Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

A's Bull pen complains, but how about getting some outs?

A’s middle reliever Jeff Tam had another dismal performance last night. Tam told reporters after the game that if he knew his role in the bull pen and had more work, he could get batters out.

Hey, Jeff your role is to come into the game in a meaningful situation, throw strikes, get the first guy you see out, leave the inhertited runners on base, then get ready to do the same thing the next time Art Howe summons you into a game.

How’s that for a definition of your role?Middle relief has become a critical part of the game with major league starters believing that six innings is a quality start.

The A’s game turned last night because of what Tam and his bull pen mates did when they came into the game, compared to what the Yankee relievers did when Joe Torre summoned them.

Brief recap: Game tied 5-5 in the top of the seventh after a furious A’s comeback, fueled by walks provided by Yankee lefty Mike Stanton.

Art Howe called upon his veteran lefty reliever Mike Magnante to start the seventh inning. This strategy turned Bernie Williams around to the right side where he is hitting .167 (3-18, all singles). Williams promptly slashed a double to right center off Magnante.

The manager then went to his strongest righthanded reliever Jim Mecir. Within minutes, Mecir had two runners on base, bringing Jason Giambi to the plate.

After going 3-2 on Giambi, Mecir went inside with a mediocre fastball, Giambi did what he does best, he hammered the pitch into the right field corner and the Yankees regained the lead 7-5.

Tam was called upon to start the eighth inning, hold the Bombers right there, thus giving the A’s hope of another late inning comeback.

Tam gave up a lead off single, two more hits and a walk, recording just one out. The Yankees scored again and had a more comfortable 8-5 lead for closer Mariano Rivera.

Tam is 5-9 versus first batters faced when he enters the game. He is first lieutenant of the arson squad.

The Yankee pen on the other hand settled down and sealed the victory. Three Yankee relievers threw 3.6 innings, gave up one hit, and two walks, no runs and won the game.

Need any clearer definition of your role, Jeff.

Baseball has changed within the last five years. Middle relief plays a part in almost every game.

San Francisco’s Tim Worrell is well known for coming into a game with runners on base, promptly letting those runners score, then getting three outs.

Last night, Dusty Baker chose not to bring Worrell into the game with runners on base for that very reason. Dusty ordered Sammy Sosa walked to load the bases, so his lefty reliever, Aaron Fultz could pitch to Cub Fred McGriff.

McGriff tripled to right, end of story. All of the startegy was set up because Worrell, the middle reliever, wasn’t trusted by Baker to get Sosa.

The Cincinnati Reds are one half game from the lead in the NL Central because of a very successful six man bull pen.

Look at some of last night’s games.

Colorado got six innings from the pen keeping them in the game. Los Angeles has three scoreless innings from the seventh on, saving their victory. Arizona gives up two runs in the last three innings, losing the game to Atlanta. Montreal gets six innings (one run) of work from three relievers, eventually winning their game in fifteen innnigs.

The story is the same night after night.

The White Sox come into Oakland next. This weekend will be more of the same. Cory Lidle, Mark Fyhrie, and Tim Hudson, all will need help from the cadre of A’s relievers if the team is to be victorious.

Any more questions, Jeff?


1 Anonymous { 04.25.02 at 12:57 pm }


You know what they say….excuses are like assholes. We all have them and they all stink.

If I only I knew my role…if only I got more work… wah wah!

You were absolutely right when inferring your title shouldn’t matter. Go out, throw strikes, and sit the batter down.

2 Anonymous { 04.25.02 at 2:08 pm }

You’re right on the money – Tam is a professional, and he’s paid to throw strikes and get crucial outs. All of the whining and complaining on the planet doesn’t change that.

Our bullpen, with the exception of Bradford and Koch, looks old, run-down, over the hill and past their prime. You can automatically average a run per inning these guys pitch and just add it to the score when the starters come out. We’re being pitched right out of the playoffs, because I just don’t see them improving with age.

3 athletics_fan { 04.25.02 at 3:39 pm }

Marty, you couldn’t be more right. You perfectly articulate the importance of middle relievers.

Sadly, I found myself thinking that this is one area in which the A’s budgetary constraints make it difficult to compete. Several of our relievers are Billy Beane reclamation projects – i.e. pitchers other teams have given up on. He has a knack for spotting guys who have something left in their tank . . . but unfortunately these guys seem to only last for so long. Don’t get me wrong . . . he’s doing the best he can under the circumstances. But the inability to sign quality relievers will continue to be a problem for us.

4 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

5 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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