Tag: Bob Geren

Bob Geren: Should the Oakland Athletics Manager Be on the Hot Seat?

The greatest compliment you can pay a manager is that you can’t imagine their team performing any better year after year. Unfortunately this can’t be said of A’s manager Bob Geren since his tenure began in 2007, and the trend has carried over into 2011.

Ask any Oakland fan what the top reasons they feel their beloved A’s have failed to compete over the past few seasons and you are bound to hear the same answers: low payrolls which prohibit signing impact players, injuries and game management.

Fortunately for Oakland’s current manager, the first two excuses have earned him a free pass with the team’s front office through his first first four seasons as Oakland’s manager.

Geren became manager in 2007, following an impressive run to the American League Championship Series by his predecessor, Ken Macha. The decision to hire Geren was a controversial decision as many A’s fans felt the position should rightfully belong to long-time third base coach Ron Washington.

Through his first four complete seasons, Geren compiled a record of 307-340, with 2010 being his only non-losing season at 81-81.

A’s fans are aware of the injury situation which has decimated the roster the past four seasons. A lack of depth on the roster gave Geren limited resources with which to work to achieve a record better than his sub .500 mark.

This season was supposed to be different, and if Geren is to retain his post beyond this season, it better be.

The Athletics had the best pitching staff in baseball in 2010, and they have managed to improve in the early part of this season.

The lineup was upgraded over the offseason to support the young pitching and provide them the run-support necessary to improve on their 81-81 mark last year.

The bullpen was strengthened to account for the injury histories of Andrew Bailey, Jerry Blevins, Craig Breslow and Michael Wuertz (Bailey, Blevins and Breslow were all recovering from offseason surgeries).

So far the signings of Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes have paid off with both Bailey and Wuertz spending time on the disabled list.

Overall the roster has the talent and depth to make a run at the division title, the experts all seemed to agree.

So why is the team currently sitting at 9-10, and unable to play with any semblance of consistency?

It’s time for the front office to move past their love-affair with their manager and start to take a deeper look at how Geren’s management of the team has effected their rank in the standings since his tenure began.

A quick look at Geren’s managerial statistics on baseball-reference.com give you an idea of the impact Bob Geren has had on the Oakland Athletics.

In 2007 the Athletics finished with a 76-86 record. According to the Pythagorean W-L evaluation that Oakland team should have finished with a 79-83 record. Hardly a difference worth firing a manager over—after all the Athletics were not playoff bound in 2007 with their abundance of injuries. Geren was an underachiever by three games though.

In 2008 the team finished with a 75-87 record, and the Pythagorean formula suggests that they should have been one game better with a 76-88 record. Again, Geren likely deserves a pass on this difference due to the injuries that decimated his roster. Unfortunately you can see a pattern forming though.

In 2009 the A’s matched their 2008 record at 75-87. Here is where Geren took a massive nose-dive in team management though; according to Baseball-Reference’s Pythagorean evaluation the A’s should have had a 81-81 record, a difference of six games in the standings.

Last season’s team finished at .500 with a 81-81 record, but again the Pythagorean formula shows underachievement. According to its analysis, the A’s were deserving of a record of 85-77, another four-game disappointment.

So far this season the A’s are 9-10, while the formula suggests they should be 10-9. Add another game to the total.

Simply following that formula, Geren has underachieved by 15 games in his four-plus years as Oakland manager.

What has caused Geren to underachieve to this level though?


Game Management Decisions:

Where the statistic fails to tell the whole story though is that it only determines the amount of wins a team should have based on their total number of runs allowed compared with runs scored.

This does take into consideration injured players, however it fails to take into consideration mismanagement that may have led a high number of runs allowed.

For example, say taking out Grant Balfour in favor of the left-handed Brian Fuentes to face the right-handed power hitter, Miguel Cabrera.

Let’s just pretend that Cabrera then hits a home run to tie a game that the A’s may have otherwise won and the opposing team then goes on to score seven more runs in extra innings to win the game. I know, such an unrealistic scenario, right? Oops, forgot that this actually happened just last week.

