The Oakland Athletics’ season is on the upswing after a disastrous start, but there’s still one troubling situation that manager Bob Melvin has luckily, or perhaps unluckily, avoided.
The A’s have yet to face a save situation, and their projected closing pitcher, Trevor Rosenthal, was just placed on the 60-day injured list on Thursday with a neurovascular compression that required surgery. Oakland signed the veteran to a one-year, $11 million deal in the offseason.
So when Melvin (finally) faces a save situation, where will he turn?
Here’s some inside info from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Matt Kawahara on the issue. He noted that the A’s had to protect a late-inning lead for the first time on Friday and have gone 10 games to be exact without facing a save situation.
[Jake] Diekman is an option to close, but Melvin showed Saturday he will deploy the left-hander before the ninth if matchups require. [Lou] Trivino could warrant consideration if he keeps pitching well. [J.B.] Wendelken retired three batters, striking out two, on 11 pitches Saturday.Matt Kawahara/San Francisco Chronicle
The right-handed throwing Wendelken got the baseball with a 7-3 lead on Saturday against the Astros, performing well, as Kawahara notes.
But Melvin appears to have little choice to but use a closer-by-committee strategy. Though he can’t look back and wish the Athletics’ front office re-signed last year’s closer, All-Star Liam Hendriks, I certainly can. Hendriks received $54 million from the White Sox in free agency, however, and these are the low-budget A’s, so I do understand.
Before Melvin can consider his closing situation in live action, however, the Athletics have to be ahead late more often. That’s goal No. 1. But then, Melvin will have some juggling to do. Fortunately, he’s used to platooning players from his years of service with he analytics-heavy Oakland A’s.
(Photo credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)