The Oriole players, who have so much respect and admiration for Juan Samuel, wanted so badly to send the interim manager off with a victory. Instead, they did the same things that they've done all year and lost 5-4 to the Kansas City Royals to fall to 32-73 on the season. They are now on pace to finish with a 49-113 record.
Kevin Millwood allowed three first-inning runs among five runs total over 5 2/3 innings. The offense went just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and had men on first and second in the ninth with no outs against All-Star closer Joakim Soria. Nick Markakis promptly swings at the first pitch and then grounds into a double play. Two batters later, Royals second baseman Chris Getz makes a diving stop of Luke Scott's potential game-tying single and throws him out to end the game, and Samuel's tenure.
He finished with a 17-34 record.
“You wish it would have ended differently with a few more wins here, but we have nothing to be ashamed of,” said Samuel who will be replaced by Buck Showalter. “These guys played hard. All these games came down to the last at-bat and that’s all you can hope for.”
Well, you can hope for a few clutch hits, a few more early zeroes being put up in the early innings and a few more shutdown relief appearances, but I guess that's asking for too much.
“It’s tough, but we busted our butts. We gave him what we got,” said Markakis. “We just came up short. That’s baseball.”
Samuel will meet with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail tomorrow morning and he's expected to inform him that he's stepping down, rather than staying on Showalter's staff as the third base coach. It's not impossible that MacPhail or Showalter could convince him differently, but it will take quite an effort as Samuel's mind appears pretty well made up.
“I enjoyed my time here," Samuel said. "It was nothing but a good experience. It puts [my name] out there a little more knowing that I can do this. I appreciate the opportunity that I got here. There’s nothing but positives out of this.”