Ah, nothing says "the baseball season is really here" than your first, good heart-felt second-guess. Last night gave me my first good one.
I've been getting annoyed at how bad Bob Geren has been at recognizing when Joe Blanton is running out of gas. There was a breakdown of the A's on Hardball Times yesterday where Jeff Sackmann wrote "Blanton has been pedestrian", which if you look at his basic stats (1-4, 4.32) appears to be true, but that's been misleading. Joe Blanton hasn't been pedestrian, he's been fabulous. The problem is that Geren has removed Blanton after he's run out of gas in all but one of Blanton's six starts this year.
Compare Blantons' last half-inning of work to all the earlier innings so far:
vs. 1st X Last <1 IP ER IP ER BOS 5.0 0 0.2 3 BOS 5.0 1 1.0 1 CLE 6.0 0 0.2 2 CLE 7.0 1 0.2 5 SEA 7.0 4 1.0 0 MIN 7.0 4 0.2 1 All 37.0 9 4.2 12
Before his last inning, Blanton has an ERA of 2.19. In his last inning, Blanton's ERA is 23.14. Methinks Mr. Geren needs to do a better job of removing Blanton before damage is done.
Last night's loss was particularly annoying, as Blanton was approaching 100 pitches, it was a tie game with one out in the 8th inning, and three of the next four batters were left-handed. Perfect time for Alan Embree, wouldn't you think? Not if you're Bob Geren, apparently. Blanton gave up hits to two of next three batters before Embree came in and gave up the single which won the game for Minnesota.