In this scenario though, those seven runs mess up the evaluation of the Pythagorean evaluation and don’t credit the A’s with the win they deserved based on their own offensive comeback, and stellar pitching prior to the ninth and tenth innings.

Geren’s tenure is filled with questionable managerial decisions similar to this; need I remind you of the decision to intentionally walk a very ill Justin Morneau last season? That decision wound up costing Oakland the win also.

The current series against the Seattle Mariners illustrated missed opportunities with pinch hitters available. Felix Hernandez was dominant, but the A’s left runners on the bases repeatedly when the bullpen took over for King Felix.

It was unacceptable to have the game end with Hideki Matsui on-deck, having not received an at-bat throughout the 1-0 game.

Further, and I must admit this is the most irking of his tendencies for me personally, are the decisions to sit players after a good performance in the previous game. Last season Geren sat Rajai Davis in a game against Toronto in favor of the newly acquired Conor Jackson. Davis was coming off a 4-5 performance the previous day though, and was deserving of the follow-up start.

This season Daric Barton was victim of the same illogical lineup decision. Barton did enter the game in the late innings and helped spark an A’s win.

It’s called playing the hot-hand Bob, learn it!

The in-game decisions that Geren consistently mismanages have unarguably cost Oakland more games than are represented by Baseball-Reference’s Pythagorean analysis. How many games?

Honestly I did not have the heart to go through game summaries of 4+ seasons to figure this out, I felt it would be too disheartening for me as an A’s fan.

This season though, I can safely say the A’s are at least three wins better than their record suggests.


Player Communication:

There is an argument to be made that the majority of a manager’s job is not seen by the fans on a daily basis.

Fans only witness the game-time decisions, which is an obvious short coming of Geren’s. The more important aspect of the manager’s job is communication and management of players.

We know this was a major shortcoming of Geren’s predecessor, Ken Macha. Following Macha’s dismissal several players spoke out about their discontent with Macha’s communication skills and management of the clubhouse.

We have not heard anything similar to this about Geren. In fact, I would argue that Geren’s optimistic personality lends to an overall strength in his case to remain the manager of a young team in need of positive reinforcement as they learn to play at the Major League level.


Player Handling:

This actually falls into the communication category, but since Geren does one well and the other poorly, I decided to separate them for the purpose of evaluation here.

The manager is responsible for identifying problems with the players on his roster, mechanically as well as mentally. The objective being to get the players to play to their utmost abilities.

The image of the rah rah manager may be a bit cliche, but the message it is meant to send is a manager capable of motivating his team to perform at their best.

Geren fails in this regard. Productive players come to Oakland and fade, only to regain their form when they ultimately depart. Is this due to improper preparation? Is it a result of off-field issues effecting their play?

A good manager is able of controlling his clubhouse and getting his players to compartmentalize well enough to still perform between the lines.

If the player is not capable of this for a period of time, then the manager’s job is to identify another player to handle the position until the regular player fixes their problem.

The current handling of Kevin Kouzmanoff actually shows some progress in Geren’s development in this area. He was willing to step away from Kouzmanoff and allow LaRoche to take over.

Overall though, you have to look at the lack of preparation the defense has displayed this season, as well as the across-the-board regression of the A’s lineup.


Is a change necessary?

From a fan’s perspective, I believe the decision was made long ago that a change is necessary at the manager’s position.

I’m not saying at all that Geren is a bad baseball person, or even a bad coach. I actually think that he makes a good bench coach, and has a place on a coaching staff in Major League Baseball.

I want to be clear that I am also not making any judgements about Bob Geren the man. From everything I have heard about him, and from all accounts from former and current players, Geren is well liked. I have no doubt he is a great person. I am growing tired of watching the A’s underachieve under his reign though.

It is doubtful that Billy Beane would fire the best man from his wedding during the season. He is in the final year of his contract though, and the A’s have not offered him an extension.

In the past they have been quick to defend Geren, so far this season no statements assuring him of his job have been made.

I don’t see Oakland parting ways with him until the end of the season though, no matter how tempting it may be. After all, it is well documented that Beane does not attribute the manager as being too connected to the team’s successes or failures.

