A month or so ago, Dave Trembley was furious that an umpire allegedly told him his guys weren’t hustling. People were jumping on the Dave Trembley bandwagon after that show of fire and passion for his team.
My, how things have changed. The All Star break began exactly one month ago Thursday. The Orioles were on a mini-streak of winning 2 straight series against Seattle and Toronto and were winners in 4 of their last 5 games and pulled to within 8 games on the .500 mark at 40-48. So much for momentum. Did Criss Angel make the real Baltimore Orioles suddenly disappear?
Since that break, the Birds have played 24 games and won only 6, that’s right, SIX games. Now sitting at 46-66, they are the 2nd worst team in the AL and 4th worst in all of baseball. Trembley now sits in the dugout looking like he just found out his girlfriend wants to date other guys. The Orioles have reached their lowest point in the season and people are now starting to get a little more than disgusted with this team.
I mentioned a few months ago in a blog, they needed to bring in a solid winning veteran pitcher to teach these young guys how to pitch to major league batters. There is no one on this club who is experienced enough or qualified to teach, and that includes the manager and pitching coach. Those guys have proven time after time, either after throwing 100 pitches or lasting 5 innings, they are going to take the pitcher out of the game and turn it over to the bullpen.
Brad Bergesen is the only pitcher on this staff who looks like he knows what he is doing out on the mound. He IS a pitcher. If the other guys follow his lead, maybe they’d be successful. Bringing Tillman and Matusz up were PR moves to try to put fannies in the seats. Neither has really looked like the world beaters they appeared to be in the minors. It is a totally different world in Norfolk and Bowie. The things you get away with pitching against Columbus, Reading or Pawtucket will get you knocked around in New York, Detroit and Toronto.
I think it was a huge mistake to bring Tillman and Matusz to a club that has pretty much packed it in and is simply going through the motions at this point in the season. Yes, it gives them experience at the major league level, but they were winning in the minors and should have remained there for the rest of the season. Everyone is quick to make the excuse about innings pitched during a season. The minor league season is about over and these guys are extending it a little longer. Trembley had talked about using a 6-man rotation as the season winds down, just to give everyone a few extra days off. How did Maddox and Glavine both get to the 300 win plateau? They were pitchers who learned how to get batters out, get into the 8th innings by throwing less than 100 pitches, and most importantly, they knew how feed off of the success of each other while with the Braves. I do not see an inkling of that happening here.
Being 20 games under .500 and 23 games out of 1st place is, in itself, and EMBARRASSMENT to the city of Baltimore. I don’t want to hear, “well, if they played in the Central or West divisions, they’d be better” They’d be 13.5 out in the Central and 21 out in the West. They have done NOTHING to improve and will continue to lose fans if they keep up that practice. By packing it in before the season began and telling the fans, “We’re not going to win this season, but be patient, we will,” they have totally ruined ANY chance of getting a high level free agent to come to Baltimore unless they grossly overpay him. Players do not want to play for losing teams unless they are going to be paid rather handsomely, especially teams that don’t even look like they want to get better. Look at Miguel Tejada. The Orioles signed Tejada by offering more money than any other club was willing to give him. They didn’t before Tejada, didn’t win with Tejada and they aren’t winning without him. What’s that tell you?
TWELVE seasons of watching sub-par baseball being played by the Baltimore Orioles makes me sick. I don’t buy the belief that the future will hold good things. I see no one in that clubhouse that is able to sit down with Tillman, Matusz, Berken, Hernandez, and Bergesen and actually TEACH them the ins and outs of being a successful pitcher in the major leagues. By signing a Roy Halladay, they could get just that, a guy who is a winner, knows how to pitch, and could be an extremely positive influence on these young guys. They aren’t going to learn on their own and Jeremy Guthrie sure isn’t enough of a winner to show them anything positive.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. Get the stench of 12 years of losing baseball away from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. FIRE Dave Trembley and his ENTIRE coaching staff. Do NOT replace them with any ex-Orioles. Sign a top-notch free-agent pitcher who is a proven winner and still knows how to win games. Sign a power hitting 1st or 3rd baseman who can hit 25 to 30 HR a season. The team needs balance andthey aren’t going to have balance with a lineup of mostly 2nd and 3rd year players. They need that veteran winning presence in the locker room.
The Orioles have lots of dead weight hanging on to the 40 man roster. Mora, Huff andBaez are gone after the season if not sooner. I’d dump Guthrie, Pie and Ray as well. They have a good nucleus with Reimold, Jones and Markakis in the outfield, Wieters behind the plate and Bergesen, Hernandez, Johnson, Albers, Bass and Hendricksonall proven to be adequate on the mound. Izturis and Andino have given them decent play at SS, Roberts is going to remain at 2nd unless he gets totally disgusted and wants out of here, and Wiggintonis a valuable utility infielder. The DH is pretty much set with Luke Scott who should get 500 at bats in that position. Tillman and Matusz are not proven major league starters just yet, but mixing in a few veteran pitchers may help them develop.
I go back to the record. 46-66 .411 baseball, losing 18 of 24 games, and with 28 being the lowest magic number, they could be mathematically eliminated from winning the division by August 31st. No more excuses from the warehouse, broadcasters, players, coaches, manager or those wearing orange colored glasses or sipping the orange kool-aid! No more defining moments. The team has given you nothing but a load of garbage since 1997. When are people going to reach the breaking point and be mad enough to not take it anymore?
Regardless of what the front office feeds you about the not-so-distant promising future, doesn’t the past and present state of Orioles’ baseball make you mad and less willing to forgive them for making a mockery of the team you love as the losing continues?