Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Professor Votes For A Closer Look

While everyone has been wondering about a replacement for the soon-to-be-very-wealthy Barry Zito, I’m concerned about another critical role on the A’s: the closer.

Toward the last few months of the season, many fans were seduced by the A’s dominance, and overlooked the struggles of Huston Street. Sorry, pupils, it looks like opposing batters, especially left-handed ones, have figured out the former rookie of the year. And I’m not ignoring his strained right pectoral muscle injury, which may be the cause for his decline.

Click below for more! But the reality is this: The A’s cannot compete with the Angels next year, if they don’t have an effective savior in the bullpen. Even when the A’s were winning, professor had a critical eye on Street. Macha frequently brought Street in the game with a three-run lead, and hitters hammered the kid, and he barely hung onto the save. Too close for comfort for the professor. All through his struggles, I hoped the A’s would avoid pitching him in a close game, hoping Justin Duchscherer would get the call, but he was injured.

Street officially blew eleven saves in 2006, but each appearance had the professor perspiring. Even when Street managed to get an out, the batter drilled the ball right at a fielder (professor sees everything, pupils). Check out the American League Division series’ replays. Street’s statistics looked better than he actually pitched.

In the ALCS, Street’s ERA was scary 10.80, allowing four runs in only 3 innings. Each appearance, he allowed a home run. And yes, Macha, out of desperation, threw him out to pitch three innings during the final game, but the statistics don’t lie, Shakira.

Street doesn’t have the luxury of unleashing an overpowering fastball, so location and movement are paramount for him to survive. Without those pitches working, Street is average.

Street’s decline may stem from his health, but it also may also relate to scouting reports, and opposing batters sitting on his flat slider. Street also needs to adjust before he stumbles into the Ben Grieve category; lots of potential and upside, but never reaching his promise.

So before Beane hunts for a new starting pitcher during the winter meetings in December, he must ponder a Plan B for the closer role, if Street (Plan A) continues his struggles. Or, Street may simply end up like former A’s closer Mike Fetters, who allowed three hits an appearance, but somehow backed into a save. If that happens, the A’s could be chasing the Angels throughout the season.

And that can’t happen if the A’s are to again entertain us in October.

Until next time, I remain,

Professor Oakland

I blog:


1 Anonymous { 11.08.06 at 1:26 pm }

Armando Benitez and Keith Foulke to the rescue!!

Jerry F

2 ProfessorOakland { 11.08.06 at 3:38 pm }

If that happens, I’ll stick with Street, Jerry.

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