Pitching struggles keep Trembley up at night

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Scouts from Cards, Brewers keeping tabs on Sherrill

July 24, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

Orioles manager Dave Trembley went back to his apartment late Tuesday and watched a replay of his team's 10-8 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the night. It certainly didn't look any better the second time around.

"We have to understand also that there's a certain amount of up and down and peaks and valleys and [club president Andy MacPhail] has said it, there are going to be moments that are painful," Trembley said.

"I went through a painful one [Tuesday] night. That was damn painful. And I had to really take a couple deep breaths because that was terrible. I can handle it. I just want to see guys getting better because the bottom line is if they don't get better, that opportunity won't be there forever. If you don't do your job and you continually get opportunity after opportunity and it doesn't happen, they get somebody else."

Trembley's frustration stemmed from the performance of his pitching staff, specifically rookie left-hander Garrett Olson. Given a 4-0 lead, Olson surrendered six earned runs, nine hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. It was the latest disappointing performance for an Orioles rotation that, aside from Jeremy Guthrie, has not been performing well.

"We're just not attacking guys, just not being aggressive with our fastball, so hopefully it gets better as we go along," Trembley said. "I've tried to really come up with a justifiable explanation for what's going on by what I'm seeing and I think guys are trying to be perfect and you can't be perfect to play this game. It's like I see guys pitching trying to put it in a keyhole. Just throw it, get a little movement on it. If you throw a fastball for strike one, throw another one. You've got to stay with things a little longer, I think."

Orioles starters entered yesterday with a 5.24 ERA, ahead of only the Texas Rangers in the American League. They were also second-to-last in quality starts (40) and fourth-worst in innings pitched (559 2/3 ). In the first six games since the All-Star break, Orioles starters have a 7.52 ERA and haven't gone more than six innings.

"[Pitching coach Rick Kranitz is] not feeling real good today," Trembley said. "I've never seen a guy work as hard as he does, as far as preparation. Pitchers just aren't implementing it. I'm not being out of whack here. If I had some other people to come and take their place, I'd consider it, but there's nobody here to come and take their place. So I told these guys, 'What are you looking over your shoulder for? You're going to pitch.' It's up to them. Sooner or later, they're either going to get on the bus or off the bus."

Trade winds

Scouts from the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers, the two most aggressive suitors for Orioles closer George Sherrill, attended last night's game. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers were also among the teams represented.

With second baseman Brian Roberts unlikely to be traded during the season, Sherrill has become the club's biggest trade chip, attracting inquiries from nearly 10 teams. A source with knowledge of the Orioles' thinking said the club is looking for two, if not three prospects in return for the reliever. If Sherrill, 31, is traded, it will likely be just before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

Around the horn

Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan confirmed last night that the club has reached agreement with 43rd-round pick Oliver Drake, a right-handed pitcher from Navy. The Annapolis Capital first reported that Drake had withdrawn from the academy. ... Roberts entered last night leading the American League in doubles (37) and triples (eight). The last player to lead the AL in both categories in the same season was the Minnesota Twins' Cesar Tovar in 1970. ... Before last night's game, the Orioles celebrated their 1983 World Series champions, introducing several members of the team. The Orioles wore 1983 throwback uniforms.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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