For the Orioles, it's all about wins and losses, losses, losses
Thursday, May 6, 2010
NEW YORK -- From the spot where Dave Trembley stood stoically throughout the Baltimore Orioles' 7-5 loss Wednesday, every base runner-stranding, double-play-grounding, dogging-it-down-the-line hitter in the Orioles' impotent lineup had to walk past him on their way back to the bat rack. He never moved. Standing on the top step of the dugout, forearms resting on the Yankees-blue railing, he stared straight ahead and let his silence speak.
Trembley barely flinched when the Orioles bashed three late homers and brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth, and he remained motionless, except for bowing his head, when the final out had settled into the glove of the New York Yankees' right fielder. He stood for a good 10 seconds, then tapped the railing with both hands and spun around, disappearing into the tunnel.
This year, the Orioles said back in spring training, it was going to be about wins and losses. They weren't going to be content with another 90-something-loss season in the name of player development. Trembley, a solid baseball man and talented motivator, led the charge.
And well, it has been about wins -- seven of them so far this year. But most days -- in fact, three times as often -- it has been about losses. Their defeat at the hands of the Yankees on Wednesday completed a three-game sweep. Their 7-21 record is the worst in the majors and the franchise's worst at this point in the season in 22 years.
Put this one in the category of Games the Orioles Should Have Won But Didn't, as opposed to Games the Orioles Should Have Lost And Did. Though it felt like a blowout for most of the game (the Yankees led 7-1 at one point), the three-homer comeback only served to underscore the Orioles' many failings earlier in the game -- errors, misplays, base running blunders, indifferent starting pitching.
"Just didn't do enough things right to win the game," Trembley said.
Where are the big hits? For the game, the Orioles went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position. For the series, they were 0 for 15. For the season, they are 44 for 226 -- a .195 batting average, last in the majors.
"The facts are the facts," Trembley said before the game. "We haven't gotten it done with the opportunities that we've had. Does that mean it's the end of the world? No, today is another day. When you give up the hope and the dream and the feel, you cash it in. I'm not ready to do that, nor are the players. I think it has to turn, sooner or later."
On Wednesday, the Orioles grounded into two double plays, gave up two homers and saw pitching coach Rick Kranitz ejected from the dugout for chirping about balls and strikes -- and all that was just in the first two innings.
There was seemingly at least one atrocity committed against the game of baseball by the Orioles in each subsequent inning: In the third, starting pitcher David Hernandez (now winless in his last 15 starts) issued a pair of walks ahead of Alex Rodriguez, who promptly singled home a run. In the fourth, the Orioles' infield botched Francisco Cervelli's sacrifice bunt attempt, then saw two runs score when center fielder Lou Montanez pulled up short of the wall on Mark Teixeira's deep drive, allowing the ball to fall on the warning track.
In the sixth, Garrett Atkins failed to run out a dribbler down the third base line, thinking it would roll foul, and was thrown out by a mile when the ball stayed fair.
"He should be responsible for that," Trembley said gruffly afterward. "I told him, 'Run, don't umpire.' "