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O's roster ideal for Interleague success

O's roster ideal for Interleague success

BALTIMORE -- There may be many reasons, but there is no debate. The Orioles tied their best record in Interleague Play with an 11-7 record in 2009, a mark that comes as a slight surprise given the team's history. The club is 101-128 all-time in Interleague Play and 56-60 against National League teams at Camden Yards.

But now, the O's may have a case where they have a roster ideally suited for NL play. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley shared that feeling Monday, one day after his team had completed its Interleague slate.

"I think we have more versatile players," said Trembley. "I think our bench is deeper. I think we're able to match up better with some right- and left-handed hitters. We have some very good situational guys in the bullpen."

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Trembley could say that despite not having a situational southpaw on his relief staff. Baltimore has gone through Jamie Walker and Alberto Castillo in that category and may not experiment with another left-hander until after the All-Star break. For now, Trembley has a cast of hard-throwing right-handed relievers.

Brian Bass, Matt Albers and Danys Baez give Trembley a trio of righties that are able to work multiple innings in front of late-game options Jim Johnson and George Sherrill. A bigger factor for Trembley and the Orioles has been the presence of multi-use reserves like Ty Wigginton, Oscar Salazar and even Felix Pie.

Trembley has been able to mix and match his lineups, tailoring his lineup to the opposing pitcher and the game situation. He's been able to keep his starters fresh, a trend that should bode well late in the season. And he's watched as his lineup moves have worked out to the tune of a .291 batting average in Interleague Play.

The Orioles scored 5.1 runs per game against the NL and had 50 extra-base hits in 18 games. Their pitchers were effective, too, working to a 4.01 ERA against NL opponents. Baltimore's starters completed at least six innings eight times in 18 outings during the Interleague schedule.

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

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