BALTIMORE -- Leading up to the Orioles' dismissal of Dave Trembley on Friday, several players spoke out about their much-maligned manager taking all the criticism for a 15-39 start.
"We're the ones that throw the ball, we are the ones that swing the bats and catch the ball," designated hitter Luke Scott said. "All the manager can do is put his best nine out there."
Scott was among several players who defended Trembley amid speculation about his job status during the O's current eight-game losing streak, which included back-to-back sweeps on the road against division rivals Toronto and New York.
"It's not his fault," Scott said. "What can you say? It's a very difficult game. It's unfair in a lot of aspects [to put all the blame on Trembley]. All you can do is focus on tomorrow."
"We haven't played good," veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood added. "I don't see it. I don't see how most of that is [Trembley's] fault."
Hired for his extensive Minor League work and emphasis on fundamentals, Trembley was given a chance to help develop and nurture the O's growing young talent for the past 2 1/2 seasons. But Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail made it clear this spring that Trembley would be judged on wins and losses, calling this season "Phase 2" of the organization's rebuilding plan."
The Orioles got off to a 2-16 start, the second-worst mark in franchise history, and have struggled to crawl out of that hole. They have been outscored by opponents 271-180, and are coming off a disappointing three-game set in which they were outscored by New York 18-5.
When asked if the uncertainty surrounding Trembley has perhaps affected their on-field play these last few weeks, several players denied the claim.
"It shouldn't have any bearing," Ty Wigginton said. "We should take it upon ourselves to prepare and get ready to go and go out there and compete. You play this game to get Ws."
"[Trembley] is doing the best he can to get us to play better baseball," Miguel Tejada said following Sunday's sweep at Toronto. "I know they always blame the manager, but I think we as players, we have to start to pick it up."
The O's will now have to pick it up for Juan Samuel, the former All-Star who was promoted from third-base coach to interim manager. MacPhail is expected to begin a search for Trembley's long-term replacement immediately.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.