The Orioles have lost nine games in a row to fall 18 below .500. They'll probably have to put Vladimir Guerrero on the disabled list to avoid being handcuffed by a short bench, which came into play tonight. They're expected to put tomorrow night's starter, Alfredo Simon, on the restricted list Sunday when he flies to the Dominican Republic. They still need a starter for Monday, which could come from the bullpen or Triple-A Norfolk. And Single-A Frederick shortstop Manny Machado left tonight's game with a sore hip flexor, making him day-to-day.
So how was your night?
Manager Buck Showalter was asked about reliever Jim Johnson, who took the loss after allowing a run and three hits over two innings. He's given up five runs and 11 hits in his last five appearances covering seven innings.
Buck Showalter analyzes reliever Jim Johnson's recent struggles in the Orioles' 6-5 loss to Cleveland
"Jimmy's throwing the ball good as far as arm strength and things like that," Showalter said. "Our location's been a little off. He ran the ball right back to (Matt) LaPorta's bat. But Jimmy had a couple great plays to keep it a one-run ballgame. I like our chances there. The ground ball back to him, he ran it letter perfect. Just got everything but the call at third base. But J.J.'s been performing at a very high level for a long time and I like the fact he has some runners out there but he doesn't give in. He keeps grinding and gives us a chance to win. A lot of guys would have let that inning get away from them.
"The one that will stick out for him, I hope, is the 0-2 base hit he gave up to LaPorta early on. We can't make those mistakes and expect to have long outings."
None of the starters will step up and be the stopper, which has to frustrate Showalter.
"It's one thing to say it and think it and hope it and want it to happen. It's another thing to execute it," Showalter said. "They certainly want to do it. Believe me, it's at the foremost of what's on their subject matter for the day. I guarantee you. But we just haven't been able to do it execution-wise. We get some shutdown innings there and get in that sixth or seventh inning... we just haven't been able to do it with any of our starters, it seems like."
The Orioles kept rallying, but nobody cares about moral victories. At this point, they count for absolutely nothing.
"I think our guys are more interested in the finished product right now and whether we didn't put up a shutout inning after scoring two or three times, or whether we had the tying run on second base the last inning," Showalter said, "I think it's a whole picture, not just that. I thought about that some, but when you go right back out there and give it back up, that kind of takes away from that momentum."
So will the short bench prompt a roster move this weekend?
"I know Andy (MacPhail) and Richie (Bancells) talked a little bit today," Showalter said. "I'm sure I'll be talking to Andy sometime shortly. You don't want to jump the gun and then he's available two days later, but at the same time, we'll probably have to take a pitcher out of the bullpen now to set up to start on Monday potentially, or we could go get somebody from Triple-A. A lot of moving parts there. It's kind of unusual after the All-Star break, but because of our starting pitcher situation, it's kind of dictated it."