I find it hard to ignore the example of the 2009 Colorado Rockies though. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was fired with his team currently 10 games below .500. His replacement, Jim Tracy, managed to turn the team completely around to 10 games above .500 and a postseason contender.

I often find myself wondering if a different manager would be able to extract better results from the current roster (the rotation is the best in baseball, but the offense is anemic).

We’re only 20 games into the season, giving Geren 142 more games to turn this around and save his job. Nothing short of playoff contention should be enough though for him to return as manager in 2012, and it may take more than that to win back some A’s fans.

This 2011 Oakland Athletics team is talented and deep enough to contend in the American League West this season. Our manager needs to lead the team there, not be a detriment to their success.


Brandon McClintock covers the Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball for BleacherReport.com. You can follow him on Twitter:   @BMcClintock_BR.

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MLB: 10 Things the Oakland Athletics Should Focus on in 2011

In 2010, the Oakland Athletics took strides in the right direction, posting an 81-81 record to snap a streak of three consecutive losing seasons.  Though Oakland’s pitching kept them competitive, lack of offensive production counteracted a solid rotation and kept the A’s out of the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

Though the A’s have potential to continue their progression, the American League West is a competitive division, highlighted by the recent resurgence of the Texas Rangers.  But with perennial powerhouses crowding the AL East, the A’s only route to the postseason may be a division crown.  If Oakland can focus on these 10 things, there may be a World Series parade in Northern California for the second consecutive year, only this time for the A’s.

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There’s No Light at the End of the Tunnel for the Oakland A’s

When Billy Beane made no moves at the All-Star break to improve the Oakland A’s lineup, it was only a matter of time before the overachieving A’s squad started to crumble, and now that time has come. 

Over the last 10 games the A’s have gone 4-6 and went from second place in the American League West division, to third place, with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim now one and a half games ahead of the A’s. 

In that span, the A’s offense has averaged 2.5 runs per game. Looking further at just how miserable the offense has been, the A’s have been shutout twice and have scored two or less runs three times. 

Meaning that in five of the 10 games, the A’s have either been shutout or scored two or less runs. Luckily for the A’s, and why the record in the last 10 games isn’t even worse, is because of the A’s pitching. 

When looking over the 10 game span, the A’s pitchers have allowed 28 runs. It’s not hard to see why the A’s have the best ERA in the American League, but it’s also easy to see why the A’s have struggled so much. 

Today the A’s nearly got no hit by the Minnesota Twins and yet when the dust settled and the game was over, all the A’s could manage was two hits and two runs, which nearly was enough to win, but a three-run home run by Jim Thome made it virtually impossible for the A’s to comeback from a 4-0 deficit. 

Yet, the score could have been different in the game. In fact, the A’s could have come out with a 2-1 victory over the Twins, but another fine example of the fine managing of Bob Geren came into play. 

Jerry Blevins relieved Vin Mazzaro in the bottom of the seventh inning after Chris Carter misplayed a flyball off the bat of Orlando Hudson. Blevins came in to face Joe Mauer who he proceeded to walk. Jason Kubel struck out on a nasty off-speed pitch from Blevins. 

Michael Cuddyer then was robbed of extra bases on a tremendous diving stop by Daric Barton at first base, a play that saved the A’s at least two runs at the time. So, it looked like the A’s were out of the woods right? 

As Thome strolled to the plate, Brad Ziegler began to get himself ready in the bullpen. The first three pitches from Blevins were not even close to the strike zone and with two outs there was no reason to give in to Thome with a base open and Danny Valencia coming to the plate. 

Instead of doing what most managers would have done in the situation and that is put Thome on base, the A’s chose to go after Thome. That was a bad move on the A’s part as Thome took Blevins’ next pitch out of the ballpark. 

At the time of the home run, the A’s were trailing 1-0, that home run brought the score to 4-0. That at-bat by Thome is just another example of why the A’s need to fire Geren. 

