Starting still in Johnson’s future

I woke up this morning and hoped that last night’s game was just a bad dream, but I’m pretty sure it happened.

I’m pretty sure the Orioles blew an 8-6 lead in the bottom of the 12th inning. I’m pretty sure the game was tied, the bases were loaded and we were still waiting for the Orioles to record an out.

Bad pitching, bad defense. The usual recipe for disaster.

Chris Jakubauskas dominated the 11th inning. He was pounding the strike zone. It was a thing of beauty. But I guess you’re supposed to bring in your closer with a lead, even when he’s been struggling.

I suppose.

The more I watch Mark Reynolds at first base, the more I like him there - even when he takes a charge and twists his ankle. (That was a nasty collision last night, which Josh Bell caused with a wild throw.)

I haven’t seen Chris Davis at third, so I don’t know whether the Orioles should make them swap positions. But Reynolds could end the succession of one-year deals handed out by the Orioles to free-agent first basemen.

They still need another big bat in the middle of the order. Nothing that Reynolds does at first will change my mind. But I’m really impressed with his glove work.

If Davis resists having surgery to repair a torn labrum, it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll need to stay at first base. If he has to baby the shoulder that much, he should have the surgery.

That’s just my opinion, of course.

If you watched “O’s Xtra” yesterday, you might have heard manager Buck Showalter telling reporters in Oakland that moving Jim Johnson into the rotation is still under consideration.

Johnson hasn’t gone more than one inning in seven of his last nine appearances. However, he logged three scoreless last night in his first outing since last Sunday. That’s what you’d call stretching out a pitcher.

His role most certainly looks like it will change before the season ends.

I’ll still be concerned about the back end of the bullpen without Johnson and Koji Uehara, but this team has so many issues, late-inning relief might not register on the scale. May as well give Johnson a few starts, for however long he lasts in each game, and get a feel for whether he can compete for a rotation spot in 2012.

As MASN’s Dave Johnson points out, Jim Johnson has three plus pitches and they seem wasted with a set-up man. And he was a starter in the minors, so it’s not a foreign role for him.

He’ll just need to accept that no lead he turns over to the bullpen will be safe.

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