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."