If the Orioles are going to lose 7 out of 8 games, they should at least do it in style. And since they slept through most of those losses, last night's 8-4 loss at least provided some action, even if it didn't exactly translate into runs.
Last night, the Orioles and Tigers traded beanballs and nearly came to fisticuffs after the tigers plunked Tejada and then the O's drilled Gary Sheffield. Daniel Cabrera had to be held back from Sheffield, and that's probably a good thing since Sheffield and his steroid-sculpted frame would have probably throttled Cabrera, who is a towering force on the mound, but just a tall drink of water when it comes to throwing down. And with Jared Wright having had his second cup of coffee in Baltimore before being sent back to the DL, the O's could ill-afford losing another starting pitcher.
If anything good can come from a near melee, it's that the O's at least showed some fire and energy. Well, most of them anyway. You'd think that the team's manager would be spitting fire in such a situation, but when words were exchanged between teams, and Jim Leyland was practically shouting directly into the Orioles' dugout, Sam Perlozzo looked like the puny kid who hides inside a locker when a fight is brewing.
You won't find many people who think Sam Perlozzo is a good manager, just when it comes to making general baseball moves, but now there is even less to say good about him. After Mazzilli lost the clubhouse, the players turned to Perlozzo as their leader. Shortly afterward, Mazzilli was fired and Perlozzo was made manager. Sadly it looks like it's come full circle for Perlozzo.
If a manager doesn't have his team's back when the other team's manager is shouting directly at them, what are the players going to think? If Perlozzo hasn't lost the clubhouse yet, last night could be the start of the chain reaction we look back to in July when the Orioles are 20 games out of first place and people are calling for Perlozzo's head. And if the players were truly for Perlozzo, last night had to at least put some doubt into their heads.
Then you've got Kevin Millar complaining to the media about his lack of playing time, and essentially being platooned with Jay Gibbons. That's more like it, Kevin! Remind the team of why they brought you here, for good chemistry! Nothing brings a team together like an aging veteran complaining about his playing time!
To be fair, Millar was one of the better players on the team until he lost his playing time when Payton came back. Despite slumping during his inconsistent playing time since then, he still leads the team in walks and is second to Tejada in OBP. Meanwhile, Payton hasn't gotten a extra basehit since coming back from the DL, and Gibbons looks completely lost at the plate.
If anyone deserves to be playing out of these 3 players, it's Millar. And hey, he did that cool Ray Lewis dance on opening day!
So color me happy. There is nothing worse than the O's sleepwalking through a losing streak. But when you've got players complaining, managers failing to back up their team, and fights nearly breaking out, things get interesting.
And hey, it's only May 1st!