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A’s make switch at closer — Fuentes in, Balfour out

The news continued coming after the A’s 3-1 win over the Tigers, when manager Bob Melvin announced he has switched from Grant Balfour to Brian Fuentes as his closer. Fuentes pitched the ninth for his second save of the season. Balfour has carried an 11.81 ERA with two blown saves over his past seven games.

“We’ll give Balfour a bit of a break,” Melvin said, “and it gives me another right-handed arm to use earlier in the game.”

Looking at this switch, I’m not sure it does much to improve or damage the A’s chances in the ninth. Neither Balfour nor Fuentes is a great fit for the ninth in my opinion. Both are more setup men at this point in their careers. The closer situation is definitely the weakest part of what has been, overall, a very good bullpen this season. I still expect we’ll see Ryan Cook get a crack in the ninth before long. Cook threw another scoreless eighth tonight and has yet to allow a run through 16 2/3 innings this season, the most among AL relievers.

How does Melvin’s decision grab you?

–Jemile Weeks said his sprained left ankle isn’t bad. He thinks he might even be available to play tomorrow, but Melvin listed him as doubtful. Kila Ka’aihue also is doubtful with his right hamstring injury. As I wrote earlier today, the DL is not a consideration right now for Ka’aihue.

That’s all for now …

Joe Stiglich

  • Michael V

    You are correct sir, both Balfour and Fuentes are near the end of the line and are set up men. Hopefully Fuentes or Balfour can become trade bait at the deadline. And Cook can nail down the closers role.
    That is all for now….