Even A Good Day Ends Badly For Roberts



July 06, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Good days have been few and far between for Brian Roberts lately, so it figured that even in a game he led off with a home run and finished with three RBIs, two runs and a stolen base, the end result was another Orioles loss on Sunday.

The strong individual performance came just two days after Roberts summoned manager Dave Trembley for a lengthy meeting in the dugout and a day after the second baseman was in the middle of two key defensive miscues that contributed to the Orioles' 11-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. After the game, Trembley said he had "no explanation" for Roberts' play, which has come under scrutiny recently because of an extended slump and defensive mistakes.

"He hasn't played up to his expectations on a consistent basis, and I think that's bothering him," Trembley said. "I think he's searching for an answer for that. I think he feels like he's let some factors get to him and affect the way he's played. He told me the other day that he accepts responsibility for that. He felt like he let me down, let his teammates down. I told him all he can do is go forward."

Roberts, who has been dealing with an illness, offered little about his meeting with Trembley, saying only that he requested it and it was a "personal conversation between me and Dave."

"Has it been frustration at times? Sure. But every season has its frustrations," Roberts said. "Actually, I think it's looking up, to be honest with you, with everything."

Roberts broke out of a 3-for-34 slump Saturday with two hits, and added two more Sunday, though he did strike out with two men on in the eighth. It's other aspects of the game Trembley wants Roberts to focus on.

"I had a long discussion with the team before we left. I addressed some things, and effort was one of them, and eliminating mental mistakes," Trembley said. "I told Roberts, 'You're one of the guys I was speaking directly to.' He knows that. I just know he can play better, and he shouldn't be so affected by making an out or not getting a hit. He can bring so much more to the game, to the team."

Markakis mans up

Not long after Saturday's loss, right fielder Nick Markakis apologized to Trembley for the defensive miscue that resulted in Juan Rivera's pop-up falling between him and Roberts, and the go-ahead run scoring in the seventh inning.

"It's a real tough lesson to learn," Trembley said. "I'm real big on integrity and respect for the game, and I think that needs to be reciprocated by the guys that are playing."

What's next for Berken?

Trembley didn't exactly give rookie right-hander Jason Berken a vote of confidence Sunday. Asked whether Berken will start Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays, Trembley said: "We really need to get through the All-Star break. He got 12 outs [Saturday] night, and he worked his tail off to get 12 outs. You guys see the game. Look at the numbers."

Berken has lost five straight decisions, his ERA sitting at 6.25 after eight starts. On Saturday, Berken allowed three runs (two earned) over four-plus innings. It was the sixth time in his past seven starts he has failed to pitch more than five innings.

Because of Thursday's day off, the Orioles can skip Berken and bring back Rich Hill on regular rest.

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