BALTIMORE -- Call it a case of reverse relief psychology.
George Sherrill has begun to pitch better since officially being removed from the closer's role, a development that hasn't gone unnoticed by Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. Sherrill has thrown four straight scoreless innings for Baltimore, and Trembley said the southpaw may just be getting comfortable.
"I'm glad George is motivated. He has pitched better," said Trembley. "I'm hoping we have more save opportunities. We'll see where it goes from there. But I would agree, he has pitched better. I think the word I used last night was he looked more determined. I give the guy credit. He wasn't throwing like he was."
Sherrill, who has six saves in eight chances this season, credited his resurgence to some work done with pitching coach Rick Kranitz. Still, when you examine the particulars, there are reasons for concern. Sherrill has walked a batter in five straight outings and hitters are batting .283 off him this season.
The Orioles will likely continue to turn to Sherrill whenever their opponent has a left-heavy slant in the ninth inning. Otherwise, Chris Ray and Jim Johnson may begin to get more save opportunities.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.