Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ty Van Burkleo

First of all even though I can't stand the thought of Bob Geren being the A's manager, Ty Van Burkleo is even worse then Geren. I have yet to see any A's hitter make an adjustment at the plate. An example of this is Carlos Gonzalez he gets ahead in the count 2-0 and he sits on fastball but the pitcher throughs a a slider low and inside he nearly swings at it everytime and then the pitcher goes back to the same pitch and he swings at it again. No adjustment made by Gonzalez and it usually results into an out. They refuse to help Jack Cust with his swing they would rather see him swing and a miss then help him make more contact with the ball resulting in less strike outs, more balls put into play, more rbi opporutinities for Cust as well as the other hitters behind him, etc.....
I believe in one of the reasons why Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney, Gregorio Petit when up, Wes Bankston, and Emil Brown in the first part of the season, Mike Sweeney, and Frank Thomas have hit well was because they didn't have Ty Van Burkleo in their heads and instructing them how to hit. Honestly, I do not know how he Van Burkleo still has a job. He didn't hit that well in the minors a life time .279 batting average and even worse a crappy .132 batting average with the California Angels and Colorado Rockies. Van Burkleo only played two years in the majors because he was awful. He's an awful hitting coach and he should be fired. The only reason why the players that I mentioned before are hitting well is because they had better instruction in the minors or on other major league teams. It's just disgusting watching the A's continue to struggle at the plate and strike out and rarely make contact with a pitch.
I'm also tired of wasted opportunities with runners on base. Especially when there are no outs and we could put up a few runs on the board. Particularly in yesterday's game we had Rajai Davis steal 2nd and scored on a single by Ryan Sweeney. Ryan Sweeney then steals second. Kurt Suzuki should have been bunting to get Sweeney over to third, but no they didn't do that they let him swing away and he ended up striking out in fact Mariano Rivera who was pitching at the time went on to strike out the two other batters in the inning. If the A's had tried to sacrafice and were succesfull with it it would have changed the complexion of that inning. The A's management needs to realize that they need to be a little more aggressive on the bases because we haven't been able to hit or score any runs. We have been at the top of the ERA in the AL pretty much for most of the season we should be rewarding our pitchers with runs.
I could care less about Beane and the future in 2011. Guess what? It's the 2008 season we are only 5 games back from a playoff berth there is no reason to give up the season in the middle of July. We need a hitting coach who actually knows that when you have applied for this job that you're actually supposed to help them not hinder them. For example with Andy Pettite pitching and trying to hit the outside corner most of the time the A's hitter should have been looking to the the ball the other way. The only player to do that was Mark Ellis and it got us 1st and third with 2 outs, but of course we couldn't capitalize on it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

CB Buckner.....

This is CB Buckner a MLB umpire. I'm sure he's a great guy off the field, but he doesn't deserve to be umpiring in the Major Leagues. First of all he needs to go back to umpiring school to check out what is a ball and what is a strike. This is what happened in today's game against the A's and Angels. He was calling pitches for strikes that were balls for the Angels, but for the A's he would call balls on pitches that should have been strikes. Even the laid back Justin Duschcherer had to ask him where a pitch was and he got a little upset and took off his mask. Suzuki blocked Buckner from coming to the mound right away and Curt Young the A's pitching coach came out to talk to him and Duschcherer apologized for showing him up a little. That should have ended it but no it did not. The bottom of that inning he started expanding the stirke zone even more calling strikes that were nowhere near the plate. Later on in the top of the ninth inning the Angels had first and third. Torii Hunter had singled and Juan Rivera had singled as well and was pinch ran for with Reggie Willits. Howie Kendrick was the next at bat he took a ball and fouled off another pitch for a 1-1 count. The next pitch was on the outside corner of the plate and was a strike, but Buckner called it a ball. The next pitch from Street Kendrick couldn't check his swing and it should have been a strike out for Street, but it wasn't eventually after a few more pitches Kendrick hit a sacrafice fly to tie the game up and eventually on a boneheaded play by the A's infield the Angels scored to take the lead.

