It’s your call …

In the midst of all the wacky late-inning shenanigans that took place in tonight’s loss, one event that was slightly forgotten in it all was Geren’s five-minute discussion with the umpires in the first inning after Rajai Davis was held at second base by Matt Tolbert, who held his body against the A’s outfielder when a throw from Francisco Liriano went into the outfield. Davis, as we all know, ended up scoring, so in the end it didn’t really matter. But Geren was out there for a rather extended amount of time, so of course we had to ask him about the whole ordeal. Here’s what he had to say:

“It’s an obstruction call when he’s trying to get up to go to third. They said [Davis] didn’t make the effort to go to third, but my argument was that he didn’t because he couldn’t’ move.”

As for Geren’s decisions in the later innings — he made a lot of them — what did you think of these particular calls?

  • Intentionally walking Morneau, already battling a serious stomach virus, with one out
  • Pulling Wuertz after just 1/3 of an inning to have Ziegler start the 9th
  • Taking away the DH (which never came up in the batting order again)
  • Letting Patterson bat in the 9th rather than using Cust off the bench (Patterson was the club’s only shortstop option left had the A’s tied the game, but does it matter at that point?)

On a slightly less serious note, here’s what Mr. Gardenhire had to say about pinch-running for the ill Morneau:

He said he wanted to hit. And then I knew I had to run for him — didn’t want to see a grown man go to the bathroom in his pants on the field.”

And, on that note, have a good night. Looking forward to your responses…

7 Comments

It’s not A’s baseball without some adventures in managing. Yes, Bobo was right to argue obstruction on Rajai in the first inning. But it’s just like this guy to over-manage his pitching staff, draw up bizarre lineup cards, pinch-hit in curious situations.? Here’s food for thought: Daric Barton’s splits say that he’s better against lefties than righties by about 20 points, and that he’s hitting about .320 at the Mausoleum. Both conditions apply to this game. Barton himself says he feels “strong” despite playing every game so far this year. Why’s he on the bench for this game? Because Bobo said so.? There’s no way they should have batted jacK in the ninth inning. He’d have been intentionally walked without a second thought, as everybody in baseball knows his basepath-clogging talent is nearly Molinian. Maybe if Gio were ready to pinch-run, sure. (I hope he knows which way to turn when he reaches the next base.)? I’m still not understanding why Landon Powell is in Sacramento while Jake Fox is an A. On offense, Powell gives more flexibility because he’s a switch-hitter. Behind the plate, Powell is a true catcher (and a perfect one) who works well with the pitching staff. Fox’s advantage?

1) I don’t mind walking Morneau. After putting Morneau on first, you’re facing Punto, Span and Tolbert. Punto is barely hitting over .200, Span is 0-for-the series and Tolbert is struggling in limited at bats. Two out of those three guys need to get hits to score the runner on first with one out. I’d rather take that chance than see Morneau take the lead with one swing or hit a double, where now only a Punto or Span single is needed to take the lead.

2) I don’t mind putting in Ziggy. Wuertz had been on the bench for a while in the bottom of the 8th and since Wuertz doesn’t appear 100%, I’d rather not take any chances with him getting re-injured.

3) Given the circumstances, I don’t mind removing the DH by having Barton bat instead of Fox. However, Geren puts himself in this situation (more than once now) by putting both of his catchers in the starting line-up. This I don’t like.

4) You simply can’t have Cust hit for Patterson. He’s your last available bench player and you currently have a pitcher in the line-up. Of course, this situation is created by (unnecessarily) having 13 pitchers on your roster. Poor roster management leads to the inability to pinch-hit Cust.

Jane,

First of all, including this blog, the main site and twitter I think you are doing a great job of keeping us diehard A’s fans informed this year. Thank you!

To answer your questions about tonight’s moves.
I cannot believe Geren would opt to put the winning run on base for free in the 9th inning with one out. With 2 outs, maybe I could justify this move, but what a risky, dangerous move with one out.