Another reason is what happened in the top of the ninth inning. With Kevin Kouzmanoff opening the inning off with a single, he wasn’t pinch run for. In that situation, with the way the A’s offense has been going, Kouzmanoff should have been ran for. 

A reason for that is to keep the A’s from hitting into a double play, which is exactly what happened. Rajai Davis ended the game by grounding out to shortstop. 

Further proof of just how bad the A’s offense has been can be seen by each hitter that’s been in the lineup.

1. Coco Crisp: .394 average, three doubles, 15 hits, a homer, and five RBI

2. Daric Barton: .267 average, two triples, a double, eight hits, no homers, and one RBI

3. Kurt Suzuki: .162 average, two doubles, six hits, no homers, and three RBI

4. Jack Cust: .178  average, a double, five hits, no homers, and one RBI

5. Kevin Kouzmanoff: .114 average, two doubles, four hits, no homers, and three RBI

6. Mark Ellis: .294 average, four doubles, 10 hits, no homers, and four RBI

7. Rajai Davis: .243 average, three doubles, nine hits, no homers, and two RBI

8. Chris Carter: .000 average, zero doubles, zero hits, zero homers, and zero RBI

9. Cliff Pennington: .333 average, two doubles, a triple, zero homers, and zero RBI

Totals: 18 doubles, three triples, one home run, and 19 RBI

That’s the lineup the A’s have put out a majority of the time in the last 10 games. The question is, will the A’s snap out of the offensive funk the team is in? Not very likely because of the upcoming games the A’s have. 

The next few series the A’s play are against the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians (only winnable series for the A’s), Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees. 

With the way the A’s offense has been playing it wouldn’t be a surprise to find the team hovering around 10 games under .500 rather than at or above .500, the reason being is there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the A’s offense. 

Conor Jackson is scheduled to come off the disabled list. It may mean that Chris Carter gets sent down or one of the relievers. Even with Jackson’s bat in the lineup, it still doesn’t give the A’s much more offensively. 

What is the light at the end of the tunnel for the A’s? The answer is when September begins and the rosters expand, the A’s have a few call ups to make. 

First will be Michael Taylor since Carter is already up. Since Taylor started the season so slowly he’s done a much better job. He’s now hitting a respectable .264 after being in the .220s at the beginning of the year. 

Jeff Larish who’s already up will get a look he can play first, third, or be the designated hitter. 

Dallas McPherson is another option as he can play third base, first base, or be the designated hitter as well.

Corey Brown, an outfielder, could be called up, he’s got excellent speed and a good eye at the plate. 

Displaying these hitters will show what the A’s can look forward to the 2011 season. The pitching staff has been great all year. If the A’s are to make a run at the playoffs, the A’s need hitters. 

Regardless of where the players are in their development either at Sacramento or Midland, something needs to be done to ignite the A’s offense and give A’s fans some hope for the 2011 season.

The pitching is already there but the hitting is nowhere close. 

Besides the offense the question becomes when does it stop being the players fault and instead becomes the coaches fault? If a managers not able to get the best effort out of his players game in and game out doesn’t that mean it’s time for a change as well? 

If a manager refuses to go 100 percent into a different offensive philosophy based on the team’s roster? Is it fair to say that the manager should be gone? 

The answer is yes and until the A’s replace Geren, bring up some bats either from the minor leagues or trades in the offseason, and buy 100 percent into the offensive philosophy the A’s are going to continue to struggle. 

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Losing Patience With Geren and Skaalen, A’s Continue Lackluster Offense

The Oakland A’s came off home series against Texas where the A’s with runners in scoring position managed to go for 0-30, but somehow were still able to take win two games of the three game series. 

At that point it looked like it was a turning point of the season for the A’s because they gained ground on the Texas Rangers in the American League West division race and had a chance with the Rangers having an off-day to even gain further ground. 

That didn’t happen for the A’s instead the A’s lost two games to the Seattle Mariners the worst team in the division and one of the worst teams in baseball. It was understandable the A’s wouldn’t sweep considering the team was facing Felix Hernandez in the second game of the series. 

