More ineffective bullpenning from Trembley. More later...
Follow Up: Sorry I couldn't post this last night, but it is much easier to type on a real keyboard than on my BlackBerry while trying to watch the game. Last night's mistake was a relatively minor one, but an obvious error nonetheless. After the 8th inning, Brad Bergesen, who had pitched very well, had thrown, I believe, 98 pitches. Aside from his start at New York two weeks ago when he threw 107 pitches over 6.1 innings, 98 was his highest pitch count of the season and 8.0 innings was easily his longest outing. Plus, the heart of the Detroit order was due up: Polanco, Ordonez, and Cabrera. Assuming that you, as manager, will allow Bergesen to begin the 9th inning--a decision with which I completely agree--it would be reasonable to anticipate that Bergesen may get into a bit of trouble. After all, he's reaching uncharted territory on his pitch count and the Tigers are sending their best hitters to the plate. Thus, any manager thinking ahead would have his next pitcher ready to enter the game on a moment's notice, correct? Well, this is where we discover Dave Trembley may not always be thinking ahead.
While the Orioles batted in the bottom of the 8th, I commented that the Orioles bullpen was very quiet. "I agree that Bergesen should start the 9th, but what if he gets in trouble? Two runners on and a quick 3-run homer makes this a completely different ballgame. Shouldn't the Orioles have someone hot at the start of the inning?" Once Bergesen went back out for the 9th, Trembley apparently realized the exact same thing and Jim Johnson began to throw in the bullpen. Predictably, Placido Polanco laced the first pitch of the inning for a double to left and it was obvious that Trembley needed to stall. Following some planned wandering around the mound by Bergesen, out comes the pitching coach. After the umpire breaks up the conference, and Bergesen--who is an exceptionally quick worker on the mound--begins to pitch to Magglio Ordonez. Of course, at this point his rhythm has been disrupted due to the forced stalling in order to get a reliever loose. Ordonez worked a 2-2 count and ground a single through the third base side and runners were on the corners. Unfortunately, Johnson still wasn't quite loose, so more stalling was needed. At last, Trembley emerges from the dugout to pull his starter; Bergesen gets a well-deserved standing ovation, Johnson retires the side and the Orioles win. We all go home happy, but a few minutes later than necessary.
This may seem minor, but what if Johnson had come in and walked his first batter or given up a quick double? Or had shown in the bullpen an inability to get the ball over the plate today? By not planning ahead--even by just two or three minutes--Trembley could have turned an easy win into a nailbiter. I think that Trembley is just the right guy to have in charge as the club gets younger; he stated in the paper just a few days ago that he enjoys the teaching aspects of his job most. Look at the progress made by Adam Jones and Nick Markakis and at the intensity with which the team plays on a daily basis with Trembley at the helm and it is difficult to argue that he isn't a good fit for a rebuilding team. Unfortunately, I do not think he possesses the skills that will be necessary to guide the Orioles to contention once all the young talent is established. I hope that Andy MacPhail--and Dave Trembley--can see his shortcomings and that there is a succession plan in place.