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Loyal to a Fault
Posted By Ron Burr On May 2 2010 @ 5:01 pm In Baltimore Orioles | 2 Comments
There are few people left on this earth who defend Dave Trembley more than I do. I have gone far and wide, and dug deep down, all to show how this horrendous start of the 2010 Orioles’ season is not the sole responsibility of the manager. But as I sit here watching the 3rd game of the O’s / Red Sox series, I am ready to drive down to Camden Yards and fire him myself. Why? 2 reasons:
Bottom of the 8th inning, tie game. Kevin Millwood has pitched a beauty of a game, and is still the pitcher of record in the game. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis lead the inning off with singles, so they are at 1st and 2nd, with no outs. Ty Wigginton is coming up to bat.
Wigginton has been the hottest hitter on the team. So what does Trembley do? He takes the bat out of Wigginton’s hands and has him bunt. And while the bunt was successful, it never should have happened. I am not as anti-bunt as Earl Weaver (I would quote some of Weaver’s bon mots about bunting, but this is a family website), but when a team has .250 winning percentage (and that is with 2 straight wins coming into this game) and has a chance to sweep the Boston Red Sox (I know they aren’t lighting the league on fire right now, but they are a division foe and they have been a thorn in this team’s side for tis entire 12 year long losing streak) you don’t take the bat out of the hands of your hottest hitter! Jones and Markakis both have good to excellent speed, and could both score off of a double, and Jones would likely score off of a single. But Trembley played the odds of having a runner on 3rd with one out, blindly ignoring that the guy at the plate has been hitting the cover off of the ball the last few weeks. That is Trembley trying to not lose his job as opposed to trying to win the game (it is like when a football team is down by 14 points late in the 4th quarter and kicks a field goal. The coach is trying to make the score look better instead of trying to win the game).
Later in the inning, the Orioles have the bases loaded, now with the one out. Luke Scott is coming to the plate. Scott has already struck out twice in this game, and both times he looked bad in doing so, swinging at obvious balls at least once if not twice in each at bat. Trembley has Garrett Atkins, Cesar Izturis, Matt Wieters, and Lou Montanez on the bench. Of those 4 players, the only one I would probably not use as a pinch hitter in this slot is Izturis. And I do understand trying to give players a game off (especially Wieters, since catching is so much more taxing physically than any other position save pitcher), but Scott is the DH, so it isn’t like any of them would have to take the field if the game were to continue into extra innings. Instead Trembley runs Scott back up there, and Scott goes down again. The next thing you know it is the 9th inning and Millwood goes down as a no decision, which is not fair to him.
To make matters even worse, Trembley DID have Wieters pinch hit in the 9th inning, and he doubled. It was against a different pitcher than the one he might have faced in the 8th, but the point is that if he is trying to win the game, why not use him when he doesn’t have to hit a home run to make a difference, and where you can keep him from having to put the gear on and play defense, which he is now doing? ALSO, this puts more stress on an already taxed bullpen (and a bullpen that has one less available arm since Jim Johnson was sent down to AAA Norfolk in order to make room on the 25 man roster for Brad Bergesen to be called up to pitch last night). I believe the term my grandfather would have used is “cutting off your nose to spite your face”, or at the least, he would have channeled his inner Red Forman.
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