At times during his tenure as Orioles manager, Dave Trembley would walk the streets of Baltimore after a difficult defeat.
Losing weighed on his conscience, to the point where it occasionally caused insomnia, and so it was not unusual for Trembley to see the sun rise after a particularly bad outing, to find himself standing at dawn's first light outside Jimmy's Restaurant, waiting for it to open so he could get breakfast.
That burden now belongs to interim manager Juan Samuel, who inherited Trembley's job Friday after Trembley was fired by Orioles general manager Andy MacPhail. And while it's early, Samuel would be wise to find his own way to cope with the emotional rigors of losing. Because if Friday's 11-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox serves as a reminder of anything, it's that the Orioles have myriad problems that run much deeper than who is, or isn't, managing them.
"Well, we got the first one out of the way for me," said Samuel.
On a night when one might have expected the Orioles to come out energetic and emotional, embarrassed that their play had cost a likable manager his job, the team looked as unfocused and listless as it has at any point during its current nine-game losing streak, which is tied for its longest of the season.
"It wasn't the easiest day, but we're grown men," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. "We can get through things like that. It's just part of the business."
The Orioles managed just five hits against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, who needed only 101 pitches to throw a shutout. On defense, they turned playable balls in the field into charitable hits for Boston and served up hittable pitches when they desperately needed outs. Starting pitcher Chris Tillman offered the night's opening argument for why firing Trembley -- though perhaps as necessary as it was merciful -- was little more than window dressing for a franchise with the worst record in the majors (15-40).
The 22-year-old right hander opened the game by throwing 25 pitches without recording an out. Several times he jumped ahead of Red Sox hitters, only to watch them climb back into the count when he failed to put them away. It was like watching a man swat in frustration at a swarm of mosquitoes and never hit his mark.
"There was lot going on in the clubhouse today," said Tillman. "I tried to keep myself prepared, but it was tough. I didn't really know how to handle it."
Marco Scutaro led off the game with a single, and then Tillman walked Dustin Pedroia despite getting ahead 1-2. He walked David Ortiz to load the bases, and it wasn't until he threw his 26th pitch of the first inning, a 91 mph fastball that Kevin Youkilis swung at and missed, that he recorded his first out.
Any excitement was short-lived. Victor Martinez got Boston on the board with an RBI groundout to first. Despite getting ahead of J.D. Drew 1-2, Tillman, as has been his occasional undoing at the big league level, couldn't summon a pitch that would get him out of a jam. Two pitches later, Drew hammered a letters-high fastball into right-center field for a two-run double, giving Boston a 3-0 lead.
"I think that was the game right there, that one single at-bat," Tillman said. "I had him 1-2, and I missed terribly trying to go away. I threw middle in. When you do that, you are not setting yourself up to throw a decent ballgame or have success."
Samuel, just minutes into his on-field career as Orioles manager, sent word that Mark Hendrickson needed to begin warming up in the bullpen. It took Tillman 38 pitches to get out of the first inning, and when he gave up back-to-back hits to open the second -- a double by Jeremy Hermida and an RBI single by Bill Hall -- Samuel decided he had seen enough. At 7:53 p.m., he strolled to the mound for the first time as a major league manager and sent Tillman to the showers.
"He was one pitch away from getting out of that first inning," Samuel said. "But against a good club, you're going to have to make pitches in key situations."
Behind home plate, a beleaguered Orioles fan held up a sign that read: "Good Luck Juan. You'll need it."
Hendrickson didn't fare much better, although the blame wasn't his alone. He opened the fourth inning by striking out Hall, but Orioles catcher Matt Wieters couldn't handle the pitch, which rolled all the way to the backstop as Hall scampered to first on the passed ball. Scutaro singled, and even though Hendrickson got the next two outs, retiring Pedroia and Ortiz, Youkilis made him pay by crushing a pitch 428 feet into the left-field bleachers for a three-run home run to make it 7-0.
While Boston continued to chip away en route to 16 hits -- Adrian Beltre hit a bases-empty home run off of Matt Albers in the fifth inning, and Scutaro did the same off Frank Mata in the seventh -- Buchholz continued to put zeros on the board. He wasn't so much dominant as the Orioles were overwhelmed by his changeup. He struck out only two batters but didn't give up an extra-base hit and walked just one.
Miguel Tejada (two), Ty Wigginton, Cesar Izturis and Scott Moore were the only Orioles to get a hit, but that only scratches the surface of just how listless the offense been lately. In their past seven games, they've scored just eight total runs.
"We are struggling at the plate," Jones said. "It [stinks] right now; we got our [butt] handed to us tonight."