Johnson Called Up; Orioles Have A Starter Problem That Needs Fixing
The Orioles called up pitcher Steve Johnson Monday, and he will possibly start against the Los Angeles Angels later this week or be in the bullpen against the Mariners during the next few days.
Johnson, the son of former Oriole starter Dave Johnson and a former star at St. Paul's School, has been in Triple-A Norfolk this season.
Dave and Steve Johnson are the sixth father-son duo to play for the Orioles.
Steve Johnson's 3-5 record makes it easy to forget his 2.73 ERA. Johnson has 63 strikeouts during 14 games with the Tides. Johnson was part of the George Sherrill trade in 2009.
Johnson's going to need to make the best of his opportunity, because the Orioles have reached the desperation point. Tommy Hunter and Brian Matusz are now in Norfolk and Jake Arrieta is 3-9 with a 5.81 ERA. He can't last too much longer if he reaches 10 losses with another dud of a performance Wednesday against Seattle.
The Orioles have two starters they can count on -- Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel -- for the most part. That's not the mark of a playoff contender, and certainly not one that has a winning record by the end of July.
General manager Dan Duquette said last week that the team's answers were within, but the club is gambling on the fact that Johnson or Norfolk starters Zach Britton and Chris Tillman might make a difference down the road. Tillman has struggled in the majors before. Britton showed glimpses of strength a year ago and went six innings Sunday, giving up three hits and two runs (one earned). Britton has looked OK in Norfolk as he recovers from a shoulder injury.
The Orioles are fighting for a playoff spot nearing the midway point of the season. They have to make moves to secure the starting rotation.
Posted July 2, 2012