ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- All the losses and the uncertainty eat at Dave Trembley, keeping him up late into the night and pulling him awake in the early hours of the morning. Each day seems to bring another agonizing defeat and more speculation that he is nearing the end of his tenure as Orioles manager.
Trembley's fate will be decided by president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail in the next seven to 10 days, and until then, the embattled manager says he'll do what he has always done: stay positive, work hard and try to help his team win a few more.
"You worry about it, but you try not to show it," Trembley said. "I can only imagine how difficult this has been for a whole lot of other people other than just myself. It's been difficult for the people that have loved the Baltimore Orioles for a long time. It's been difficult for the fans. I've been treated wonderfully by people here, gotten tremendous encouragement. But I also understand the other side of it. There's a lot of frustration. You're always going to be tested, in good times and in bad times. It has been challenging, but I've done my best not to take it personal."
The Orioles blew another late lead and dropped Monday night's series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-6. It was their 11th straight loss, and they need to go 3-3 the rest of the way to avoid joining the 1954 and 1988 Orioles as the only 100-loss clubs in team history.
Trembley's frustration reached it peak Monday night when he was asked about how difficult it is to have a prolonged losing streak with his job status up in the air.
"I've never put myself ahead of anybody," he said. "I don't feel sorry for myself. We do the very best we can. If you've seen our club, my responsibility is to prepare them to play hard, be professional, be responsible, put guys in the situations where I think they would be successful. And if anybody would have the guys to step up and tell me I haven't done that, I'd tell them they're full of [crap]."
MacPhail has said for months that the club won't make a decision on Trembley's option for 2010 until either the last weekend of the season or a couple of days after it ends. He reaffirmed that Sunday, before the Orioles were hammered, 9-0, by the Cleveland Indians to complete a series sweep.
MacPhail met with Orioles owner Peter Angelos last week to discuss Trembley's status, but he continues to say little about the situation.
The current losing streak certainly won't help Trembley, who is about to complete his second full season at the helm of the Orioles. MacPhail has talked repeatedly about the importance of avoiding a late-season swoon, which has became an annual rite for the Orioles. He made it clear Sunday that he isn't pleased with the way the club has played on its current 10-game road trip, dropping all six games to the Toronto Blue Jays and Indians, two teams that have as little to play for as the Orioles.
When asked how much the recent slide will affect Trembley's evaluation, MacPhail said, "Everything always counts, but at the same time, we have to be smart enough and fair enough to understand the underlying factors."
Those factors include season-ending injuries to pitchers Brad Bergesen, Koji Ue-hara and Kam Mickolio, and outfielders Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold.
MacPhail also traded one-time All-Star closer George Sherrill, a move that has staggered an already vulnerable bullpen, for two prospects who won't help the major league club until next year at the earliest.
He jettisoned cleanup hitter Aubrey Huff. The Orioles have shut down prized rookie pitcher Brian Matusz and will hold back Chris Tillman from making his last start.
Not wanting to make excuses, Trembley focuses on the opportunities that so many young players have gotten, not the circumstances he is forced to confront with an often-overmatched roster. He said he will not campaign for his option to be picked up.
Bullpen fails; O's lose 11th straight PG 5