Well, manager Dave Trembley sure made up for last night’s abbreviated post-game session with the media.
No real news came out of it. David Hernandez threw his bullpen session - I’ll check on him once the clubhouse opens again to the media at 5:30 p.m. - and he’s still scheduled to make his next start. Reliever Michael Gonzalez is still scheduled to throw one inning in Thursday’s extended spring training game in Sarasota and will stay there a while longer before embarking on a minor league rehab assignment, which lasts a maximum of 30 days for a pitcher.
We discussed the thin line between feeling better about this team and wondering how much worse it can get - a blown save on Saturday, two failed attempts to drive in the tying and winning runs in the ninth inning last night. Nail down those games and we’re focusing more about the Orioles’ improvement after their horrid 2-16 start.
“The homestand started off real good,” Trembley said. “We won two out of three and looked like we were headed for a very successful homestand, and it turns quickly, like the game does. It turned quickly with the blown save on Saturday. And now we’re trying to catch up for it.”
Trembley said he’d bunt Corey Patterson again with two on and no outs in the ninth inning “100 times out of 100.”
“You’re best hitter at the particular time, who’s been the best hitter on this club, he was up, (Ty) Wigginton,” Trembley said. “I’ve been accused of the other thing before. If anybody says Trembley was out to lunch on that one, I would beg to differ. But I don’t care. That was baseball at its purest form right there. It’s Baseball 101, and beautifully done by our guys.
“Whether you win or lose, it was a beautiful inning the way it unfolded. It worked for them, but hey, I’ve been on the other side, as well. It was an emotional, exciting part of the game right there. That’s gut-wrenching on both sides. You could hear a pin drop. Man, it’s one on one right there, baby. That’s the game. That’s what you live for. You live for that stuff.”
Trembley was asked about his lineup options. He’s thought about all of them. He also recognized when he was being pressed about starting Garrett Atkins again, though nobody uttered the first baseman’s name.
It was coming, but it hadn’t happened yet.
The final clue came when Trembley was asked whether he preferred keeping Wigginton at second base.
“I don’t know if that’s the proper terminology,” he said. “I think what you may be referring to is, why is Atkins still playing first base. That is my choice. That is my choice.”
Trembley is figuring how to keep Luke Scott’s bat in the lineup during the weekend interleague series in Washington. With Corey Patterson in left field, that leaves first base.
Trembley didn’t seem overly concerned about Adam Jones putting his frustration on full display last night by firing his batting helmet down the right field line.
“”I think it’s an emotional game and people that are very passionate about what they do, I don’t have a problem with it,” Trembley said.
As for Lou Montanez being glued to the bench, Trembley said, “I can’t guarantee playing time in that situation. Our need was to get a leadoff hitter and we got Patterson here and I think he’s done tremendous. And if that has not given Monty an opportunity to play, that’s just part of it. It’s a situation where we need a leadoff hitter. Patterson has done very well.”
How should the Orioles approach Royals starter Zack Greinke tonight - with patience or aggression?
“You want him to get the ball over the plate,” Trembley said. “I think you’re caught sometimes with getting deep in the count. Obviously, you’d like to say, ‘Let’s have everybody go up there and see if you can get his pitch count up as high as you can,’ but how many people would love to hit against Greinke with two strikes? That’s like, pick your poison.
“You’ve got to be aggressive, and yet, you’ve got to be under control. You’ve got to make him put it in the strike zone, bring the ball up, and don’t miss mistakes that he makes. He won’t make very many. That’s why he is who he is. But when he does make a mistake, you better whack it. And if you get an opportunity to score, you better take advantage of it, because the great ones, if you let them off the hook, they get a second life.”