OAKLAND, CA - MAY 03: Brian Fuentes #57 of the Oakland Athletics is taken out of the game by manager Bob Geren after he gave up three runs to the Cleveland Indians in the ninth inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 3, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Huston Street Joins Brian Fuentes In Chorus

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Huston Street Not A Big Bob Geren Fan, Either

Bob Geren's definitely under a harsh spotlight, given Brian Fuentes' comments Monday night, and with ex-A's closer Huston Street now weighing in. John Shea (via SFGate):

In September 2008, Street had to be separated from Geren by shortstop Bobby Crosby after getting pulled from a game in Detroit. Calling himself "selfish," Street later held a meeting to apologize to his teammates.

On Tuesday, Street, now with the Rockies, offered his harshest public criticism of Geren in a text to Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser:

"Bob was never good at communication, and I don't want to speak for anybody else, but it was a sentiment reflected in many conversations during the two years I spent in Oakland, and even recently when talking to guys after I left. For me personally, he was my least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports from age 6 to 27. I am very thankful to be in a place where I can trust my manager."

Since Fuentes popped off, a fair number of my baseball-writing friends have suggested, in no uncertain terms, that relief pitchers should quit whining and just $%&@# pitch when their manager tells them to pitch -- save situation, non-save situation, whatever.

Well, sure. It would be lovely if the world worked that way. But one of a manager's jobs -- shoot, maybe his most important job -- is to know, with some degree of precision, how his players will respond in various situations.

According to John Shea, "In his 11 save opportunities, Fuentes has a 2.92 ERA and has converted nine. In 12 non-save chances, Fuentes is 0-6 with an 8.00 ERA."

Does Fuentes perform worse in non-save situations because it's all in his head? That's an interesting theoretical question, but practically speaking it's irrelevant. Once you've got Brian Fuentes on your roster, all you can do put him in positions in which he's most likely to succeed. Considering Fuentes' seven losses, it might be fair to say that Bob Geren has failed to do that.

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Brian Fuentes Has Even More Harsh Words For Bob Geren

A’s reliever Brian Fuentes, upset with the way manager Bob Geren has handled him and the rest of the bullpen this year, had even more to say after he spoke to MLB.com’s Jane Lee. Via tweets from the San Francisco Chronicle’s national baseball writer John Shea, Fuentes didn’t hold back. In chronological order, here are Fuentes’ quotes via Shea’s tweets:

Brian Fuentes rips into Bob Geren: “Unorthodox managing. I thought it was a NL thing. But tonight was pretty unbelievable.”

Fuentes on how much Geren communicates with him: “zero.”

When Fuentes got call in 8th inning in 1-1 game today: “I thought he misspoke. I thought it was a mistake.”

Ranking Geren with his other managers, Fuentes said, “It’s a pretty drastic difference.”

Fuentes said it’s not just him when it comes to Geren: “I don’t think anybody knows what direction he’s headed.”

Time for a clear-the-air session with Geren? Fuentes: “At this point, I have nothing to say.”

It would seem that either Fuentes — or Geren — or maybe both — could be changing jobs or losing jobs pretty soon.

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A's Reliever Brian Fuentes (1-7) Rips Manager Bob Geren

So anyway, Monday night A's closer Brian Fuentes faced two batters in the bottom of the eighth inning, walked one of them, and wound up getting hung with his seventh loss in this young season. Afterward, he didn't seem super-duper thrilled with A's manager Bob Geren. A few snippets of his postgame comments (via MLB.com's Jane Lee):

What did you think of the situation you were placed in tonight?

Fuentes: It's surprising yet not surprising all at the same time.

How do you feel with the way the manager has handled you as a reliever?

Fuentes: Pretty poorly.

How much communication do you have with him?

Fuentes: Zero.

Why is it pretty poorly?

Fuentes: There's just no communication. Two games, on the road, bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so. And then, tonight, in the seventh inning, I get up. I haven't stretched, I haven't prepared myself. If there was some communication beforehand I would be ready to come into the game - which I was, when I came into the game, I was ready. Just lack of communication. I don't think anybody really knows which direction he's headed.

We outsiders like to argue that managers should deploy their best relievers at the key moments in the games, whether those moments come in the seventh inning or the ninth or somewhere in between. But insiders will tell you that one of the reasons relievers are so tough -- the ones with set roles, anyway -- is that they know when to start stretching, when to start throwing, when to gulp down three cups of strong coffee, etc.

I don't know who's right, but if a pitcher comes into the game and doesn't think he's ready, he probably isn't.

Oakland's strength this season was supposed to be their pitching, and it has been. But they've now lost two starting pitchers to the Disabled List and their closer has seven losses. Worse, their closer is openly questioning his manager, with no uncertain words.

Just looking at the numbers, there's no reason to panic. The A's are in last place, but they're only three games out of first place and their run differential is better than their record. But the A's were supposed to contend this season, they haven't played well, and now there's open dissension in the ranks. I don't think Bob Geren's going to be fired, but it seems a lot more possible today than yesterday.

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