O's going through a defensive funk

O's going through a defensive funk

BALTIMORE -- For a fundamental-minded manager like Dave Trembley, nothing hurts as much as subpar defense. Baltimore's manager spent the winter talking about his team's defense, highlighting additions like shortstop Cesar Izturis and catcher Gregg Zaun as missing elements that could help stabilize the Orioles.

Through one-sixth of the season, it certainly hasn't broken down that way. Baltimore ranks 28th in the Majors in defensive efficiency, and only one other team (Washington) has a worse fielding percentage. The Orioles also have the third-most errors (21) in the league, but Trembley thinks it's a trend that will pass.

"I'm hoping that it's something that is temporary and resolves itself as we play more and as maybe each game doesn't seem to be as crucial and as pivotal on every pitch, every play, every at-bat," said Trembley. "It seems like every opportunity that goes by the board and is missed comes back to haunt us. ... I'm not making excuses. That's the facts. We have been a victim of our mistakes. We've been our own worst enemy."

Strangely enough, Baltimore doesn't seem to have a huge discrepancy in the win column. The Orioles are 5-7 when they make no errors and 4-6 when they make at least one miscue. Baltimore is also 1-3 when it makes at least two errors and 0-1 when it makes three or more, and the errors have come from all over the field.

Izturis, a former Gold Glove Award winner, has made four errors in the early going. Nick Markakis has three errors -- equaling his total from last season -- and Zaun has equaled him in that department. Four other Orioles have at least two errors, and Trembley thinks that his players are pressing too hard to get the job done.

To prove his point, Trembley mentioned an anecdote from Tuesday's game. The Orioles made two errors on a single play in that game -- one by Zaun on a throw to second base and one by Adam Jones on a throw to third -- to gift a run to Tampa Bay. And in the aftermath, Jones told Trembley he had no business making the throw.

Now, Trembley wants him to take that critical eye out to center field and not put too much pressure on any given play. The challenge, as far as he sees it, is to give the opposition as little extra life as possible.

"I think everybody is trying to catch up and make up -- in one play, one pitch and one at-bat -- things that we have no control over anymore and have already been put in the books," Trembley said. "Flush them, get them out of your system, let it go and let's start new. I'm hoping tonight begins that process, especially these next seven games at home. I think it would be a very good way to get back to playing up to our capabilities instead of down."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.