BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Dave Trembley loved the chess match that was the ninth inning of Monday's 4-3 loss to Kansas City. The results? Not so much, and Trembley is beginning to wonder why people think there may be some solace in coming up on the short end of a well-played game.
"It doesn't make it any less tolerable for me or for anybody else," Trembley said. "Guys are here to win. ... I don't think you feel any better about losing because you played a good game."
Equally frustrating to the Orioles' skipper is listening to the same questions over and over again as reporters try to dissect what's wrong with his club. Why isn't the team hitting, particularly with runners in scoring position? Why do there seem to be so many fundamental baserunning mistakes? Can Trembley really trust a rookie closer? How do his starting pitchers feel when their hard work goes for naught when the bullpen doesn't do its job?
"There's a very fine line between winning and losing, and there has been a lot of those occasions," Trembley said.
What was once a promising start to an eight-game homestand is a distant memory. Baltimore needed to win Tuesday's game against the Royals to split the extended stay at Camden Yards.
"The homestand started off real good," Trembley said. "We won two out of three and it looked like we were headed for a very successful homestand. It turned quickly like the game does. ... Right now, we're trying to catch up for it."
Look at Baltimore's standing in virtually any statistical category and it's easy to see why there is concern. The Orioles entered Tuesday 7-11 in games decided by two runs or fewer and 2-16 when the opposition scores first. Ninth-inning comebacks have been nonexistent; Baltimore was 0-22 when trailing after eight innings following Monday's defeat.
In Trembley's eyes, the only thing that would mitigate the tough start to the season would be some additions in the win column where, at 12-27 entering Tuesday, the Orioles were a season-high-tying 15 games under .500. Baltimore's .308 winning percentage was the lowest in baseball, and the Orioles trailed the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East by 15 1/2 games.
"I think the only thing ... that gets you through is to win," Trembley said. "You take no satisfaction in patting yourself on the back and saying, 'Well, I did everything I possibly could, but we lost.' It's a team thing. You stay behind your players. I have a lot of confidence in all of them. I'm not stopping believing in any of them."
Frustration led to Jones' show of emotion
BALTIMORE -- Orioles outfielder Adam Jones acknowledges that he's frustrated by his lack of success at the plate, an admission that helps to explain an uncharacteristic display of negative emotion in Monday night's loss to Kansas City.
With the tying run on first base and the Orioles trailing the Royals by a run in the eighth inning, Jones bounced into an inning-ending, around-the-horn double play. When he crossed first base, Jones took off his helmet and threw it at his feet in disgust, only to have it sail down the right-field line. He retrieved the helmet, delaying his between-innings jog to center field.
"It is frustrating," Jones said Tuesday. "I wouldn't have thrown it if I wasn't [frustrated]."
Privately, Jones later clarified that he had not winged his helmet down the line. Instead, because of the wet field, it bounced at his feet and skidded away.
Jones is hitting .245, about 20 points lower than his career average. Because the Orioles are without the injured Brian Roberts, Jones has moved around the batting order, hitting first, second, fifth, sixth and seventh at different times this season.
"It's tough," Jones said. "You just got to work out of it."
Manager Dave Trembley isn't worried about Jones and wasn't ready before Tuesday's game against the Royals to criticize the outburst from a 24-year-old who has emerged as one of the Orioles' leaders. For now, Trembley will excuse the incident as an out-of-character reaction.
"I think it's an emotional game," Trembley said. "People that are very passionate about what they do, I don't have a problem with it."
Jones was just happy that there's another game right away, an opportunity to put past failures behind him and move on to hopefully better results.
"You play football, you've got a full week to think about it," Jones said. "We've got 24 hours to think about it. So yesterday's game is gone."
Hernandez will face Nationals on Friday
BALTIMORE -- Orioles right-hander David Hernandez threw his normal side session on Tuesday afternoon with no right shoulder discomfort and will make his next scheduled start Friday.
Hernandez had been experiencing a pinching sensation in his right shoulder for the past two weeks that had progressively gotten worse, and the Orioles chose to err on the side of caution and skip his scheduled outing Sunday.
"Obviously he was feeling [the discomfort] on a regular basis and he felt much better [on Monday]," pitching coach Rick Kranitz said. "And that tells me that we made the right decision."
After watching Hernandez's side session, Kranitz said everything looked normal and that he was confident the right-hander would be ready to go against Friday's opponent, the Washington Nationals. Hernandez, who also played catch pain-free on Monday, echoed the sentiment.
"I progressed and got a little better [during Tuesday's session] and felt good," Hernandez said. "I wasn't really waiting for anything to flare up or anything, I was just making sure I was able to get into [the] right arm slot, which I haven't been able to do consistently because of my shoulder."
Hernandez will make his eighth start of the season in the Orioles' Interleague opener, and in the interim, he will continue to get treatment on his arm and make extra stretching a priority. Although he was initially hesitant to bring his shoulder issue to the team's attention, in retrospect, Hernandez thinks he made the right choice.
"I really do think not starting on Sunday really would've helped me, because I feel if I probably would have started, I would have been at 60 or 70 percent," Hernandez said. "Then it would have been the same cycle over and over. I guess it was a really good thing to give me 10 days, really, between starts. I feel a lot better."
Hernandez went 0-5 with a 5.84 ERA through his first seven starts.
Trembley weighs in on Marlins' Ramirez
BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Dave Trembley considers Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez a personal friend and was not happy to hear that Florida star shortstop Hanley Ramirez had lost respect for Gonzalez.
Ramirez -- who was pulled from Monday's Marlins game for not hustling -- also said Gonzalez didn't fully understand because "he never played in the big leagues."
"Your stripes are not earned in any other way other than the respect you get from the amount of time, energy and effort you put into this game," said Trembley, who is just the eighth Major League manager to never play professionally. "It's unfortunate that that kind of stuff gets put out there and gets put in headlines.
"I find it rather interesting that when someone does something that's not very responsible, that instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, they call out maybe some of the biographical things of someone else. To me, that's rather cheap."
Trembley acknowledged that Ramirez, a two-time All-Star, is a special talent and a remarkable player. But the Orioles manager thought perhaps Ramirez should have stood up and taken some accountability.
"If somebody doesn't hustle, if there's something wrong, maybe they should stand up and say, 'I [messed] it up,'" Trembley said. "Don't put the blame on Fredi Gonzalez and call him out because he didn't play in the big leagues. Wow."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for and Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.