On Thursday, the Athletics clung to a slim 2-1 lead against the Cubs entering the eighth inning.
When Michael Wuertz loaded the bases against the Cubs, A's manager Bob Geren decided it was time to bring in closer Andrew Bailey with one out. The only problem is that he did not double-switch Bailey into the game, leaving the pitcher's spot to bat in the top of the ninth.
Bailey would surrender an inherited run and Oakland went on to lose the game on a bases-loaded walkoff single by Kosuke Fukudome in the bottom ninth after Bailey was pulled from the game. Fans everywhere wondered why Geren didn't double-switch Bailey out and why he didn't pitch the ninth as well, given Bailey is no stranger to multiple-inning outings.
On Friday morning, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle revealed that Geren told Bailey last weekend he was going to start limiting Bailey's outings to just one inning to keep the closer fresh all season and get some set roles for other relievers.
"I just think he wants to get guys more roles and have them confident in certain situations, which will play out through the end of the year," Bailey noted. "I think it's a smart move."
Hence, Jerry Blevins in the ninth.
That doesn't necessarily absolve Geren of all blame, however. Putting aside the moment whether the philosophy should have been abandoned to give Oakland the best chance of winning the game, the question of double-switching remains.
Geren said that if Bailey had preserved the 2-1 lead in the eighth, "that would have been a decision right there."
Unfortunately for Oakland, Geren's decisions up to that point played a factor in a 3-2 defeat.
-- Evan Brunell
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