Oakland A’s bullpen woes start with rotation
By David Hill
It is easy to point the finger of blame for the Oakland A’s implosion at the bullpen. Between the blown saves and constant barrage of home runs, the A’s relief corps has not exactly provided a lot of relief lately. Instead, as the A’s have fallen out of the postseason, the bullpen has gotten the blame.
That had not been the case earlier in the season. As the offense struggled, and the A’s were unable to find consistent starting pitching, the bullpen had been their saving grace. But it was seemingly a matter of time before those innings caught up with the relief corps.
Oakland A’s bullpen issues caused by rotation
It would have made a difference if the A’s rotation was able to do their part. If Bob Melvin could count on getting six innings more often than not from his starters, the overworked bullpen could have gotten some rest. However, since Chris Bassitt landed on the Injured List, those quality starts have been few and far between.
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At some points, six innings feels like a pipe dream. The A’s would be happy if their starters could, at the very least, pitch five innings in their outings. That just has not happened, as A’s starters have not been able to last for at least five innings in 14 of their past 22 starts, putting an incredible strain on the bullpen.
To a degree, this was to be expected. The A’s rotation has been inconsistent at best, especially with Bassitt on the shelf. Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas can look like stars in one outing, only to get shelled in the following start. Paul Blackburn has a very fine line if he is going to find success, and it is not one that he has walked with much frequency.
It is easy to look at the likes of Lou Trivino and Sergio Romo and wonder what has gone wrong. The sheer amount of innings required from the A’s bullpen, and the lack of trustworthy options, has made a dramatic difference of late. In the end, it all comes back to the rotation, and their inability to give the bullpen a break when needed.
The Oakland A’s bullpen has been overworked and is falling apart. A large amount of blame can land on the rotation and their inability to last deep into games.