Revolving door in O's rotation?

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Trembley hints at potential change among starting pitchers

July 27, 2008|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,Sun reporter

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said yesterday that he hasn't made a decision on left-hander Brian Burres' starting spot, but he believes changes need to be made with the rotation.

"I'm not trying to be threatening or anything like that," he said. "I love all these guys. They're great. But if it ain't working, we've got to try to do something to fix it. I'm not saying that's going to happen tomorrow or next week or whenever. But I think it definitely has to be considered. That's fair. I don't think anybody would argue with that."

The Orioles have lost 15 of their past 20 games, and during that stretch, Orioles starters are 4-10 with a 7.70 ERA. The starters averaged five innings, and only once in that stretch did a starter go seven innings, Jeremy Guthrie on July 10.

Burres turned in the shortest outing of the month Friday when he recorded just five outs and allowed five runs before being pulled.

Trembley said after the game that he and pitching coach Rick Kranitz would discuss their options and make a decision on Burres, whose ERA has risen more than two runs in his past 11 outings.

Yesterday he said no decision has been made.

"I don't particularly know what my options are at this time," Trembley said.

He knows, however, that he's tired of asking his players to rally after the offense has been put in a deep hole by the rotation.

"I hope people are upset about it. I wish somebody would light a fire under somebody and say, 'Hey, enough is enough.' You know? Like in the movie (Network), the guy opens up the window and yells out, 'We're not going to take it anymore.'"

The ineffectiveness has enveloped all of the starters with the exception of Guthrie. Rookies Radhames Liz (7.47) and Garrett Olson (6.11) have marks higher than Burres'.

In the first 10 games after the All-Star break - in which the Orioles are 3-7 - the starters' ERA is 8.35 and they have pitched just 10 1/3 more innings than the bullpen during that stretch. But there are no easy fixes.

There doesn't seem to be immediate help at Triple-A Norfolk, where Hayden Penn (4-6, 5.17 ERA), Jon Leicester (3-8, 5.91) and Andy Mitchell (10-5, 4.52) have not excelled. On the 25-man roster, Lance Cormier could be moved into the rotation, as could perhaps Dennis Sarfate, who is settling into the long-relief role. "What I can do about it, I don't know," Trembley said. "What I'd like to do about it is another story. What we will do about it is, stay tuned."

Millar's new 'do

Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar said he was "sick of hitting like a blond-headed blond." So he shaved off his dyed-blond hairdo after Friday's batting practice and then hit two homers in the game. He's convinced the power accompanied the new look. "Worth it to get my stroke back," he said. "If I hit .380 the next two months and hit 10 homers, I'll shave my eyebrows next year. I'll look like Mona Lisa in spring training." Not everyone liked the decision. After Friday's game, his 3-year-old twins asked him to put "his hair back on."

Trade winds

Trembley said he doesn't think his players, such as closer George Sherrill, are fazed about trade rumors as the nonwaiver deadline approaches Thursday.

"I think it just comes with the territory every year," Trembley said. "It's part of the game and they know it coming in. You deal with it as best as you possibly can."

Now that the Toronto Blue Jays have left Camden Yards, there aren't nearly as many scouts out watching this weekend. Yesterday, scouts from both New York teams, the Detroit Tigers, the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals were on hand.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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