Posted By Jeff Fletcher on April 2, 2011 9:51 pm
Two games into the season and the A’s bullpen has not quite lived up to its billing. Yes, two entire games, and I’m ready to chuck the whole bunch of them and determine that all we thought over the winter about them being so much improved was just a bunch of a hooey.
I mean, tonight the relievers gave up four runs in three innings in a 5-2 loss to the Mariners! You’ve got to make some pretty bad pitches to give up four runs to the Mariners.
Brian Fuentes (video below) started the ninth and gave up three. He wasn’t sharp at all. That’s just a fluke thing. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. However, some of the other stuff that’s gone on is a legitimate reason for concern for the first few weeks of the season.
It’s all because of Andrew Bailey.
Bailey has a strained forearm, and everyone says he’s coming along just great and he’ll be ready in no time. In the meantime, though, his absence pushes everyone back to a different spot. On Friday night, the A’s had to use Jerry Blevins, who might not even be on the team if Bailey were there.
Then there’s Craig Breslow and Michael Wuertz. Neither pitched much in spring training, which is the result of the A’s proper decision to be very cautious with their injuries. Only now the season has started and they are running out there without much spring training under their collective belts. Breslow pitched just three times in spring training, and none back-to-back. But now he’s pitched back-to-back in the first two games of the season, and he hasn’t been good in either.
I’m sure (well, pretty sure) that by the end of the year the A’s bullpen will be good. I’m just not sure that the problems are going to go away immediately. It may take a few weeks, for Bailey to get back and for Breslow and Wuertz to get their spring training.
Meanwhile, here’s what Brian Fuentes had to say about his A’s debut.