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It’s not the regular season anymore, Baltimore: Jim Johnson gets roughed up

Oct 8, 2012, 12:30 AM EDT

Martin home run

A close game and the Orioles going to the bullpen?  That was money in the bank all season long.  But now it’s the playoffs and nothing that came before mattered. And tonight the Orioles faithful saw something unusual: their All-Star closer get beat around and turn a 2-2 tie game in the ninth into a 7-2 loss in a New York minute.

The O’s and Yanks played it tight for eight innings, with runs scoring for New York on an Ichiro double and a Mark Teixeira single. Those hits surrounded a Nate McLouth two-run single. Baltimore and New York remained tied at two from the fourth through ninth inning.

The turning point came in the bottom of the eighth when J.J. Hardy reached on a leadoff double. CC Sabathia, hovering around a hundred pitches, may have been yanked in other circumstances, but Joe Girardi kept him in and was rewarded for it: the big guy struck out Adam Jones, induced a foul out by Matt Wieters and then got Mark Reynolds to ground out to short.

Buck Showalter called on Jim Johnson to handle the ninth. Not a bad call, actually. The bullpen has been the O’s meal ticket all year and Johnson hadn’t given up a run since September 8 en route to a 51 save season. He immediately gave up a run, however, in the form of a dinger to Russell Martin.  After that the wheels fell off, with Johnson surrendering five runs total on an assortment of hits and a sacrifice fly.

Hard to criticize Buck Showalter for going with his closer in a tie game at home. Sometimes, though, things just don’t work out the way they had been working out before.

  1. fellspointbird - Oct 8, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Wayyyyy too happy about an O’s loss, Craig. Let’s talk about the Braves, how did they do?

    Signed,
    Way to soon

    • djpostl - Oct 8, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      Wayyyyy too happy about a Braves loss in Wildcard game. Let’s talk about Johnson’s implosion tonight, how did he do?

      Signed,
      You’re only as good as your last game.

      • fellspointbird - Oct 8, 2012 at 1:16 PM

        That headline just comes off as taunting

      • djpostl - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM

        I didn’t see it that way tbh, but I could be wrong. Thought it was just a decent assessment of how in the post-season you can throw everything out the window most times.

  2. papalurchdxb - Oct 8, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    It’s the playoffs, poor results can happen. What’s important now is how the O’s bounce back.

  3. pisano - Oct 8, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    The O’s had a good run, they got farther than most people thought they would, and it’s far from over, but remember, the cream always rises to the top.

    • sdbunting - Oct 8, 2012 at 1:33 AM

      It’s the first game, for the love of beer and skittles.

  4. xjokerz - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    in all honestly… the Yankees needed to win this game more then the O’s… CC starting is a must win for the yanks…and it took a fluke homerun from Russel Martin to do it… go O’s

    • bigharold - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:30 AM

      ” the Yankees needed to win this game more then the O’s… CC starting is a must win for the yanks…and it took a fluke homerun from Russel Martin to do it…”

      The Yankees didn’t need the game more than the O’s, .. they were in fact he reigning champ of the AL East . but nice try.

      Clearly, the O’s going back to the Bronx in the hole or even tied would be a problem. And, Martin hits the ball way too good to be refereed as a “fluke” HR.

      Tonight it’s the big kids: too much.

      to the little kids: not enough.

      • xjokerz - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:40 AM

        as if what a team did last year has anything to do with whats going on now?…and you act like homefield is a real ” advantage ” in baseball playoffs………

      • sictransitchris - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:49 AM

        How is it not a real advantage when you get the last chance to score?

      • pisano - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        big…. I loved the “fluke homerun” how many homeruns does he have to hit before they’re not flukes? I guess 20+ homeruns are still flukes.

    • ferrisdp - Oct 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      Way to rationalize a really bad loss due to an implosion by your closer. Fluke home run my ass, see you at 8:07 tonight.

  5. nflfollower - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    I wouldn’t discount the O’s just yet, but let’s be honest this next one is as close to a must win as they get.

  6. randygnyc - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    The difference may come down to experience. I give the cumulative talent a slight edge to the Yankees. That can be overcome with a bloop and a blast or a great defensive play. I’d say the desire is pretty much equal. The biggest difference is playoff experience. I think it inhibited a few orioles at bats and definitely effected Johnson, IMO. The other variables can be neutralized by a pitchers mistake and the orioles could score some runs. But no matter what happens in this series, or the next, the orioles won’t make up for their deficiency in experience. Yankees won tonight because they’ve had more experience.

    • buddaley - Oct 8, 2012 at 6:39 AM

      Is there any evidence in the history of post-season play that experience is a factor in winning or losing?

  7. xjokerz - Oct 8, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    The splits from wins at home and away in baseball playoffs are closer then you think .. Baseball is won on pitching .. It doesn’t matter where you’re playing.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Red Sox are proof of this.

  8. papichulo55 - Oct 8, 2012 at 5:36 AM

    OK, the Yanks won with their ace. CC cant start all five games, and Girardi will be put to the test to match bullpens with Showalter. Lets not forget that the Yanks dont have their HOF closer for the Playoffs. This is gonna be a dogfight, with the Yankees winning in five. All nail-bitters.

    • chrisexv6 - Oct 8, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      Have you seen the upcoming pitching matchups?

      I think the O’s best chance was Hammel and we see how well that went (and if you think its really going all 5, we’ll get to see that matchup again). And it wasnt even Hammel’s fault, so after last night I dont know how hard it would be to “match bullpens”. Nothing against their closer, but maybe it really does come down to playoff experience that the Yankees already have.

  9. tonyricemajorharris - Oct 8, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    The clock has struck midnight Baltimore

  10. paperlions - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    I can’t tell who is more annoying. Traditionally arrogant Yankee fans or the newly over-confident Oriole fans. It’ll probably take a 5 game series to find out.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      I would vote for silly, delusional bluejay fans as being the most annoying, its like their team sucks but they still come here and talk shit. Kinda funny when you think about it

      • paperlions - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:34 AM

        Agreed, I was just pondering the relative annoyingness of current Yankee and Oriole fans.

  11. tomtravis76 - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    A near 3 hour delay and to watch went down in the 9th close to midnight was gross. Every at bat for the O’s was nail bitting and then you watch All Star after All Star walk up to the plate for the Yankees and it was just another at bat. Hopefully the O’s players can relax and get game 2.

    Sure was nice to see a big crowd for playoff baseball at the gem Camden Yards.

  12. ericellers - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Randy hits it on the head. More to the point, welcome to the post season O fans been awhile , so like Texas ,or the Rays have found out, waging to hear the fat lady sing can take longer then one very good season!

  13. ericellers - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    “Waiting”

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