Texas 2, Oakland 1 (12) (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 18-17
Just like in Tuesday's game, Bob Geren made a bunch of questionable decisions in an extra inning game. And once again, the moves may not have mattered in the final outcome. Still, the A's manager's questionable bullpen moves and their short bench have hampered their ability to win games.
The reason I say Geren's decision making didn't have an affect on the final outcome of the game is because of the A's offensive ineptitude. Perhaps they reached their series limit after scoring seven runs on Tuesday; they've scored only two runs in the last 21 innings. Yesterday, they managed only seven hits in twelve innings, only one of which went for extra bases (Jake Fox's eighth inning double).
The sorry offensive performance wasted Ben Sheets' second consecutive good start and a couple magic acts from the bullpen, though the pen probably could have avoided double duty as escape artists had Geren learned from his mistakes on Tuesday night. Someone should write "Don't Let Ziggy Face Lefties" on Geren's hand. Ziegler faced three lefties in the bottom of the ninth inning, and retired only one. The A's lived to see extra inning only because Cliff Pennington was able to throw out David Murphy at home with runners at the corners and one out.
Geren didn't make any bad substitutions with his position players, but his short bench didn't give him any flexibility at all. With Sweeney out with an illness, the A's had a two-man bench yesterday. After Eric Patterson pinch hit for Landon Powell in the ninth, the A's were committed to Jake Fox in the outfield the rest of the game. Although the game ended with Fox unable to get to a flyball to left that most outfielders would have gotten to, there really wasn't much Geren could have done to avoid that scenario. You could argue that it was unnecessary to use Patterson to hit for the switch-hitting Landon Powell, but had Powell reached base, Patterson would have (or at least should have) run for him anyways.
I'm not so sure why the A's have been so insistent upon their current roster construction. The options on the 40-man roster are limited, especially given that Matt Carson is on the minor league DL. But Steve Tolleson was available and would have been more useful to the A's than say, Edwar Ramirez, over the past few days. Unfortunately the A's will continue to play with a short bench for a while longer. Saturday, the A's have to make a couple roster moves to make room for Justin Duchscherer and (hopefully) Kurt Suzuki. But, the they'll likely send Ramirez and Donaldson down to make room for the DL returnees, leaving the composition of the bench intact. It will likely take Mark Ellis and/or Coco Crisp getting healthy for the A's abandon the ludicrous three-man bench.