Even then though the A’s had a chance to do some damage against Hernandez. In the first inning the A’s had runners on first and second with nobody out. Kurt Suzuki came up and got the A’s first hit with runners in scoring position. 

Only problem was Suzuki’s ball was hit so hard that Coco Crisp could not score from second base. Of course Hernandez then settled down retiring the next three hitters rather easily.

Regardless of that series there’s no better example of just how pathetic the A’s offense is then the first game of the series against the Minnesota Twins. The A’s had plenty of opportunities to score and yet only managed to score four runs. 

In fact the game started off well for the A’s with Crisp leading the game off with a single then stealing second on the first pitch to Daric Barton. Suzuki who’s been struggling mightily at the plate came up.

His main purpose at the plate should have been getting the runners over to second and third so the A’s would have two chances to get the run home. That means either hitting the ball to the right side or a sacrifice bunt. Suzuki has not been producing at the plate. 

Instead Suzuki wound up striking out, Jack Cust grounded out to first allowing the runners to get to second and third with two outs. Kevin Kouzmanoff grounded out to Alexei Casilla who made a nice play and threw in time to get Kouzmanoff. 

Two of the runs came in the top of the third inning when Cliff Pennington doubled, Crisp struckout but when Barton came up he stole third because Carl Pavano was not paying attention to him. Barton then lined a triple into the right field gap to score Pennington. 

Suzuki again came up with a chance to bring a runner home but wasn’t able to bring in Pennington and Cust  came through with an opposite field double bringing in Barton to tie the game up at 2-2. 

For the rest of the game the A’s had plenty of runners on base but were not able to cash in. The top of the seventh and eighth innings were the best chances for the A’s to do some damage.

In the seventh inning Crisp singled, Barton lined out to center, Suzuki singled to left field and was able to get to second while Crisp to third because Delmon Young was not able to catch the ball on a dive. 

Ron Mahay came in and relieved Pavano. Cust was pressing a little bit because he got the count to 3-1 and swung at ball four and ended up watching strike three. Kouzmanoff was robbed of a two run single by Casilla on a nice diving catch at shortstop. 

During the top of the eighth Mark Ellis hit an infield single, Rajai Davis hit a single, Chris Carter bounced into a fielders choice leaving runners on first and third with Davis being forced out at second. Cliff Pennington worked a walk. 

This meant that Crisp was up with the bases loaded and the infield playing back. The Twins in the game had already used the benefit of a suicide squeeze don’t understand why the A’s were going to utilize Crisp’s speed. 

Instead of at least getting a run in that situation, Crisp hits into the inning ending double play. 

In the top of the ninth inning the A’s managed to score a fluke run. Barton lined a ball to Denard Span for the first out of the inning, Kurt Suzuki doubled, Cust popped out to shortstop, Kouzmanoff hit a sharp grounder to Casilla who tried to make a backhanded play, but wasn’t able to do it which was scored an error and Suzuki also scored. 

Ellis hit a single leaving runners on first and second. Davis was up again and instead of taking any pitches he went after the first pitch and hit a flyball to left center to end the game. 

In all the A’s had 14 hits to the Twins five, but in the scoring department the Twins etched out four runs on those five hits and the A’s only managed three runs on those 14 hits.

Just further proof that in the offseason the A’s need drastic changes at the coaching level starting with Jim Skaalen and moving to Geren. It comes to a point in time when the players aren’t producing that a change must be made. 

It’s also not like the A’s don’t have any options to replace Geren, Don Wakamatsu a former A’s bench coach could be in line to replace Geren along with Tony Defrancesco the manager of the Sacramento Rivercats. 

For hitting coach Carney Lansford would make an excellent addition to the staff. He played over 1200 games for the A’s and knows how to hit in the coliseum and he can pass on that knowledge to the hitters. 

The other problem with Geren and Skaalen that the team went that preached patience at the plate to more of a small ball approach. Meaning manufacturing runs anyway possible whether it’s going from first to third on a single, stealing bases, and sacrificing. 

Obviously Geren and Skaalen have not bought into that system. There’s been other times where the situation dictated that the A’s should have been bunting and moving runners into scoring position instead Geren elected to have his hitters swing away. 

