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Trembley could be on borrowed time

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Nostradamus I am not.

At the moment I am trying to figure out which was a worse prediction, me betting Sports Network Golf Editor Jim Brighters that Phil Mickelson would miss the cut at the Masters, or me tabbing Baltimore Orioles' skipper Dave Trembley as my preseason pick for American League Manager of the Year.

As I write this, the Orioles are off to their worst start since opening the 1988 campaign with 21 straight losses, falling in eight of their first nine games after a winless six-game homestand.

Things don't get any easier for the Orioles, as they head west for seven games as part of a 10-game road trip that concludes with a three-game stop in Boston.


The Orioles are off to their worst start since opening the 1988 campaign with 21 straight losses.
My next prediction: When the Orioles return home on April 27 to face the New York Yankees, they will have a new manager at the helm.

Too early to pull the trigger? Perhaps, but for a team that entered the year with real expectations, albeit tempered ones, there was some hope. This team has shown nothing, and more importantly, from a business standpoint it appears as if the fan base is abandoning the ship.

It is hard to blame Orioles fans who have had to endure 12 straight losing seasons, but losing is almost becoming acceptable in Baltimore. The team drew a whopping 33,108 fans for their most recent three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays, including a Camden Yards-low 9,129 announced attendance for the series-opener.

Things were so bad at Camden Yards for Wednesday's 9-1 loss, that fans were spotted throughout the sparse crowd with bags over their heads.

I know it's only April, but something has to change, and whether it's warranted or not, it is the manager who always seems to pay the price. Honestly, they probably shouldn't have brought Trembley back for this season. Let's not forget this is a team that went through a 13-game losing streak last September before closing out the year with four straight wins.

If they truly wanted to start anew, they should have done so with a new manager.

The Orioles haven't shown anything to suggest that they are going to put it together out west, then they start a brutal stretch of 12 consecutive games against the Red Sox and Yankees followed by a four-game trip in Minnesota. If Trembley survives the West Coast swing, he will never escape the 16-game stretch that follows it.

Nobody expected the Orioles to compete for an AL East title this year. But people did expect them to at least compete, something they haven't seemed to do through their first nine games.

The team has stopped listening to Trembley. But then again, he can't really be blamed for all that has gone wrong. He didn't know new closer Mike Gonzalez would land on the disabled list after two awful appearances. It is not Trembley's fault that his All-Star second baseman and team leader Brian Roberts is shelved with back problems that will probably hinder him all season.

Most importantly, though, it is not Trembley's fault that this team has been absolutely dreadful at the plate. Following Wednesday's debacle, the O's are a putrid .152 (10-for-66) with runners in scoring position, while managing just 10 runs in their last five games.

He can be blamed for the team not caring, which if you saw Wednesday's loss, seemed to be the case. The team has taken on the identity of the fans. They fall behind and you almost know it is over. It kind of reminds me of what went on with the New York Mets right before Willie Randolph was fired in 2008.

Team President Andy MacPhail is as classy and savvy a baseball man as there is. He has said all the right things on this matter, but this one may not be his call. If this team falters and attendance continues to drop, owner Peter Angelos will get antsy.

Getting to .500 was a goal coming into the season. There is talent on this team. They can still get there, but it won't be with Trembley.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.