Secondly, how and why would Geren go away from the hot hand of Wuertz to start the 9th? His slider looked unhittable against Young in the 8th and he only threw 3 pitches? Is Geren treating Wuertz with “kid gloves” in this first half of the season to protect his arm? I have thought about this all night and just don’t get it.

Finally, Cust gives you a way better chance of prolonging the inning than Patterson in that situation. There is a great chance he draws a walk in that spot or runs into one and hits it out. Even the lefty against lefty matchup he would also face wouldn’t stop me from putting Cust in.

I know you have to be respectful of Geren as you work with him everyday, but I hope you get a chance to press him more on these moves in your pre-game chat tomorrow. Let us know what he says!

Love the ‘it’s your call’ idea – perfect for all of us who like sitting back on our couches, critiquing, or saying what we’d do if we were managing (one of the toughest jobs I could imagine, with all the pressure to win, and scrutiny).

Anyways, I didn’t see the whole play with Davis being held, but with his speed, I’m sure he’d have been on third had he not been held. So Geren was right to argue. Having possibly the fastest runner in the league on third with no one out, maybe the Twins move the infield in, which changes things for the next hitter, opening more holes. Easy to second-guess now, but as we’ve seen, umpires aren’t perfect.

I don’t agree with walking Morneau (that’s why I tweeted to see if that really happened, or if the online site I was watching on was wrong). First, the whole putting the winning run on base doesn’t appeal to me, not to mention, throwing 4 wide ones can mess up a pitcher’s aim (see walking the next hitter). Second, Morneau was too sick to start. Third, I trust Ziegler to keep the ball down, and keep it in the park (he himself said he knew he was likely going to face Morneau, it’s not like there wasn’t a game plan then).

Bringing in Ziegler after Wuertz threw 1/3 of an inning (3 pitches?). I would have likely given Wuertz more rope than that. Have Ziegler warming, but I would have kept Wuertz in as long as he was throwing well. Had he given up a hit or two, a runner reached scoring position, then I’d have brought Ziegler in. Doesn’t do much for your confidence if you throw 3 pitches and get pulled for another righty pitcher. (Unless he’s sick or has a sore arm – then it was an ok move)

Not a fan of the whole losing the DH slot; it didn’t backfire this time, but it might some other time in the future. I understand that Kurt can’t catch every day, and we need his bat in the line-up, but it shortens the bench, and limits you too much in late innings. I don’t see why Barton couldn’t play every day. Let him DH if need be… I just don’t see too many other teams encountering this issue, so how hard is it to manage so it doesn’t happen? I also agree that Powell as a switch-hitter is a better option than Fox.

I think there’s pros and cons of Cust vs Patterson, Cust is a better chance to walk and homer (and to strike-out), but Patterson’s got more speed, can steal a base, and offers position versatility. Given Cust was the last position player on the bench, I’d have likely left Patterson in.

It’s not like Geren’s never had us second-guess before with a few controversial decisions… but it’s not an easy job.

Curious to know what your thoughts are, Jane (or as a reporter, does neutrality prevent that?). Great column though!

As a Reds fan, I’m still a lil’ pseisd about getting rid of this kid. Volquez is having a nice year (12-3 w/ a 2.29 ERA), and will hopefully be in a Red’s uniform for a long time. Still, it’s hard to see this kid leave, especially with the year he’s having. Glad to see it tho. He’s gone through some rough shit to get to where he is. Most impressive.

I enjoyed everyone’s comments, keep it up!
.
I am all for thinking outside the box and trying something different instead of same ol’ same ol’, but I don’t know if I would’ve walked Morneau when he’s ill. If he were 100%, well then it makes more sense. Of course, if it had all worked out would we be praising it as a great idea?
.
JP

Jane, I realize you would be slowly eviscerated if you permitted we core A’s fans to make known our collective angst about BoBo’s “management.” The A’s have always been a little bent, stylistically. But the current “norm” is taking uniqueness to a Neanderthal-ish Lowest Common Denominator. In the arts, it’s OK, maybe even desirable, to flaunt one’s stoopidity in the face of others. I don’t see it working so well in baseball, most notably A’s Baseball.

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