By Joe Stiglich
Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 at 6:58 pm in Uncategorized.
If you watched all, or most, or even the final two innings of the A’s 10-9 loss to the Yankees in 14 innings Saturday, there isn’t much that needs to be said in the aftermath. But in a season in which the A’s have proven so resilient, it seems they’re now being presented the ultimate challenge — bouncing back from consecutive extra-inning losses at Yankee Stadium and losing four of the first five on this 10-game road trip. The A’s have some seasoned veterans on this team — Jonny Gomes, Coco Crisp (though he’s injured), Seth Smith and Grant Balfour among them — but they also have 14 rookies on the roster, and several of them play instrumental roles. How will these young guys respond over these final 11 games?
–Regarding Bob Melvin’s use of his bullpen in the 13th inning, you could question whether the A’s would have been better going with the veteran Pat Neshek to start the inning instead of unproven Pedro Figueroa. Figueroa allowed three consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs before Neshek was called upon, and a four-run lead would soon evaporate. I didn’t have a problem with that call. By that point, so many of the primary relievers had been used up. With a four-run lead, Melvin had reason to think Figueroa would be able to close it out, thus allowing him to keep Neshek fresh for Sunday, when his bullpen figures to be short-handed.
At any rate, it’s absolutely essential for the A’s that rookie A.J. Griffin pitches deep into Sunday’s game considering how taxed the bullpen is. And he’s coming off his first defeat as a major leaguer after six straight victories. Stay tuned …