Bottom of the Ninth Carlos Gonzalez singles to get on off of Francisco Rodriguez and Mark Ellis walks on 4 straight pitches that were a little low. The next batter is Daric Barton who lays down a sacrafice bunt making it 2nd and third with one out. The Angels intentionally walk Jack Hannahan to load the bases. Rob Bowen pinch hits for Donnie Murphy and Bowen takes a called third strike which was a ball becuase hey were the same exacty location of the 4 straight balls to Mark Ellis. Next batter is Kurt Suzuki he takes the first two pitches for a ball so he has a 2-0 count he gets a fastball on the outside corner that was the same exact pitch as Street threw and was called for a ball instead of a 3-0 count Buckner calls the pitch a strike. So instead of having a 3-0 count it becomes 2-1 and Suzuki fouls off the next pitch making it 2-2 and Suzuki strikes out to end the game on a swinging strike.

Now normally I don't get this upset about an umpire but I felt like I had to do somthing so my goal is to get CB Buckner investigated because from what I've read about him it's not good. There's been a baragge of people calling for his firing and I believe it's time for the baseball too take a real hard long look at Buckner and see if he's involved in any gambling. The game was totally one sided in terms of how he called pitches. The way he called out Carlos Gonzalez where he thought about the pitch and then came to terms that it was a strike where Gonzalez already had gotten ready for the next pitch then you see Buckner emphatically punch him out. This clown needs to be removed from baseball ASAP!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bob Geren

Bob Geren is better off in the Minor Leagues where he belongs. Now that he's in the major leagues he's been less than stellar. I must admit though I'm pretty surprised the A's have the record they do now especially the injuries they've had this year. Maybe I'm being a little harsh on him since it is his second year in the major leauges. So, let's take a look at some things that need to be fixed so Geren can even further excel in the major leagues. Otherwise he's just going to be another one of the same A's mold of managers who don't get the job done.

1. Fix the way he uses the bullpen usually by putting Embree in against a left handed bat. Embree is better off geting right handers out. Embree did a great job last year while Street was injured, but this year he's been subpar. Right handers hit Embree at a .250 clip and lefties hit at a .277 clip. Another example is bringing Keith Foulke into the game in the 6th inning against the Angels first of all Keith Foulke doesn't have a dominating fastball and he relies on hitting spots, when he misses the ball gets crushed. Now keeping him in to face Juan Rivera was not a good idea seeing how Foulke doesn't get righties out. His batting average against for righties is .265 while lefties hit .191 off of him.

2. When our pitchers struggle with commanding the strike zone he takes too long to do anything to help the pitcher out. Whether it's sending Suzuki out to the mound or Curt Young to come out of the dugout to settle down the pitcher. Most teams are not like the A's and will take a 3-0 pitch that's right down the middle most will be aggressive and hit it. So, most of the time a lot of damage is done because our pitchers over compensating for the lack of command and just groove it down the middle of the plate and get it hard. So, it's time for Geren to start having Suzuki come out more or Curt Young to come out and make sure they settle down the pitcher whether it's a veteran in Embree who tends to give up a lot of hits or a youngster like Eveland, Smith, Harden, or Blanton.

3. For Geren he needs to go up to Billy Beane and say to him Ty Van Burkleo needs to be fired. He is ruining our young hitters to the point where they need to be sent down to the minors to get their swing back instead the A's should go ahead and promote Brian McArn from Sacramento to become the hitting coach. Maybe even though his method is pretty much the same as the A's philosophy to work the counts he can teach the young A's hitters that its ok to be aggressive especially if they feel like the pitcher is just trying to get a pitch over for a strike. Basically what Wes Bankston did for his first homerun in the majors and that is be aggressive. We need more aggressive hitters. That's the difference between Barton and Bankston that Bankston is looking for a certain pitch and he hits it whether it's the first pitch or the fifth pitch. Barton takes too many pitches and therefore he falls behind in the count a lot more and ends up watching a fastball paint the outside corner. From what I heard about him is that he was a gap to gap hitter who would mature to hit a few homeruns, right now he doesn't look like either one of those hitters. I think that he feels too much pressure to produce because of all the injuries on the team and that is causing him to become pull happy and its not working for him he needs to go back to the approach he had when he first came up last year and that is taking the pitch to left field.