Manager’s Decisions

By Jerry Feitelberg

One of the most difficult jobs in all of baseball has to be the manager of the club. The manager has many tasks that he has to perform every day. One of those tasks is making out the lineup for each and every game. Some managers like to use a set lineup so that that the players will be hitting in the same spot every day. The Detroit Tigers, for example have Miguel Cabrera hitting third and Prince Fielder hitting fourth. The Tigers do this as it is most beneficial to the especially in the late innings. Other managers like to make changes daily. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, has used, if you can believe this, 132 different lineups in the 152 games the A’s have played so far this year. Some lineup changes are made by necessity as a player may be injured or may have a personal matter that requires him to be away from the club. Melvin, however, is blessed this season with a deep lineup and he can go with a lineup that meets the clubs need on a given day. For instance, if an opposing club is starting a left handed pitcher, Melvin can use the switch hitters and right hand hitters Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes everyday. Melvin can then use right handed hitters at first base, second base, left field and maybe right field. When the A’s are facing a righty, Melvin uses his lefty bats at catcher, DH, second base, first base  and left field. These moves don’t always work but they give him a lot of flexibility so that the A’s can win.

Another task is deciding what roles the pitchers are to have. Who will be the starters. That again depends on the health of the players. Once  the manager establishes the starting rotation, he has to decide which pitcher will be his “long man.” The long relievers come in when the starter has a bad outing and has an early exit from the game. Decisions have to be made on the “set up “ guys. Who will pitch the seventh inning? Who will pitch the eighth? Who will be the closer ? And who will pitch if any of these key pitchers are unavailable due to a heavy workload. The manager has to make decisions all through the game. Do I bring in a lefty to face a lefty? Decisions are made on how well a particular pitcher gets out a certain hitter. For example, Melvin brought in Jerry Blevins to face the Angels’ Josh Hamilton the other night. Hamilton hits from the left side and has a lot of power. Blevins, however has great numbers against Hamilton. Melvin brought him in to pitch in a key situation and Blevins struck Hamilton out. Melvin is a genius. In another game with the A’s leading 4-2, Melvin brought in his closer, Grant Balfour, to face Hamilton. This time Hamilton won the battle as he hit a two run homer to tie the game in the ninth and the Angels eventually won the game. Have to remove the genius tag.

There are so many more decisions that a manager has to make during the game such having the runner steal a base or putting down a sacrifice bunt to move a runner into scoring position. So many more things going on in the manager’s mind as the game moves along and far too many to list at this time.

So, when you go to the game, it’s fun to see if you can guess what the manager is going to do. Also, keep in the mind, the opposing manager is doing the same game and it is this mind game that makes baseball the magical game that it is.

 

The Angels trounce the A’s

By Jerry Feitelberg

It was just one of those nights. The Los Angeles Angels pounded the A’s 12-1. The Angels snapped the A’s five game winning streak behind C.J. Wilson’s pitching. Wilson is at the top of his game as he has now 9-0 in his last 13 starts and is 13-1 since June 14th. He won his seventeenth game of the year going seven innings allowing just one run and giving up just four hits. The Angels supported his effort as they scored twelve times and banged out fifteen hits including two monster home runs.

The A’s Jarrod Parker saw his streak of nineteen consecutive starts without a loss come to an end. Parker’s record is now 11-7. There were no bright spots for the A’s in the game. The only good news was that the Texas Rangers lost and the A’s magic number to clinch the AL West title is now at seven.

Any combination of A’s wins and/or Texas losses will give the A’s the crown for the second year in a row. The game summary follows.

Jarrod Parker got off to a rough start in the first inning. He walked the leadoff hitter on four straight balls. He retired the next two hitters but gave up a single to Josh Hamilton, a double to Mark Trumbo and a another single  to rookie Kole Calhoun that allowed the Angels to get an early 2-0 lead.

The Angels picked up an unearned run in the third inning. With one out and one on, Josh Hamilton hit a sharp line drive to Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo took his eye off the ball and it bounced into center  to put men on at first and third with one out.  The Angels scored on the next play when Mark Trumbo hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed the runner from third to score. Angels lead 3-0.

The Angels sent Parker to the showers in the top of fifth. The Angels scored three runs as Parker gave up four hits and walked a batter before Bob Melvin brought in Jerry Blevins to pitch. Angels now lead 6-0 with men on at first and second with one out. Blevins retired the first batter he faced but the Angels banged out two more hits and scored two more runs before Blevins got the final out of the inning.

The Angels sent ten men to the plate and scored five runs on six hits.  Parker allowed eight runs(one unearned) as he exited the game after just 4 1/3rd inning of work.

The A’s scored a run in the bottom of the sixth. Wilson walked  Josh Donaldson with one out. That was followed by two singles and the A’s now trail 8-1.

The Angels continue to pour it on. They had two two-run home runs in the eighth to make it a 12-1 game. Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each homered in the inning. Trout’s blast was unbelievable  as it was perhaps the longest home run hit this year at the Coliseum.

Game notes- The A’s still have the second best record in the American league. They are 88-62 and still maintain a six and a half game lead of the Rangers. Sonny Gray will pitch for the A’s Tuesday night and Garrett Richard will go for the Angels. Game time is at 7pm.

Sean Doolittle has been named a finalist for the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award.

Attendance was 14,621.