Where’s The Relief?


Heading into the season, the Oakland A’s were thought to possess a top bullpen, which was to be led by 2009 AL ROY Andrew Bailey. While the bullpen hasn’t been atrocious, the performances we’ve been seeing lately haven’t been exactly dominant. Michael Wuertz, who went 6-1 with a 2.63 ERA while notching four saves, is not very effective this season.

Wuertz, who has made 14 appearances this season, has a 2-0 record, but has a 6.35 ERA and a WHIP of 1.76. Last season, opposing offenses were hitting a merger .188 against Wuertz. This season, opposing offenses are having no trouble with Wuertz (.298 BA.). The A’s, who now sit 7.0 games out of first place behind the Texas Rangers, will need a complete turnaround from one their better relief pitchers. Wuertz, who signed a two-year deal last offseason, will need to rebound and capture some of the momentum he had last season.

Aside from Wuertz, Brad Ziegler (2-4, 3.18 ERA, 12 HLD) has been experiencing some recent troubles. Ziegler, a favorite of A’s manager Bob Geren apparently, has a 4.50 ERA in June. Ziegler has also had some trouble on the road, as his ERA is 4.41 on the road. Opposing hitters are batting .294 off Ziegler in the month of June, which not a positive sign. Ziegler has been a somewhat reliable player, despite having some meltdowns here and there. The A’s will need Ziegler to improve his road numbers, and fix whatever problems are hindering him now.

Craig Breslow (1-1, 3.10 ERA, 5 HLD) has been solid all season, and has been a bright spot so far for Oakland. Despite a high ERA in the month of June, opposing hitters are batting only .138 against him for the month. Breslow’s road numbers are also encouraging, as he owns a 3.24 ERA on the road.

Jerry Blevins (2-1, 4.44 ERA) and Tyson Ross (1-4, 5.94) have not experienced the same success that Breslow has this season, however. Blevins seems to be getting torched in every facet of the game, and Ross is a young, struggling pitcher who still needs some grooming. On the road, Blevins owns a 4.26 ERA and opposing offenses are hitting .327 off of him. That simply is not acceptable, especially since Oakland already has problems on the road as it is. Ross, who looked solid early on in the season, has not looked the same since. Ross’ numbers on the road are even worse: .339 BA., 9.19 ERA. These are not encouraging numbers for a team that wants to make the postseason.

And with the news that A’s manager Bob Geren wants to limit the number of innings pitched for closer Andrew Bailey, the A’s will certainly need to step it up. Bailey has been exceptional in his second year with the A’s, and has recorded 12 saves and owns a 1.69 ERA in 26.2 IP. Bailey, Breslow and perhaps Ziegler, despite blowing last night’s game, have been consistent for Oakland this season. The team will need all of its relievers to be consistent, however, if the team hopes to climb out of the hole there in.