End results have been rally killing double play. Until the A’s get a manager and a hitting coach to buy into the small ball philosophy the A’s will continue to struggle offensively. 

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Oakland A’s Shoddy Effort Proves Why Bob Geren Will Be Gone

The Oakland A’s played the biggest game of the season tonight against the Seattle Mariners. Now, some would say it’s way too soon to talk about big game especially since it’s only August 9, but with a young team like the A’s, any time the team has a chance to make ground on the division-leading Texas Rangers, it’s a big game. 

What were A’s fans treated to tonight? An absolute disgraceful performance offensively. Pitching-wise, Vin Mazzaro pitched extremely well after a shaky first inning. He ended the night going seven innings, giving up three runs, two earned, while striking out five and walking two. 

Not a bad start for Mazzaro, although the one complaint could be after getting Chone Figgins and Casey Kotchman is, what was he doing pitching around Russell Branyan in the first inning? 

As a result, it led to two runs because the next batter, Jose Lopez, followed with a RBI single scoring Ichiro, who opened the game up with a single. Franklin Guttierez was able to take a hanging slider to right field for a RBI single scoring Branyan. 

It looked bad when Mazzaro got behind in the count to Ryan Langerhans, but Mazzaro was able to get out of further trouble by striking Langerhans out on a 3-2 pitch. 

Overall, the A’s had excellent opportunities to score runs. The biggest moment of the game was in the top of the fourth inning and further proves why Bob Geren is not the manager that will lead the A’s to the playoffs. 

Jack Cust opened the inning up with a single and Kevin Kouzmanoff walked, putting runners on first and second with no outs. The A’s hadn’t been hitting well with runners in scoring  position; in fact, when Kurt Suzuki came up in the top of the third, the A’s had been 0-for-30 with runners in scoring position. 

What the issue is that Geren decided to push the envelope instead of playing it safe. Mark Ellis had been the A’s best hitter with runners in scoring position, but knowing that the A’s had been struggling to get runs in with runners on base it would have been a much better decision to bunt. 

Instead Geren chooses to let Ellis swing away. What does Ellis do? He grounds into the inning-ending triple play! Let me restate that: He grounds into the inning-ending triple play! 

Now, in reality, the call was missed. Ellis definitely beat the throw from Chone Figgins to first, but either way two runners were out and the A’s were now 0-for-31 with runners in scoring position. 

The A’s only scoring came on a double by Rajai Davis. Coco Crisp opened up the sixth inning with a leadoff single. Davis then pulled the ball down the left field line, scoring Crisp from first. 

Suzuki again came up with a runner in scoring position and he grounded out to second base moving Davis to third with one out. Make it 0-for-32 for the A’s with runners in scoring position. 

Next up for the A’s was Cust, who had two hits previously, but he ended up striking out making it 0-for-33 for the A’s with runners in scoring position. Kevin Kouzmanoff couldn’t come up with a big two out hit making the string with runners in scoring position. Oh-for-34. 

There’s not much to say about the rest of the game for the A’s offensively since that point in the game as they went 0-for-12, not even making a dent off struggling closer David Aardsma. 

What a disgraceful way to start a series for the A’s. The Mariners are one of the worst teams in baseball and the A’s can’t even gain ground on the Rangers, who were idle today, and in fact lost positioning in the standings because of tonight’s game. 

Even worse, though, for the A’s is that Felix Hernandez is starting tomorrow night’s game. So, instead of sweeping a team that came into tonight with only 42 wins, the A’s could be the team that gets swept—not a good sign when the A’s had a chance of gaining ground on the Rangers. 

The reason why the A’s had an excellent chance to make up some some substantial ground on the Rangers is because the Rangers are facing the New York Yankees the next two games.

Tonight, though, is just another example of the long list of reasons why Geren should be fired at the end of season regardless of where the A’s finish. The only way he saves his job is if the A’s make the playoffs, and under his direction that doesn’t seem very likely.  

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Oakland Athletics: Top 9 Reasons to Believe There’s Always Next Year

In a lot of ways, the Oakland Athletics have already had a very successful 2010.

