I realize I shouldn’t get all worked up about one game – one loss – since the team has convinced everyone in Baltimore that “we’re not going to win anyway…” – but Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Mariners was pretty much unacceptable.
Those West Coast games often get overlooked here in Baltimore because just about everyone is in zzz-land by the time the game reaches the 2nd or 3rd inning. So what happened on Wednesday night at Safeco Field? Bad baserunning, questionable managerial moves and the failure to push runs across at opportune times. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “So what’s new?”
Speaking of zzz-land, the O’s need to keep someone on the bench to give manager Dave Trembley a polite shove when he falls asleep during the game.
Last night in Seattle was one of those “polite shove” kinda games.
The Birds fell to the Mariners, 3-2, and Trembley was either taking a leak in the top of the 9th inning, dozed off in the dugout for a minute or two or — worst case scenario, here — he’s just not adept at handling the late-game thought process.
With none out in the 9th and Aubrey Huff at first base, Trembley sent Huff from first on a 3-2 pitch to Melvin Mora. Not once (foul), not twice (foul), but three times (strike 3).
Sending Huff there was the equivalent of having Lumpy Rutherford steal a base in Little League. Ward Cleaver wouldn’t have sent Lumpy, in fact.
I’m no baseball manager, and some would say I don’t know much about much, but the OBVIOUS top of the 9th inning move there was to pinch-run Felix Pie for Huff and send Ty Wigginton to first base in the bottom of the 9th (and beyond). Pie is biding time on the bench these days but even a few splinters can’t take away from the fact that he’s fast. Pinch-run him there – in the 9th – and try to get him to 2nd with Mora and Luke Scott hopefully delivering a hit that could put Baltimore ahead.
By sending Huff from first during the Mora at bat (3 times), it was clear that Trembley was trying to “push the game” and get the O’s a run in the top of the 9th. With Luke Scott due up in the 9th, I’m sure he was thinking “let me just get someone to 2nd base” and we might steal this one. Why wasn’t that “someone” Felix Pie? If you put Pie in the game there, you can bunt him over with Mora and put the game on Luke Scott’s bat.
I’m a dummy and I would have done that.
I don’t really have an issue with the bottom of the 9th inning scenario that played out, as Trembley left Jim Johnson in the game to face Adrian Beltre with the bases loaded and Beltre promptly delivered the game-winning hit.
With the bases loaded and the game on the line, I think I’d prefer to NOT have George Sherrill in there running the count to 3-2 and giving me a tension headache. I’ll bet on Jim Johnson to get the job done in that situation — last night, I would have lost that wager.
But it was the top of the 9th that left me wondering whether or not Trembley really knows what he’s doing.
And because the game was in Seattle, no one is around to really question Trembley’s decision(s). Had the game been in Baltimore, I’m sure one of the local guys (gals) would have tip-toed in with the question about not pinch running for Huff in the 9th and the manager would have most likely given some sort of condescending answer about “a feel for the game” and blah, blah, blah. The game being in Seattle and all — no one was going to question the road manager about a dumb 9th inning decision that helped contribute to his team’s loss.
Some of his marquee players aren’t coming through right now, which puts even more stress on Trembley’s managerial decisions. Matt Wieters hit into a double play with one out and the bases loaded in the 4th inning. The ONLY thing on the “do not do” list for Wieters there was “DO NOT HIT THE BALL ON THE GROUND IN THE INFIELD”. Sac Fly? Sure. Just don’t hit into a double play there. More blunders: Huff was picked off of third base (yep, not a typo — 3rd base) in the 6th inning. Nolan Reimold was also picked off of first base in the 5th inning as well. Oh well, at least Melvin Mora didnt’ have a baserunning gaffe.
Brian Roberts had as many hits in the 3-game series in Seattle as you, me and Mine That Bird. B-Rob’s mired in an 0-17 slump that might require a day off in Oakland at some point. Wieters isn’t looking overmatched at the plate but he IS hitting .143. And Nick Markakis is coming off a sub-par May with spill-over into June, where he was just 2-10 and his average is down to .293. Luke Scott can’t win every game at the plate.
It’s on to Oakland now, where the O’s get the benefit of the pitching matchup in all 3 games (apparently).
Speaking of Oakland, will someone in The Warehouse overnight the manager’s manual to Trembley at the team hotel?