Bob Melvin not to blame for Oakland A’s struggles

Sep 1, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin (6) looks on in the dugout during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 1, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin (6) looks on in the dugout during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Bob Melvin is in a rough spot. No matter who he goes to in the Oakland A’s bullpen, disaster is waiting around the corner. Lou Trivino has not been himself. Sergio Romo, Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman, and Andrew Chafin are overworked. And the rest of the bullpen just is not that good.

That proved to be the case again on Friday as the A’s snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The bullpen allowed nine runs in an inning plus, giving up five hits, including two homers, three walks, and hitting a batter. An 8-2 turned into a 11-10 loss in what was seemingly the blink of an eye.

Oakland A’s bullpen leaving Bob Melvin in tough spot

It is easy to say that Melvin should have let Manaea pitch into the eighth inning. He had allowed just two runs on five hits over seven innings, striking out nine batters. Manaea had only thrown 86 pitches at that point in the outing, and could have easily made his way through the eighth inning.

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But hindsight is 20-20. This was also a time when Melvin thought he could get Trivino back on track. The A’s closer had been rock solid throughout most of the season before his recent stumbles, although his back spasms may have been a cause. Now that he was feeling better, Melvin was hoping to boost his confidence.

Instead, the recent bullpen issues continued. Trivino allowed four runs while recording two outs. Petit was able to finally get out of the inning, but allowed two more runs while recording just one out. Both still pitched better than Romo, who allowed three runs to blow the save and take the loss without getting anyone out.

The A’s did attempt to strengthen their bullpen by bringing in Chafin. He has performed well during his time in Oakland, but he has not been enough. Melvin simply does not have an option that he can go to with any confidence right now, and it is showing. Those bullpen issues could be the reason why the A’s miss the postseason.

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Bob Melvin is going to get a lot of criticism for pulling Manaea when he did. The biggest problem is that he has nothing to go to in relief.

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