Since the Oakland A's announced the firing of Bob Geren Thursday morning, there has been plenty of commentary about the decision. Over at our A's blog, Athletics Nation, founder Tyler Bleszinski offered up his own beliefs as to why Geren became the first manager Billy Beane has fired during a season. Simply put, the manager's biggest impact is on the handling of a pitching staff, and the mounting injuries became too much too ignore:
Now I'm not sure if that's because he overworked them (remember the bullpen was in shambles at the beginning of the year so it was easy to lean on the young arms a little much) and it's probably up to much smarter people than myself to figure that out, but I think the thing that a manager controls more than anything else is the pitching.
I don't have the statistics in front of me, so I can't say whether Geren has any sort of historical propensity to overwork his pitching staff. The A's had regular injury issues before Geren, and will probably have them even though Geren is gone. At the same time, when the team is struggling a change needs to be made, and the combination of the A's struggles and the pitchers dropping like flies made this an expected move.
Interim manager Bob Melvin is known as a "mad scientist" when it comes to his lineups, so we can certainly expect a mix of lineups from him. However, former GM Jim Bowden had some interesting insights on Melvin:
His in-game strategy will include persistent lineup shuffling, slow hooks on his starting pitchers and bullpen matchups that will combine statistical analysis and "gut" feel.
It will be interesting to follow the A's in the coming weeks and see how Melvin utilizes his starters and his bullpen. He's got some phenomenal arms in the bullpen, and still has some good arms in his rotation. Can he effectively utilize them to counter the weaknesses of the offense?