Communication issues meant Bob Geren had to get the boot

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It’s a given that Oakland GM Billy Beane didn’t want to let his close friend go: Bob Geren was the best man at his wedding.  Still, the change needed to come with Geren having lost the A’s clubhouse.

In replacing Geren, the A’s chose a lesser baseball man but a better manager of people in Bob Melvin.  Melvin often baffled with his lineup decisions in Seattle and he didn’t get a whole lot better in Arizona, but his players liked him and generally seemed to play hard for him.

Geren has had to deal with both current reliever Brian Fuentes and former reliever Huston Street bashing him in recent weeks.  Former A’s backup catcher Rob Bowen has also chimed in, showing a strong dislike for his ex-manager:

Finally the A’s have realized Geren has destroyed a dozen pitcher’s careers and doesn’t have a clue how to manage a big league club

As CSN Bay Area’s Ray Ratto puts it:

Geren struggled throughout his 4 1/2-year tenure as the Oakland manager to win  the respect of either his roster or the outside world. It wasn’t that he didn’t know baseball as much as he didn’t know how to convey it, and those who cannot communicate are doomed no matter how smart they might be.

Melvin really has his work cut out for him now.   The A’s are down three starters and their top rotation replacement in Tyson Ross.  The offense is next to last in the AL with 223 runs scored, and the fact that part-timers Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson have actually been the team’s second- and third-best hitters behind Josh Willingham will make deciding on a lineup a tricky assignment each and every day.

Given the hand that Geren was dealt, I doubt the A’s would have any better of a record through 63 games had Melvin been handed the reins at the start of the year.  Still, it was time for a change.  Melvin was far from an ideal choice, but given what was available and the team’s need for harmony in the clubhouse, he’s probably the right man for now.

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.