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You know your baseball season has gone south when the fan -- and player -- talk goes from the standings to a death watch on the manager's job.

I'm going to take Kevin Millar's lead today. The Oriole first baseman-DH, normally a light-hearted spirit, was anything but yesterday and plans to hold a players-only meeting in San Diego when the team gets there for a series beginning tomorrow.

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It would be easy to crack wise about the Orioles losing their eighth straight and being a season-worst 11-below .500. But yesterday's 6-4 loss to Arizona may not have just been another defeat. It could have been Sam Perlozzo's final one as manager.

Why today? There's a day off, the team is headed on a road trip to the West Coast, and it just seems that front offices take advantage of natural breaks like this to make this type of change.

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The players are saying the obvious, that Perlozzo doesn't pitch, field or hit. But that really won't make a difference. When things seem as hopeless as they are right now for the Orioles, someone has to be held accountable.

But here's a sobering thought. If you had to pick a single reason for why the Orioles are in this fix, the answer would be obvious. The bullpen. And that's the same bullpen that was assembled by the front office in the offseason for $42 million.

So I pose this question: If owner Peter Angelos won't trust Perlozzo to manage this year's team, why should he trust his current personnel decision-makers to assemble next year's club?

* In keeping with our new practice of highlighting someone's else's lowlights as long as the Orioles are on their current skid, the Chicago White Sox are now 4-17 in their last 21 games after losing, 8-7, to Pittsburgh yesterday. Chicago's Jim Thome hit what appeared to be a three-run homer that would have given the White Sox the lead in the top of the ninth, but Pirates outfielder Jason Bay tracked it down and leaned up against the wall to snag the deep fly.

Said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen: "When we score runs, we don't pitch. When we pitch, we don't score runs. Everything's a mess."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

* And at the U.S. Open, the winner was -- Oakmont Country Club. The surviving player was Angel Cabrera, of Argentina, at 5-over par. Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk were both a stroke back. Woods had a chance to tie but saw an impossible putt with an enormous left-hand break fail to find the hole on 18. Over the weekend, Cabrera hit just nine fairways but played some spectacular iron shots. More later.

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