Friday, June 04, 2010

For Orioles and D-backs: Manager Change?

The Baltimore Orioles have lost eight in a row. The Arizona Diamondbacks have lost ten in a row. When teams are performing that badly, how much blame falls on each team's manager? Will a change in leadership help at this point or are bad teams just going to be bad teams? Are the players still playing hard for them? Is the manager still upbeat and fighting every game for a win? Those are the kinds of questions these two teams will have to decide in the next couple of days or weeks. Let's look at them individually.

Baltimore Orioles - Manager: David Trembley

Analysis: Trembley is in his third year at the helm of those Baltimore Orioles. Though it is somewhat understandable that the team is committed to building from within, the young players like Wieters, Reimold, Adam Jones, Matusz and Bergesen are not growing and are regressing. That doesn't speak well to Trembley or his staff of coaches. Of course it can't be blamed on the manager if veterans brought in like Lugo, Izturis and Atkins all bomb. The bottom line here is that the youth are not being served and the Orioles' record has regressed for the third year in a row under Trembley. There have been some stories out there that the executive branch of the Orioles is considering a change as a mercy killing. In other words, let Trembley go before he has to suffer too much. That, friends, is a smoke screen. A clean sweep of the entire on-field staff needs to occur before these kids get too messed up. After watching most of the last three Orioles - Yankees games, Trembley's body language is terrible. He just stands there stoically in the dugout. Not good. Would Bobby Valentine take this club?

Arizona Diamondbacks - Manager: A. J. Hinch

Analysis: A. J. Hinch is only 36 years old and only six years removed from his rather mediocre playing career. Does he command enough respect to lead this group of young players? And make no mistake about it, the D-Backs are young. When the Diamondbacks won their World Series title in 2001, they were an average age of 31.9. They now average 26.7 years of age. The offense is okay and can improve a lot if Justin Upton gets going and Connor Jackson can get back. Mark Reynolds is off to a slow start as is Chris Young. But their offense (though it leads the lead in strikeouts) is third in the NL in slugging and sixth in OPS. Four of the five starters seem fairly solid. Ian Kennedy has been a nice surprise. Dan Haren has been extremely unlucky as indicated by his 9.1 K/9 and his 5.5 K/BB ratio. He'll be fine. Jackson has been disappointing but has shown signs of the pitcher he should be. Rodrigo Lopez is league average and always has been. But for a fourth starter, that's okay. Everyone they've tried as a fifth starter has bombed. They need a break there. What is really plaguing this team is the relief pitching. How bad is it when Aaron Heilman has been their best reliever? Juan Gutierrez has been historically bad. At his current pace, he'll blow the doors off the record for most homers per nine innings for a relief pitcher as he how has given up ten dingers in 18 innings of work. Wow! The bullpen is the easiest part of a team to fix and if the D-backs can make progress there, they will be a better team in the second half. Hinch should probably finish out the year. But if this losing streak gets any longer, all bets are off.

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