clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Orioles make first wave of September call-ups: Relievers Oliver Drake and Steve Johnson

New, comments

The Orioles need a savior. What they get at the start of September call-ups is Oliver Drake and Steve Johnson, two guys who've earned a shot with their play this season but aren't going to fix what ails this team.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

There are no September call-up miracles walking through the door for the Orioles. There's only Steve Johnson and Oliver Drake, two relievers who have had fine seasons for the Norfolk Tides and have definitely earned their chance. Good for them and good luck to them.

It's just not going to be enough to save the Orioles season. The bullpen isn't even a real area of need for the O's right now. They've already got a 2.84 ERA on the season, third-best in the American League. The bullpen is not why the Orioles have fallen off the table in the last half of August. There's nothing to fix there.

Johnson, who memorably made some solid starts for the 2012 Orioles team, returns after a couple of years, having worked mostly in relief for the Tides this season. Over 32 games, Johnson posted a 2.30 ERA in 54.2 innings, striking out 67 batters while only walking 16. Three of those games were spot starts - maybe he'll even make one or two of these as the season works its way to a close, depending on the health of Miguel Gonzalez.

Drake has also turned in an excellent 2015 for the Tides, recording a minuscule 0.82 ERA over 42 relief appearances. Serving as the Tides closer, he went a perfect 23-23 in save opportunities. When you're striking out 13.5 batters per nine innings as a closer you are probably going to have success. In a brief taste of the big leagues earlier in the year he had some initial success until batters noticed they could just not swing at his sinker out of the strike zone.

Both of these guys are 28 years old. They are neither players who are getting called up with hopes of filling a huge need, nor are they intriguing prospects the Orioles would like to evaluate for next year - although either could find his way into next year's bullpen picture, so in that sense it's not a waste.

It's just that compared to spending a September counting down magic numbers, it's not very exciting to look at the early days of a competition for the fifth and sixth guys in next year's bullpen. Along with the expected addition of Chaz Roe tomorrow, that's probably just what we're going to get.