After winning their first two games under interim manager Sam Perlozzo, the Baltimore Orioles have returned to their losing ways.
Looking to get off to a good start in trying to win its first series since the All-Star break, Baltimore begins a three-game set with the last-place Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
The Orioles fired manager Lee Mazzilli on Thursday with the team mired in an eight-game losing streak and still reeling from Rafael Palmeiro’s positive drug test.
Baltimore made Perlozzo the interim manager for the remainder of the season, with the announcement coming just two hours before its game at Anaheim.
The Orioles went out and beat the Angels 4-1 to end their skid, then topped Texas 10-5 the next night for their first winning streak in nearly a month.
Baltimore, however, went on to lose to the Rangers on Saturday and Sunday by a combined 19-6 score, and fell to 0-6-1 in seven series since the break.
“We came off a game where we scored 10 runs and all of a sudden we’re struggling to get a two-out RBI or a one-out RBI,” Perlozzo said. “And then we get behind. The innings we get people on, we can’t do anything because we’re down 4-0.”
Baltimore has allowed an average of 5.7 runs in going 6-18 since the break.
“We need to turn this thing around and get the pitching back to square one to give us a shot,” Perlozzo said. “Right now, we’re playing station to station and that’s not exactly what I’d like to see us do.”
One of the Orioles’ recent series losses came to the Devil Rays, who swept a three-game set in Tampa from July 22-24. The Devil Rays, however, are struggling on their current road trip.
Tampa Bay won 14 of its first 19 games after the break, but has lost three of its last four on its season high-tying 12-game trip.
The Devil Rays, tied with Kansas City for the AL’s worst road record at 15-41, lost 10-4 to the Angels on Sunday. Tampa Bay’s staff walked nine, raising the team’s AL-leading total to 445.
“Hey, listen, we’ve seen this movie before. Don’t think this is the first time we’ve been to the theater and sat down and watched this,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “You keep hoping these kids harness their control and give themselves a chance. There’s a reason we lead the league in walks.
“What happens, invariably, is that you’re pitching behind in the count all the time, the umpire gets tired and he starts calling the questionable pitches balls. Now, all of a sudden, the hitter gets a nice fillet to hit.”