Monday, August 17, 2009

Dog Days

I'm on my way home tonight after (what looks to be) another disappointing Orioles loss, a frustrating start from David Hernandez (30+ pitches in the second inning) and more poor baserunning (this time from Cesar Izturis) underlining two disturbing trends. But let's make two things abundantly clear: 1) Izturis broke a fundamental baserunning rule and 2) Trembley had no choice but to ride Hernandez for as long as possible.

When you're in high school first learning baserunning on the large diamond, you are taught that if the ball is hit on the ground to your right you retreat to 2nd base; Izturis failed to heed that fundamental advice and paid the price. After 13 innings last night (and countless short outings from the rotation in recent weeks), the bullpen is gassed. If the O's were in a pennant race, I suspect that Trembley would have pulled Hernandez sooner; instead he tried to squeeze out a few extra outs and the Angels took advantage.

Unfortunately, with a rotation hampered by ineffectiveness (Guthrie, Berken), injury (Uehara, Bergesen), and usage constraints (Tillman, Matusz), Trembley really has no choice but to try and piece together games until rosters expand. This is likely to result in many more frustrating losses and irate messages from fans on blogs and message boards calling for the heads of Trembley and MacPhail and deeming the rebuilding a failure; don't listen to the nonsense. With the Huff trade today, Reimold and Pie are going to get a chance to play daily, the young starters are getting their feet wet and the plan is on schedule. If the O's are in this same position a year from now we can all hit the panic button. Until then, the club is a work in progress.

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