Brian Fuentes was re-installed as the A’s closer yesterday. He was pleased about it. Grant Balfour: far less pleased about losing the job:
“I told [Bob Melvin] I wasn’t happy about it,” Balfour said. “I was pissed off. It’s fine, whatever. He knows how I feel. I’ll just go on the field and do what I do .. Do I feel like it was kind of a short leash? Yeah, a little bit,” Balfour said. “Shoot, I had a couple of bad games, I feel like I’ve pitched pretty good here for the last year and a month. There goes that. It’s kind of a bit of a bummer. I’m disappointed.”
I figure this falls under “mad, but constructively so, in a manner which suggests competitiveness so no one will think he’s being disruptive” and not “clubhouse problem.” There’s a much greater margin for error with that sort of thing in Oakland than there is in, say, New York or Boston, however, of course.
Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if his name was Strikthree instead of Balfour we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
Brewers starter Gio González was forced to exit his NLCS Game 4 start against the Dodgers in the second inning after twisting his left ankle attempting to field a comebacker hit by Yasiel Puig. González leaped, deflected the ball and twisted his ankle landing, then went after the ball but Puig reached base easily.
The Brewers’ trainer and manager Craig Counsell came out to the mound to observe González throwing some practice pitches. He was clearly in pain but was allowed to stay in. He threw one pitch to Austin Barnes and very visibly grimaced after completing his wind-up. Counsell came back out to the mound and took a visibly upset González out of the game. Freddy Peralta came in relief to finish out the at-bat. González probably shouldn’t have been allowed to stay in the game in the first place, but sometimes a player’s competitiveness is enough to convince a manager and a trainer.
Upon entering, Peralta issued a walk to Austin Barnes, then got the first out when Rich Hill laid down a mediocre bunt, allowing Peralta to get the lead runner at third base. Peralta struck out Chris Taylor and walked Justin Turner to load the bases with two outs. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to pinch-hit for David Freese with Max Muncy, who struck out looking. Peralta was somehow able to slither out of the jam.
Gonzalez pitched two innings in NLCS Game 1 on Friday. He was quite good after joining the Brewers in a late-August trade with the Nationals, compiling a 2.13 regular season ERA in five starts with his new club. The Brewers will likely provide an update on his status after Tuesday night’s game.