite a feat !!!!

I bet it would be all over the national news if Pedroia had done it.

dcb; How refreshing to read your post. You get it and it is nice to see.

WOW, I guess the good news is that despite providing virutally nothing of value for almost 12 years, there is still tons of passion on this town for the Orioles. Pie, Jim Johnson and anybody else who got slammed here is not at bad as they look at their worst. If you actually watch the games, you will see that there is almost always a critical moment and the Orioles more often than not fail to execute something in that moment. Johnson was obviously flustered last night when he could not put away Laporta with his best pitch. Then he threw 3 straight balls to Marte. This is evidence that he does NOT have the mental makeup to be a closer. Plain and simple. You can NOT be a closer and get that flustered in that situation. You MUST have an exceedingly short memory and simply concentrate on the hitter you are currently facing. Now that Chris Ray seems to have rediscovered his groove, he should be the closer and Johnson + Baez for 7& 8 inning setup. When I saw Ray warming up in the bull pen in the 6th inning last night, I had yet another confirmation that Trembley is in over his head and is not qualified to be a major league manager. I know that the players have to execute, but it is vitally important that the field manager place people in circumstances where they have the highest probablity for success. Another example is the insistance on keeping Luke Scott in important places in the batting order despite his being the very personification of the word streaky and him currently being unable to lay off bad pitches. Scott bats eight until he gets his groove back and not just for one night. This team needs every advantage and break to go their way and they are handicapped when they walk on the field each night because they are overmatched at the field manager position.

Here's another Napoleon quote for you...Victory goes to he who perseveres. One can only hope games like this will toughen the team so when the pressure's on in the future, they'll have the experience to handle it. I am getting a wee bit tired, though, of all the "class acts" we have on this team, i.e. too many people standing up to say yeah, I screwed up. What I'd prefer is, that they DIDN'T screwup in the first place. I've never understood how a guy who is supposed to be a professional, a major league baseball pitcher, can't throw a strike with a fastball...or if they do, it has to be belthigh, middle of the plate, pow, gone. Johnson is a nice guy and all that, great stuff, but he's too erratic in my opinion to be the closer. Too many walks, too many forced pitches in the dirt. Look at all the successful closers--they don't do that. Only the unsuccesful ones do. Johnson should stay in his setup role, he's shown he can excel there, as I don't think he's got the closer makeup. Maybe Koji, he's a strike machine...or someone who isn't even on the roster yet. Finally, I have to admit it was thrilling to see the O's not lie down after two outs. When Pie came up, I thought, this kid impresses me the way he fights, fouls off pitch after pitch, works the count, and dang if he didn't beat out that hit. When Reimold followed with his infield hit and Pie went to third, I wondered if they thought about the suicide squeeze--couldn't you just see Pie stealing home? Of course, if he tried that and got thrown out for the last out of the game with our best hitter at the plate, I think the crowd would have tarred and feathered him, but no guts, no glory right? Pete, definitely note some frustration in your blog entry, but that's certainly understandable. Yeah, these boys don't know how to win. But I do believe they are getting there. They are NOT giving up, and that's not something the past few seasons' teams could say at this time of year. And Hernandez did pitch pretty well, didn't he?

Watching the O's, not be able to drive in runs with 1 or 2 outs, I think instead of a new hitting coach, they might want to get some vets in here that take pitches and hit their pitches, not the ones the pitcher wants them to take. Benson, was a mentor to Bedard so some times it takes actual players, not coaches to break through to players whether they are hitters or pitchers.

Roch, if you are offering math lessons, I'll start after you teach Brian, how many outs there are in an inning.

Ther's mixed feelings here about the importance of the closer. Some suggest that we shouldn't be too concerned, at least until we are ready to start competing etc, and others feel that the whole closer role is over-rated.
Personally, I think it's another piece that we need to fill and we should use the remaining time to see who best fits this role for '10. I still believe a solid closer is esssential; a lock-down closer means a few wins for our young starters and how many good teams don't have a solid closer?
The only team that comes to mind is the Phillies with Lidge.
The O's really haven't had a lights-out closer for any length of time in years. BJ Ryan and Ray come to mind for while but in recent years, we've had to endure the likes of Julio/Timlin & Benitez. It would be a shame if we finally get decent and then we don't have a solid back end.

Hello Pete,

Just checking in with an update on my move/road trip to UCLA.

Currently stopped in Colorado after cruising though Kansas. Wow, Kansas is seriously flat! I managed to see the Cardinals, Royals, Colts, Chiefs, and Broncos stadiums though.

Try the beer Fat Tire (brewed in Ft. Collins, CO) . Especially the next time JJ is behind 3-0.

Next stop: Vegas!

Pete's reply: Sounds like you're having a great trip. When you get to LA, however, I think you should transfer to USC.

Hey guys! Im a student at the University of New Mexico and just opened a blog of my own concerning all things Baltimore sports for a class. Everyone should check it out and strike up some conversation! The link is below.

