Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin was in a no-win situation when Frankie Montas suddenly imploded in the fourth inning.
It is easy to pin the blame for the Oakland A’s crushing series defeat upon Bob Melvin. Frankie Montas was obviously laboring in the fourth inning, as the Astros offense had woken up. After allowing just one player to reach on an error, the inning became a disaster almost as soon as it started.
The inning began innocently enough, with a walk to Jose Altuve on a pair of borderline pitches. But then, Montas quickly fell behind Michael Brantley before giving up a two run homer to cut the A’s lead to one. After a pair of singles, a three run homer to Carlos Correa gave the Astros a lead they would never surrender.
As will be the case in such a loss, there will be plenty of blame placed on the manager. But frankly, Melvin was in a no-win situation given the way the inning played out.
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He had no reason to be warming anyone at the start of the inning. Montas had cruised through the Astros lineup, throwing just 37 pitches through three innings. While the inning got out of hand quickly, there was no indication prior to that implosion that he would need to tap into his bullpen.
Likewise, what if Melvin had been warming someone up? There were few arms he could seemingly trust to hold that lead, and Liam Hendriks had already thrown three innings on Wednesday. If Montas had continued to cruise through the lineup, then he would have warmed up one of those arms for no reason at all.
As it was, Melvin did bring in one of those arms in J.B. Wendelken to escape the inning. Ramon Laureano‘s second homer of the game cut the deficit to one, but Wendelken was unable to preserve that margin. Brantley led off the fifth with a home, and a walk to Alex Bregman ended his night.
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Bob Melvin was placed in a no-win situation in the fourth inning. The Oakland A’s bullpen implosion could not have happened at a worse time.