A’s Bullpen Leading to Blown Saves and Losses

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Although plenty of fans would have a hard time accepting the fact that there’s more to Oakland’s issues than Yoenis Cespedes being traded, it’s true.

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Ice cold hitting pretty much throughout the order, lack of clutch hitting, costly errors in the field, judgment mistakes, as well as bullpen issues are leading to blown saves and losses.

Sep 7, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher

Ryan Cook

(48) prepares to deliver a pitch against the Houston Astros in the ninth inning at O.co Coliseum. The Astros defeated the Athletics 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland’s bullpen began the first month of the season blowing game after game; from Jim Johnson to Ryan Cook to Luke Gregerson. The issue had for the most part been resolved, with Cook ending up in the seventh inning slot, Gregerson in the eighth, with Sean Doolittle assuming the closer’s role.

In the past few weeks, however, as Doolittle is recovering from an oblique injury, the A’s have once again been crippled by sub-par performances from the bullpen.

Pre-All Star Break, the A’s bullpen boasted a 3.09 ERA and since the break, the ERA has jumped to 3.72, according to ESPN stats. In the past 30 days, during which span the A’s have gone 8-19 with five losses credited to the bullpen, the A’s have had nine save opportunities. Three have been saved (Doo went 2/2 in his opportunities).

So, out of the seven opportunities for pitchers not named Doolittle, six times out of seven, the games have been blown. Eric O’Flaherty is the only pitcher who earned a save, going 1/2 in his chances. Cook and Fernando Abad both went 0/2 when handed the ball and Gregerson went 0/1.

What’s worse, though, is that Cook over the span of the last 30 days has an ERA of 8.68, despite having a WHIP of 1.18. The reason? Walks.

Another issue, the A’s bullpen, especially Cook has been having are giving away free bases. Cook allowed five walks in his last 9.1 innings, and in his most recent appearance, Cook blew the game by walking batter after batter.

While clearly the A’s have more issues than just the bullpen, it is a contributing factor that has seemingly gone past the fans who vehemently claim Yo’s departure is the sole reason for the free-fall.

With the return of Doolittle more than likely coming before the end of this week, hopefully the team’s relief staff can regain some stability.

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