An eight-game losing streak finally cost Baltimore Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo his job. On Tuesday, the team will look to end the disastrous skid as interim manager Dave Trembley takes over when the Orioles face the San Diego Padres.
Baltimore (29-40) fired Perlozzo on Monday after a 6-4 loss to Arizona a day earlier, the Orioles’ 13th in 15 contests. Before the collapse, the Orioles were 27-27 and in second place in the AL East on May 31, but they’ve since fallen into last.
Perlozzo, who went 122-164 after replacing Lee Mazzilli on Aug. 4, 2005, couldn’t turn around a Baltimore club that’s on a franchise-record run of nine consecutive losing seasons. Trembley, formerly the bullpen coach, has served as a minor league manager in the organization.
“We felt Sam was prepared, we felt the club was prepared to do battle every night,” Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan said. “For whatever reason, it just wasn’t working.
“It’s always based on results. It really gets down to wins and losses and expectations, and believing that this club is better than it looked.”
One of the leading candidates to fill the position on a full-time basis is Joe Girardi, voted NL Manager of the Year in 2006 before being fired after a dispute with ownership. He’s currently working as a broadcaster for the New York Yankees.
Perlozzo was victimized by an underachieving bullpen - one that underwent a pricey overhaul during the offseason - that posted a 5.16 ERA in 67 games to rank among the worst in baseball. Baltimore’s lineup hasn’t been much better, as the Orioles have hit the fewest homers in the AL (50) and sport a .260 batting average that’s near the bottom of the league.
“Sam Perlozzo doesn’t throw the ball and doesn’t catch the ball. We know that for sure, right? He doesn’t hit the ball,” first baseman Kevin Millar said. “He doesn’t play. We play. And we’ve got to find a way to play better.”
They will try to start doing that Tuesday when Steve Trachsel (5-4, 3.94 ERA) tries to help Baltimore avoid its first nine-game slide since Sept. 18-26, 2005, under Perlozzo.
Trachsel started the Orioles’ last win on June 8, a 4-2 victory that began a nine-game homestand with promise before Baltimore dropped the final eight games. The right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings in that contest.
He left his team in position to win again Wednesday, departing with the Orioles up 5-4 after seven innings against Washington, but the bullpen blew the lead and eventually allowed three runs in the top of the 11th in a 9-6 loss.
Orioles relievers finished the 1-8 homestand 0-5 with a 6.00 ERA. They’ll try and bounce back from the awful stretch on the road, where Baltimore has one of the worst records in the majors at 13-21.
Trachsel went 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two starts against San Diego in 2006 as a member of the New York Mets. He’s 7-8 with a 5.31 ERA in 18 career starts against the Padres (40-28).
The NL West leaders are headed in the opposite direction from the Orioles, winning four of their last five, and they’ll send a dominant Jake Peavy (8-1, 1.82) to mound to make his first start against Baltimore.
The right-hander will try to tie his personal best of six consecutive winning decisions in a season set from July 16-Aug. 28, 2004. He got his fifth victory in a row Wednesday, allowing two hits and striking out eight in seven innings of a 9-0 win over Tampa Bay.
“With Peavy on the mound, you know you’re going to get a lot of strikeouts. He’s just a fun guy to be behind,” Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. “I mean, it’s almost that you can put a lawn chair up out there and enjoy the show.”
Peavy leads the NL in ERA, is second in strikeouts (103) and tied for second in wins.
He’ll look to help San Diego build on consecutive victories over the Chicago Cubs, including an 11-3 win Sunday that gave the Padres the three-game set. San Diego hit a season-high five homers in the series finale, two from Mike Cameron.
San Diego lost two of three at Camden Yards in the only meeting between the clubs June 10-12, 2002.