This is a frighteningly BAD BAD team! AND the youth is coming up. How scary is that? Case in point: LAST NIGHT.....just horrid. When will the O's have a winning season? I'm thinking 2020 tops.

Last night's game : very sad ending but LOTS OF GOOD THINGS HAPPENED.
I won't dismiss them because the O's lost. Give credit to the Indians.
Today is another game. Zero mistakes is the goal.
I hope the O's put it together for a win. With the O's in last place,
I grade performance with more emphasis on execution than Wins & losses. The team is playing better: pitch by pitch; inning by inning.
Hard times but what's new!

Note to you post-ers:

Try using the "ENTER" more

Hit that key twice frequently during long rants.

No one reads long posts of running text.

It's just too hard to read a hundred lines of screed.

Two hits on "ENTER".

You can do it!!

I once heard that you have to lose a few times before you learn how to win...
Unfortunately, we've become experts on losing.
It's the worst part about being out of the pennant race after the All-Star Break each year...there is no emphasis on winning. Just padding your personal stats.
Oh, and for the record-great teams make mistakes and still win. If you have be perfect to win games then you are in the wrong league. Making mistakes and STILL winning is what good teams do.

Fire Harbaugh

I may be the only one willing to give Johnson a break. He's a B+ setup man. We need that.

Not excusing his performance last night - he flat out blew it. But he's no closer so don't hold him to that expectation.

I'd rather focus on the bigger issues: no leadership, sub-par managing and coaching, and sub-par veterans. Can we agree on a new coaching staff, a new 1B and 3B, and a true #1 starter?

Meanwhile, GO RAVENS!


you are right on about winners knowing how to win. The O's tried to bring in a "winner" in Kevin Millar. Unfortuanately in that case, you have to be a winner and talented to make a difference.

Statistically, the offence is having a great year, but those numbers are tainted because of how streaky they are. They are like binge drinkers. do nothing 5 nights a week, put 10-15 away on the weekend

Who would that person be in the the year or so?

Pete's reply: You have to hope that Markakis and Roberts find that in themselves once the starting pitching stabilizes. There might be a leader out there that they could sign or acquire, but I don't know who that might be.

The only time I don't root for the O's is when they play the Indians. I was an OH native for almost 50 years - so I have suffered a long time too but growing up the O's were THE class operation in baseball. I look forward to "news item, my take" every week.

Pete's reply: Thanks very much. There's a new one up right now.

Speaking of Napoleon...

We need to get the "Little Napoleon" to manage the Orioles again. I hear he is buried in Baltimore. Lets dig him up....

John Muggsy McGraw... ;-)

Lomax... you are a dork. Posting a link to your outside blog bashing the guy on this blog? (btw... nice 1 repsonse ya got there.)

Winners finish games. Winners don't melt down. Winners are allowed to get beat, but they win the games they are supposed to win (like last night and the Sox Massacre II). Winners don't get beat by hapless 8-9 hitters in the 9th with two outs.

The O's have had some talent over the past 12 years, but they weren't winners. The Red Sox don't have a team of superstars and aren't even that statistically amazing Papi is hitting .230, V-Tek .224. Ellsbury is hitting .298, but 1.700 Vs. the O's, lowering that average. Bay is hitting big, but his average sucks. BRob is having a better year than Pedroia. Drew isn't playing to his 75mil contract. The come up with hits in the clutch and the bullpen puts games away when they are ahead.

The Rays went into last year with a completely different Joe Maddon-Phil Jackson-Zen mentality. They had talent and the right attitude going in last season, that is all well documented.

Pete's reply: Give the young blogger some credit. He did point out that the way you win is by scoring more runs than the other team. That was pretty incisive. But he missed the whole point, as you point out. JJ's gopher pitch was not the pitch that illustrated my point. It was falling behind 3-0 to the No. 9 hitter. It was Baez coming on and not being about to finish hitters when he's ahead on the count. It was putting 17 runners on base in twice on the prevous road trip and losing both games. They don't have the confidence or the chemistry to win yet. Hence, they don't know how to win.

Kam Mickolio needs to be the closer next year. He has slam the door type stuff. Johnson doesn't.

i think the orioles should have tried to get kazmir. the angels seem like they didn't give up a lot for him. maybe the o's could have had him for say.. erbe and waring?

lot of fols seem to a 4gotten the blown saves herrill had

Post a comment

Please enter the letter "x" in the field below:
About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

Schmuck column archive

Upload a photo of yourself or a friend wearing the new Peter Schmuck T-shirt, which is on sale at

Most Recent Comments
Photo galleries

Search our new database for every home run hit hit by the O's and the opposition — home and away — since 1992.

Buy Sports Tickets from the Baltimore Sun Store

Sign up for FREE Orioles alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for Orioles text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Blog updates
Recent updates to sports blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Stay connected