The campaign isn’t over by any means—with more than 50 games yet to be played, anything and everything can still happen.

However, the A’s sit nine and a half games off the American League West pace set by the division-leading Texas Rangers. With the Texas in town for the weekend, they have a chance to shave some of that margin and they’d better.

Because they’re even further behind in the AL Wild Card race.

Granted, with the juggernauts out in the AL East, the playoff side door was probably never a realistic option.

Nah–it’s the pennant or bust.

Since the Rangers look to have a pretty firm grasp on the flag, Oakland’s hopes for contention are dwindling with every nine innings.

Nevertheless, the Elephants have shown a lot of pluck and resiliency over the course of the season. They started behind the eight-ball due to a minuscule payroll and then had their plight compounded by Lady Luck, who gave them only two flavors—bad and rotten.

Even so, the Green and Gold are treading water and posted a respectable 14-10 record in July, which was fourth-best in the Junior Circuit.

More importantly, there are plenty of silver linings that should give the franchise and its fanbase hope for the immediate future.

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Out With the Old, In With the New: 10 Likely Offseason MLB Managerial Changes

The 2010 MLB offseason definitely will be known as one of the busiest in terms of managerial moves and firings. Some the of the games best might call it quits and it will certainly be the end of an era in baseball. 

We’ve already had a pair of managers who seem very much safe in the Royals’ Ned Yost and Orioles’ Buck Showalter.

Come Opening Day 2011, we will have seen a 60 percent of the managers from the 2010 Opening Day, an amazing and shocking drop from 40 percent. 

The offseason will feature many moves and hirings that will be the start of new eras in ball clubs around baseball and here are those managers on the fringe:

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A’s Throw The White Flag, Get Humiliated by The Rangers

The perfect game is long gone for Dallas Braden. He finally got his first win since he pitched that masterpiece, but after tonight it looks like he’s going back to his losing ways. 

Tonight was an absolutely disgraceful performance by Braden against the Texas Rangers. It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal if Braden had been roughed up by certain hitters in the Rangers lineup such as Michael Young, Vladimir Guerrero, Nelson Cruz, Jorge Cantu, or even David Murphy, but that didn’t happen.  

It was the ninth place hitter in the Rangers lineup; a hitter so bad that he wasn’t even hitting .100 for the season! The batter was Taylor Teagarden, who rarely gets playing time because he simply can’t hit.

For some reason against the A’s he does. Well it was understandable that he did get his first homerun of the season off Vin Mazzaro who should have never gone out to pitch that inning to begin with.

Yet, with Braden on the mound it’s a different story. He came in the bottom of the third and Braden fell behind. Teagarden eventually got a 3-2 changeup that he deposited into left field for an easy double. 

He scored on a double by Elvis Andrus, but that’s the first time that Teagarden gave Braden problems in the game. Coming in to the game Teagarden was hitting .059 on the season. Yes, .059! 

With that double it meant it was Teagarden’s third hit of the season and brought up his average to .086. Teagarden wasn’t done, he had an encore for Braden. 

Braden allowed a sharp single to Christian Guzman who hit a rocket to shortstop Cliff Penningtin. This brought up Teagarden again. Braden then gave up Teagarden’s second homerun of the season.

This is an example that shows how far Braden has fallen since the perfect game he threw in May. 

The game itself showed nothing too exciting for the A’s offense, they just laid down for Cliff Lee. There was no effort except for in the first inning when Daric Barton hit a one out triple and Kurt Suzuki followed up with an RBI double.

There was one last chance for the A’s to come back that was in the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs Daric Barton hit a single which was the third hit of the night for him, and Kurt Suzuki followed with a single.

So the A’s had first and second with two outs. In stepped Kevin Kouzmanoff with an opportunity to get the A’s in striking distance against Lee. Well, to call the at-bat disappointing is an understatement. 

Much like Kouzmanoff has done all year, he swung at the first pitch and popped it up, but luckily for him it went out of play instead of being caught. The second pitch from Lee was a fastball on the inside corner and if he had been looking for it he could have it, the third pitch from Lee wasn’t even in the strike zone and Kouzmanoff flailed helplessly at the pitch.

