Can Johnson and the Orioles bounce back from this one?

With the great season he has had, what Orioles fan wouldn't have taken Jim Johnson on the mound last night with a one-run lead in the ninth?

The Orioles had come back from 5-0 and 8-6 deficits, and after a stirring three-run last of the eighth, their All-Star closer needed three outs to end an uplifting comeback win to start a big weekend series.

Instead, Johnson gave up six runs - the most he's ever allowed as a reliever - and the red-hot A's won again, beating the Orioles 14-9. Instead of closing to within a half-game of a wild-card berth, they fell 2 1/2 back in a big two-game swing.

Here are the two big questions coming out of this game: How will the Orioles bounce back from this? Should we start to worry about Johnson?

Johnson had an ERA of 1.21 at the All-Star break after giving up just five earned runs over 37 1/3 innings. Since the break, he has allowed 13 earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. His ERA since the break is 18.48. His ERA for the season jumped from 2.49 to 3.71 last night.

For now, I am not concerned about Johnson, even though he suffered just one blown save in his first 37 games and now has had two in the last eight games. That is three blown saves for him on the year and if he was asked to save the game tonight, I would feel confident he could do it.

How will the Orioles bounce back from this bitter loss? It will be interesting to see. They began what could be a telling nine-game stretch against the A's, Yankees and Rays last night. They can't let that game beat them twice or even three times this weekend.

The Orioles bounced back big time twice during the game last night. Now they have to do it less than 24 hours after that terrible ninth inning.

What is your take?: How will the Orioles bounce back from such a brutal loss?

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