Bob Geren's legacy as manager of the Oakland A's will always be his legendary incompetency. No manager in Major League history is as clueless at using their bullpen as Geren has been.
Tonight illustrates a perfect example of how Geren can destroy the confidence of a young pitcher. Henry Rodriguez came into the ballgame to face Paul Konerko in the top half of the eighth inning, and Rodriguez did his job keeping the game close at 3-1.
Rodriguez's biggest problem has been his wildness. So, getting the last out in the eighth inning could have been a huge boost to his confidence, especially knowing that he came in during a key situation and was able to retire the All-Star Paul Konerko.
Instead, Geren kept Rodriguez in the game. It wasn't like the A's bullpen wasn't rested, considering the A's had an offday yesterday. There were plenty of choices that Geren had to use in the ninth inning. The list includes Craig Breslow, Ross Wolf, Michael Wuertz, or Brad Ziegler.
The A's again paid for another mistake by Geren. Rodriguez was wild in walking the first man he faced in Carlos Quentin, and because Rodriguez has a big leg kick it made it extremely easy for the White Sox to steal on him.
Andruw Jones pitch ran for Quentin and he stole a base rather easily. Mark Kotsay had a tremendous at-bat against Rodriguez but then again, this isn't is the minor leagues and hitters aren't going to be blown away by a high 90s fastball.
Kotsay served the ball into left field for a single, Jones stopped at third. Brent Lillibridge ran for Kotsay and easily stole second. A.J. Pierzynski followed that up with a single right up the middle driving in both runs.
After giving up that hit Rodriguez finally settled in striking out the next three batters, but not until the damage was done. Two runs that pushed the lead to 5-1 and with Mark Buehrle in complete control the game was over before the bottom of the ninth even began.
With a 3-1 lead the White Sox had at least the A's could have made something of the game, but instead Geren threw in the white flag by keeping Rodriguez on the mound.
It would have been much better if Geren had removed Rodriguez from the game after he induced the ground ball hit by Konerko because it would have built his confidence up and then gradually Rodriguez could be put into the game to pitch an inning.