The Orioles are batting .304 and have scored 21 runs on this road trip, and they’re 1-3 heading into tomorrow.
I thought the offense was the problem. Now it’s the starting pitching and an overworked bullpen?
The defense didn’t do the Orioles any favors in the decisive sixth inning. Nick Markakis got a late break on Adam Kennedy’s sinking liner and failed to make a sliding catch. Should have been an out. Cesar Izturis laid back on Ryan Zimmerman’s bouncer, letting the ball play him and failing to get a clean hold on it initially, and threw late to first. Adam Dunn followed with a two-run single.
Mark Hendrickson didn’t help matters by hitting Cristian Guzman with a pitch before Zimmerman’s infield single.
The Orioles had just taken a 6-3 lead in the top of the inning on Ty Wigginton’s two-run shot. The Nationals had their 7, 8 and 9 hitters stepping to the plate.
Asked why he stayed with Brad Bergesen after five innings and 99 pitches, manager Dave Trembley gave the obvious answer.
“He had the bottom of the lineup coming up. I think everybody knows what our bullpen situation was like going into today’s game, and I had every confidence that he would get the outs there. It didn’t work out for us. Some things worked out for the Nationals today and they found the right spots and they hit the ball in the right areas and we didn’t make a couple plays.” Trembley said.
“You’re in a situation there where you have to go with who you think is your best guy right there. The back end of your bullpen is pretty well beat up. You’ve got some guys who have been extended. You’ve got a guy who’s not available, so you do what you think is the best thing, and for me, Bergesen was my best option.”
Give Bergesen six runs and he’ll win on most days. It didn’t happen on this one.
“If you look at his fly ball-ground ball ratio, it probably wasn’t very good for a guy who’s a sinkerball pitcher,” Trembley said. “Obviously, that’s going to tell you there wasn’t a whole lot of finish on his pitches. He competes, he battles, he had a three-run lead, he had leads the entire ballgame and we didn’t make enough pitches and make enough plays for it to happen.”
Koji Uehara wasn’t available again today, as you know, and his status isn’t expected to change tomorrow.
Could Uehara be headed to the disabled list?
“I think that’s a consideration,” Trembley said. “I talked to (head athletic trainer) Richie Bancells this morning and I was in communication with Andy (MacPhail), so we’ll see what happens. But you would have hated to have to go to (Cla) Meredith today. He’s pitched three days in a row. (Will) Ohman has pitched an awful lot, though if we had tied it up, he would have come in in the ninth. You’re kind of tied. You’ve got to go with your starter maybe a little bit longer than you want to, but that’s the way the game is. Other guys have to step up. You’ve got (Matt) Albers warming up in the bullpen and the last thing you want to do is bring him in. He threw 35 pitches last night, plus you don’t know how effective he’s going to be.”
Talking more about Uehara, Trembley said, “I know Kranny (Rick Kranitz) spoke to him at length today with his interpreter and he didn’t pick up a ball yesterday and he didn’t pick up a ball today, so you guys have followed the club and are smart enough to realize the role that he plays, and when that guys’ not available...I’m not making excuses or anything but it throws the whole bullpen out of whack and you’re putting guys in situations where you’re asking them to do a little bit more or less or you go with another guy a little bit longer. You miss one piece, it’s the same thing as missing your leadoff guy (Brian) Roberts. It throws everything else out of kilter. That’s just the way it is.”