Friday, September 30, 2005

Blown Jobs - Joe Kennedy Edition

I decided to take a closer look at each and every one of the blown saves recorded by the members of the A's bullpen this year and see how many are really the direct result of Macha's bullpen "management."

First up: Joe Kennedy.

Blown Save Number: 1
Oakland at Texas

Joe Blanton got off to a rocky start at Texas, giving up three runs in the first two innings. He struggled his way through four more innings, but managed not to allow another run. He can thank Jay Payton and his spectacular, backwards-diving, wall-clashing catch for that.

Our A's managed to climb back into the game, scoring two runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth. Our 4-3 lead was anything but secure heading into the bottom of the sixth. That's when Ken Macha turned to Joe Kennedy as the first man out of the 'pen. Joe effing Kennedy. In the span of four batters, the lead was gone.

Luckily, the Rangers only scored one and we added on to secure the win.

Oakland - 6, Texas - 4

Counting on Joe Kennedy to protect a one-run lead in Arlington?

That was stupid.

So who takes the blame for Joe Kennedy's first blown save as an Athletic?

Blown Save Number: 2
Kansas City at Oakland

A pitcher's duel finds our A's and Kansas City's Royals tied at zero heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Joe Blanton finally got some run support, as Crosby, Johnson and Payton knocked in a run each.

The 3-0 lead held up until the eighth inning, when Macha handed the ball over to Jay Witasick. The first three batters he faces promptly reach base and his day is done.

Enter Joe Kennedy. Matt Stairs drives an 0-2 pitch for a double and the 3-0 lead is cut to 3-2. The next batter he faces is Emil Brown and our A's trade a run (and the lead) for an out when he grounds out to the shortstop. T-Long (aka Goggles Paisano) hits next and pops up a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Kansas City takes the lead and Kennedy's done.

Huston Street replaces Kennedy too little too late and retires Angel Berroa to end the inning. But the damage has already been done.

Our A's battle back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, but fail to score again. Duchscherer, Calero and Rincon all pitch in the extra frames. I wonder why none of them pitched in the eighth? Oh, that's right...'cause Ken Macha is a damn fool.

Kansas City - 5, Oakland - 4

Handing the ball over to Jay Witasick and Joe Kennedy in an eighth inning save situation when Duchscherer, Calero and Rincon were all available?

That was stupid.

Two blown saves for Kennedy and Macha's responsible for both. And one of those led to a loss. Which brings me to my latest feature.

Up next: Jay Witasick


Blogger Greg said...

I love this. We'll finally be able to effectively quantify Macha's detrimental effects.

And just to refute the counterpoint that somebody will bring up eventually: Roman didn't talk about usage patterns and fatigue with the pitchers because he shouldn't have to. Over the course of a year, there will be enough complete games and blowouts (either way) that will allow Macha to save his best relievers for the games he really needs them; you know, close games.

Certainly, there will be some imperfections to the empirical applications in which Macha (for reasons beyond his control) has no choice but to throw Scrub McSuckass into a close game, but these games should be so few and far between, and the rational fan should be able to recognize the bind that Macha was in, and exculpate him of blame.

That has certainly not been the case with Macha, though. I bet the asshole-o-meter is above 10 by the time this excercise is finished.

Friday, September 30, 2005 3:09:00 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

great analysis.

I guess I may have been a bit pre-mature in asking what will become of the blog.

[weeps softly]

Friday, September 30, 2005 10:01:00 PM  

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