The New York Yankees completed a four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, as the decisions of manager Bob Melvin continued to backfire throughout Sunday’s game.
The Oakland Athletics were swept at home in a four game series for the first time in the 21st century. In 1999, the Cleveland Indians took four from the A’s at the Coliseum, but the A’s have avoided four-game sweeps in Oakland ever since.
Sunday’s game was pretty disheartening. Jesse Hahn pitched well, Stephen Vogt got the big hit, and for about half an inning, it looked like the A’s were going to swipe a game from the Yankees. However, it wasn’t meant to be.
Pitchers and hitters can have a bad game. Even managers can have a bad game. On Sunday, Bob Melvin had a bad game. Every decision he made turned out badly.
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In the top of the sixth, Jesse Hahn got a couple outs and had given up a couple hits. Melvin pulled him, even though Hahn had thrown only 73 pitches, and John Axford came in to face Mark Teixeira. Teixeira hit a ground ball into the shift, and Chris Coghlan made a nice play to glove the ball. Coghlan then made an ill-advised throw to first. Teixeira beat the throw easily, and Brett Gardner, who never stopped running, scored from second. It probably would not have made a difference if Coghlan had just held onto the ball, because Sterling Castro followed Teixiera’s hit with a single to drive in the go-ahead run. John Axford simply did not have his good stuff.
Another decision came back to haunt the A’s and Melvin. With the Yankees ahead by one run in the top of the seventh, Aaron Hicks was on second, representing a crucial insurance run. Carlos Beltran was up with first base open. Instead of intentionally walking the Yankees’ hottest hitter, Melvin let Sean Doolittle pitch to him. The result was an RBI single for the Yankees. That hurt even more when the A’s scored what would have been the tying run in the bottom of the eighth.
Part of being a manager is that you are subject to second-guessing. If Axford strikes out Teixeira, then we would be talking about what a brilliant managerial move it was to take Hahn out early and utilize that tremendous A’s bullpen. Personally, I’m not worried about a couple of choices that backfired. Bob Melvin is a terrific manager and the ideal manager for this team. Melvin is facing a challenge, as both his best hitter and his best pitcher – along with eleven other players – are currently on the disabled list. The A’s are going to have to play a lot of rookies this season.
Melvin is the perfect manager to inspire a young, hungry team. He has an enormous amount of patience. Melvin believes in his players so that they believe in themselves. He stays “up” when it might be tempting to get down. Melvin pushes his players to hustle all the time. It is safe to say that he manages to get the most out of the talent he has on the team.
It’s been a funny season. The A’s have swept teams on the road and then gotten swept at home. At times, they look unbeatable, and, at other times, it looks like they will never win another game. Sunday’s game was a discouraging loss, but Jesse Hahn pitched well. Rich Hill is turning into the staff ace. Hopefully, Sonny Gray will recover from his trapezius injury and be the dominating pitcher A’s fans have come to expect. Henderson Alvarez is due to make his Oakland debut soon. Solid starting pitching is going to be the core of this team.
May and June might be rough, but this will be a “proving” time for the young talent. A young potential All-Star will emerge. A’s fans should stick with this team just to see who steps up as the next A’s superstar.