Hoping for a spark, Orioles implode again in Samuel’s managerial debut


It only took the Orioles a few hours to prove what everyone already knew despite the announcement of Dave Trembley being fired on Friday morning.

Trembley wasn’t the one who threw 38 pitches in a three-run first inning that sealed the Orioles’ fate against the Red Sox in an 11-0 loss in front of 30,070 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, many of them Boston fans as has become the custom.

He also wasn’t a member of a lineup that managed just five hits against Clay Buchholz, all singles.

And while his bullpen management constantly came under scrutiny during his tenure in Baltimore, Trembley had no hand in a bullpen that surrendered seven runs when starter Chris Tillman was lifted in the second inning after giving up four runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Who could blame Trembley if he checked the score of the ballgame at some point on Friday evening and breathed a sigh of relief knowing he no longer has to deal with this mess?

Despite Andy MacPhail’s desire for Juan Samuel to ignite a spark—on an interim basis—for a pitiful baseball team, a plethora of grave problems remain regardless of who’s filling out the lineup card and taking those lonely walks to the mound on a nightly basis. A new manager, whether it’s Samuel or whomever MacPhail hires as the permanent replacement, does not replace the 25 players who have posted a 15-40 record in the first two months of 2010.

“Well, we got the first one out of the way for me,” Samuel said after the game. “I saw a few good things. I saw some guys running hard. I also saw a good club [in the Red Sox].”

One down and only 107 (or fewer?) to go for the interim skipper. No problem, right?

Perhaps Samuel will ignite a spark in the coming days for a team that’s lost nine in a row and scored just eight runs in its last seven games, but it’s looking more like a stick of dynamite for an implosion of historic proportions. Much has been said about the Orioles’ 2-16 start to the season, but the club has now gone 3-16 in its last 19 games. The Orioles are now on pace to lose 118 games with a third of the season in the books.

Watching the Red Sox parade around the bases and retire the Orioles lineup with ease on Friday night was a painful example of what we all knew regardless of when Trembley would finally receive that fateful call from MacPhail.

It’s not getting better any time soon.

***Listen to Andy MacPhail, Juan Samuel, Chris Tillman, and Adam Jones in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.***

BALTIMORE — After weeks of speculation and a disastrous 15-39 start in 2010, the hammer finally came down on Dave Trembley on Friday morning as the Orioles fired their manager, replacing him with third base coach Juan Samuel on an interim basis.

With Trembley’s fate now sealed, the scrutiny now falls on the shoulders of Andy MacPhail to find a permanent manager and reinvigorate an organization in the midst of its 13th straight losing season.

“This is never an easy or pleasant task making a managerial change,” MacPhail said. “In my experience, every time you go through one of these, it is a negative reflection on your entire baseball operations department, starting with me and going all the way down the system to our scouts, player development. Obviously, we didn’t do as good a job as we could’ve or we wouldn’t be in the position of having to change managers.”

In his first press conference as manager, Samuel emphasized the need to focus on the “little things” such as fundamentals and hustling, areas for which Trembley drew criticism despite it being a point of emphasis when he was hired in June of the 2007 season.

The former major leaguer spent 16 seasons in the big leagues and was a three-time All-Star. Samuel’s only previous managerial experience was leading the Double-A Binghamton Mets in 2006 before he agreed to become the Baltimore third base coach in 2007.

Samuel has the reputation of being a no-nonsense coach who won’t hesitate to ruffle some feathers in the dugout and clubhouse when necessary. He said he would address the mental lapses that have frequently occurred during a team meeting on Friday afternoon.

“We all know the manager can only do so much,” he said. “At some point, the players have to be accountable.”

Norfolk Tides manager Gary Allenson has been promoted to third base coach and will assume Samuel’s previous coaching duties.

MacPhail said the organization would be talking to two people about the managerial position in the coming days but would not reveal their names or a timetable for when the club expects to have its permanent replacement.

“We need to find the right fit here,” MacPhail said.

Head to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear the entire press conference.

Don’t forget, there will actually be a game this evening, so be sure to join us in the Orange Crush chat tonight at 7:00 p.m., as WNST personalities will discuss tonight’s action from Camden Yards. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and quips about tonight’s game.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 7:05 p.m


4:40 p.m. — Here are tonight’s lineups:

SS Marco Scutaro
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Kevin Youkilis
C Victor Martinez
RF J.D. Drew
3B Adrian Beltre
LF Jeremy Hermida
CF Bill Hall

SP Clay Buchholz (7-3, 2.73 ERA)

LF Corey Patterson
3B Miguel Tejada
RF Nick Markakis
1B Ty Wigginton
DH Luke Scott
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
2B Scott Moore
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.18 ERA)

4:35 p.m. — Samuel just finished his first pre-game chat with the media as interim manager and is currently out on the field throwing batting practice as he did as third base coach. The new manager hopes to continue his on-field duties of pitching batting practice and hitting fungos to infielders despite no longer being a “coach.”

He displayed a good sense of humor when asked about how he plans to tweak this team, saying he didn’t want to give away too many details to the Boston Red Sox. Samuel plans to adjust the lineup to cater to the more aggressive approach he prefers.

While he is only managing the team on an interim basis, Samuel is excited for an opportunity and not thinking about his future beyond the coming days and weeks.

“There’s no pressure on me,” he said. “If you look at our record, that should tell you the only way we can go is up.”

Samuel also said Brian Roberts, scheduled to play in an extended spring training game today, experienced a “minor setback” but would play on Saturday. He did not have any further information on what exactly caused the setback or whether it was related to his back.