Although we're only two weeks into the Oakland Athletics 2011 season, it's never too early to start assessing the performance of anybody on the team, whether it be individual players or manager Bob Geren. Over at Athletics Nation, Nico put together a rundown of the good, the bad, and the ugly as it relates to A's manager Bob Geren. In assessing Geren's performance, the ugly in Nico's analysis focused on bullpen performance:
Bullpen management. Though I personally believe Geren has managed the bullpens reasonably well in the past overall, this year has been nothing short of ridiculous. Specifically:
* Craig Breslow, who pitched poorly at the end of an abbreviated spring training and entered the season clearly behind his peers, was thrown into a tie game, and asked to pitch on back-to-back days on the season's second day.
* Bobby Cramer has been entrusted with a tie game in extra innings when Balfour was available, but not with a 6-1 lead when Balfour was tired and Fuentes was exhausted.
The bullpen has been short-handed due to the absence of closer Andrew Bailey and that has certainly impacted the roles of the rest of the bullpen. However, the manner in which Geren has used Fuentes and Balfour, as well as those further down the depth chart has been a bit baffling at times. On Friday night, after Balfour secured the final out of the eighth inning, Geren went to Fuentes in the ninth.
I understand Fuentes is acting in the closer role, but given the temporary nature of it, why not just stick with the pertinent matchups or go with the Fuentes four-out save as Nico suggested? The decisions with the bullpen have been baffling dating back to the excessive use of Craig Breslow early in the season. Breslow had limited time in spring training due to injuries and suddenly you're rolling him out there like he's online with the rest of the bullpen? It's just a baffling decision.
Head over to Nico's AN post to join in the discussion about Bob Geren's performance to date.