After dropping six straight games, the Oakland Athletics sit four game under .500, and three games out of first place in the American League West, at 22-26. While the A’s are still very much in the division race, it is hard not to notice the frustration that has been brewing in the Oakland clubhouse lately.
After being put in a fourth-straight tied-game situation, A’s closer Brian Fuentes lashed out at manager Bob Geren, calling his managerial approach “unorthodox.” Fuentes, who became the team’s closer after Andrew Bailey suffered an injury, has lost four straight decisions to fall to 1-7 on the season.
He does lead the team with 9 saves, but he hasn’t had a save opportunity since May 8. Geren’s decision to bring Fuentes in during non-save situations has the veteran scratching his head, “There’s just no communication…I don’t think anybody really knows which direction he’s headed.”
The A’s are in a very tough spot right now, having lost six straight games, and are not getting much help from their offense. During the losing streak, the A’s offense has mustered up just 10 runs. Oakland will need much more production from their offense if they wish to reach the post season for the first time since 2006.
Oakland also needs better leadership, namely in the form of Bob Geren. Geren entered this season with perhaps the best team he’s had since he took over in 2007, but his team has remained inconsistent this year.
Geren’s lack of communication, as Fuentes suggests, could be a problem for this A’s squad. Frustration could be building, and a lack of communication from a manager does not bode well for a young team like the A’s. In fact, wasn’t that the reason why the A’s fired Geren’s predecessor, Ken Macha? Players complained of Macha’s lack of communication, and GM Billy Beane sided with the players. Would Beane do the same to Geren, one of his closest friends?
That’s something we’ll have to wait and see, but at the moment, the A’s must deal with Fuentes’ blasting of Geren. It’s still early in the season, and the A’s are still just three games out of first in the AL West. Addressing this lack of communication, or “unorthodox” managerial style, should be the number one priority for the A’s front office right now.