Calling Steve Johnson … Again?

So I guess Steve Johnson can come back from Norfolk, right?

He didn’t even get to enjoy it for long, but he still got to make his major league debut for his hometown team Sunday. He pitched the 7th and 8th innings of a 4-0, Orioles loss, gave up a solo home run to Miguel Cabrera, and left to a heart-warming ovation. After the game, he was told he was being sent back to Norfolk, but it probably didn’t even dampen his accomplishment.

But in light of Chris Tillman‘s shellacking at the hands of the Twins Monday night, together with the even greater than usual strain that placed on the bullpen (have I seen that sentence somewhere before?), Johnson may be brought back up sooner than many realized.

Tillman still has yet to win two decisions in a row in his major league career, as if you haven’t had enough disheartening stats. The off-field news brought us the announcement that Robert Andino will be out three to four weeks with what was diagnosed as a strained left shoulder, suffered in Sunday’s game. Steve Tolleson played second last night, and it’s presumed he’ll share the position with Ryan Flaherty for a while.

This was a team the Orioles had beaten in their last seven consecutive meetings, wasn’t it?

The club purchased Brad Bergesen’s contract Tuesday, but didn’t use him, and designated him for assignment again Wednesday. If anyone is thinking I’m expert enough to know the reason Dan Duquette did that, think again. Tommy Hunter starts tonight.

But it will be Johnson’s turn again soon, given the fact that the Orioles fell again, 6-4, at Target Field, and Zach Britton only lasted 4 innings and the first three hitters of the 5th, loading the bases before Luis Ayala came in and let them all score.

One of the lowlights of the night was JJ Hardy’s throwing error, the Orioles’ league-leading 79th of the season. This came in the seventh and put runners on the corners, both of whom scored to give the Twins the margin of victory. Britton, making his first start of the season, threw 100 pitches in his 4 inning-plus-three-hitter night, only 54 strikes. He took the problem he was supposed to be here to fix – starters not going deep enough – and worsened it instead.

According to The Sun, in the team’s five games since the All-Star break, the bullpen has accounted for 62 percent of the team’s total innings pitched.

Don’t get off that Steve Johnson bandwagon.

About The Author

- Staff Writer

Steve is a lifelong Orioles fan who has somehow managed not to be completely repulsed by 14 losing seasons. We'll call this past season their 14th consecutive, 162-game Spring Training for next year. He grew up an Oriole, Baltimore Colts, and Baltimore Bullets nut. Email Steve at skatz@orioles-nation.com.