Looking to snap his squad -- and his struggling right fielder -- out of their funk, Orioles manager Buck Showalter on Wednesday busted out a bizarre lineup that brought back memories of Crazy Uncle Dave Trembley's final weeks in Baltimore (when Trembley was scrambling to resuscitate his team and save his job).
Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero got the afternoon off, Felix Pie played in right field and Nick Markakis was moved to the infield and started at first base for the first time since high school.
"It gives me a chance to really excite Nicky," Showalter explained after the game. "He keeps [asking]. This started a long time ago. You know, sometimes it's kind of good for a team just to get something a little out of the ordinary that we haven't had every day. And maybe we are in need of that."
Markakis went 0-for-4 at the plate and couldn't come up with a high throw from Mark Reynolds in the sixth inning, but Showalter was confident enough in him to keep him in the game in the ninth inning when the Orioles were clinging to a one-run lead.
The Orioles beat the Mariners, 2-1, to snap their five-game losing streak. When the Orioles return home on Friday, we'll see if getting Markakis out of his comfort zone also got him out of his malaise.
"It felt good," he said Wednesday. "It was definitely a change, but you're in the game a lot more. You definitely got to pay attention to what's going on. Overall, I felt comfortable over there."
On the Orioles Insider blog, Jeff Zrebiec wrote that we shouldn't read into Showalter's switcheroo. The Orioles aren't shopping Luke Scott or first baseman Derrek Lee, who will return from the disabled list soon. And Markakis doesn't have a dead arm.
But you know that here at the Baltimore Sports Blitz, we encourage speculation, and the more ridiculously rampant, the better.
Your turn: Do you think Showalter was simply trying to shake thing up by moving Markakis to first base or would you like to theorize about a potential conspiracy? Also, how do you think Markakis did out there, and do you think this will snap him out of his funk?