If tonight was a big game for the A’s, that means tomorrow afternoon is even bigger because if they don’t take this weekend series from the Rangers the season is all but over. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon brings out a much better effort. 

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A’s Focus Shifts From Winning In the West—To Having a Winning Season

After losing two of three in Arlington to the division-leading Rangers, the Oakland Athletics need to shift their focus from winning the American League West to having their first winning season since 2006.


The Oakland Athletics went into Texas playing their best baseball of the season. They had won nine of the past 11 games, four straight series, and were seven and a half games out of first.


The Texas series was huge for the Athletics, and they were unable to come away with the series win. Although they only fell to eight and a half games back, they also lost Andrew Bailey due to injury.


The Athletics’ disabled list seems to multiply by the week, and with the A’s appearing as if they will remain silent at the trade deadline, it is time for them to concede the AL West and focus on finishing above .500


While this would normally mean the A’s should be sellers at the deadline, Billy Beane has been adamant that he wants to keep his team in tact, and build continuity for the future.


This is a good sign for A’s fans who have grown accustomed to new faces every year,  because of Beane’s tendency to acquire as many young prospects as he can get his hands on.


If the A’s can finish 2010 strong, build continuity together, and use the off season to get healthy, there will be a lot of promise in 2011.


Oakland still needs a power bat before they can be considered a legitimate threat to win the division, but the team appears to finally be heading in the right direction.

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Geren Leaves Mazzaro in Too Long, A’s Get Burned

The Oakland A’s came in tonight’s game against the American League West division leading Texas Rangers, but yet again the A’s were burned by a pitcher being left in a game too long. 

Vin Mazzaro didn’t have an easy time with the Rangers lineup. At one point Michael Young, Vladimir Guerrero, and Josh Hamilton combined to go 6-6. The telling stat though is the fact in five and a third innings Mazzaro gave up 12 hits! 

What really makes for A’s fans disgusted with Geren was the fact that in the sixth inning the A’s rallied from a 4-1 deficit to a 4-3 deficit. The big clue for Geren that Mazzaro needed to be relieved was the fact that starting the bottom of the sixth inning he had already given up nine hits. 

It wasn’t like the bottom of the fifth inning was a breeze for Mazzaro either. He did a great job pitching out of a jam and for a 23 year old that should have been enough for him to keep his confidence for his next start. 

That inning saw Young double, Josh Hamilton single moving Young to third, Guerrero then hit into a double play scoring Young, and Nelson Cruz struck out swinging. It says something about Mazzaro being able to get out of a jam like that when facing the Rangers potent lineup. 

Instead Mazzaro of course was allowed back out. The first batter was David Murphy and Mazzaro did a good job of getting ahead of him, but Murphy worked the count a little more to his favor and hit a hanging slider way out to right field. 

After the homerun Mazzaro should have been relieved, it wasn’t like the A’s didn’t have anyone up in the bullpen in case Mazzaro got into trouble. The next hitter was Mitch Moreland and he got a pitch that he just missed hitting out to center field. Another sign to Geren that Mazzaro was done. 

Still, he was left in to face Joaquin Arias who hit a slowly hit ball toward Cliff Pennington. Instead of charging the ball Pennington waited to receive the ball and use his arm to get Arias, but he beat out the throw by Pennington. 

Was Mazzaro taken out of the game after Arias got on? Nope. He was left into face Taylor Teagarden, it was understandable that maybe just maybe Mazzaro would be able to get Teagarden because coming into the at-bat he was hitting .034 on the season with no homeruns and no RBI. 

Well, Teagarden finally got a pitch he could hit and he drove the ball out for a two run shot to make the game 7-3. Any momentum the A’s had from getting with in one run was still there because when Murphy hit his homerun the A’s were still within two runs.  But, when Teagarden launched his two run homerun any thought of making the game interesting was gone. 

Tonight was just another perfect example of why Geren needs to be fired immediately. 




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