The Oakland Athletics were once again reminded tonight why the team has no success in the playoffs. It is due to the poor decision-making of Bob Melvin.
Tonight’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays captures this completely. All Melvin needed to do was let Sean Manaea go back out for the bottom of the eighth inning with an 8-2 lead. Instead he brings in the struggling Lou Trivino who has not appeared in a game since August 27th.
Breyvic Valera walked to leadoff the inning before Trivino struckout George Springer, Marcus Semien grounded out, yet that meant he got to face the heart of the Blue Jays order starting off with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who singled in a run. Bo Bichette got hit by a pitch and Teoscar Hernandez walked. Melvin elected to then go with the overused Yusmeiro Petit.
He ended up walking Alejandro Kirk and then giving up a grand slam to Lourdes Gurriel to tie the game up. Petit got out of the inning by striking out Corey Dickerson. Still that meant the bullpen was active with Jake Diekman and Sergio Romo beginning to warm up.
After blowing the six run lead it seemed the Blue Jays were the team with the momentum. Yet Matt Olson singled to lead off the top of the ninth inning off Jordan Romano.
Romano then got Jed Lowrie and Matt Chapman to strikeout before Mark Canha hit a two-run home run down the left field line to give the A’s a 10-8 lead.
With a left-handed hitter in Valera leading off the bottom of the ninth inning, Melvin shockingly went with Romo who hasn’t been stellar since taking over as closer for the A’s.
Romo allowed a bloop single to left field and even when he made a good pitch Springer he made him pay. This time a double down the left field line putting runners on second and third with no outs. Semien didn’t miss his chance on getting revenge against his former team. On a 2-2 count he hit a game winning three-run home run.
Blame here goes squarely on Melvin. All this was avoidable if Manaea went out for the bottom of the eighth or if he went with Diekman instead of Romo. Over the past 30 days there have been bad losses by Oakland and this one is by far the worst. Inexcusable doesn’t even begin to describe it, yet somehow this has become the norm with Melvin as manager and it is unacceptable.
After the game Manaea got asked about the decision. He said “he could’ve gone out for the 8th inning, but he resepect BoMel’s decision.” Still that is not a good response from a competitor and it has nothing to do with respecting his manager’s decision.
Manaea needs to show some fire instead.