NEW YORK -- Though the A's simultaneous trade of veteran relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals was sensible for both sides, there's no denying the present consequences of last week's deal in Oakland.The A's bullpen is hurting without their complementary setup men. The club was reminded of
NEW YORK -- Though the A's simultaneous trade of veteran relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals was sensible for both sides, there's no denying the present consequences of last week's deal in Oakland.
The A's bullpen is hurting without their complementary setup men. The club was reminded of this for the second straight night Saturday, when the team came out on the wrong end of a six-run comeback in a 6-5 loss to the Mets at Citi Field.
Saturday starter Sean Manaea took the brunt of the blame for the club's latest late-inning meltdown, unraveling in a four-run sixth inning after maneuvering his way through five scoreless. The Mets combined to hit for the cycle in the inning, and only after Michael Conforto's two-out, run-scoring double -- Manaea's seventh batter of the inning -- did A's manager Bob Melvin come to get him in favor of newbie Blake Treinen.
"It's a whole different dynamic with the starting pitcher," Melvin said. "We're going to let Manaea at least go through the lefties there. If we have some other guys, maybe a different story.
"We might see some games like that potentially leading up to [Santiago] Casilla if we can't get the ball to him, based on the fact that we miss two guys. But it's an opportunity for some of these guys to potentially pitch late in the game and come through for us. We will get [Ryan] Dull back pretty soon, and he'll be big for us, but until then it's going to be a little different in the late innings."
Dull, on the mend from a right knee strain, made a rehab appearance with Triple-A Nashville on Friday night and could rejoin the A's in Toronto next week. His return will help restore order to the late innings once reserved for Doolittle and Madson.
Oakland also let go of a 3-2 lead in Friday night's opener, with New York plating a combined five runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
"I think when you lose guys like that, it's always an adjustment," lefty Daniel Coulombe said. "But I think we've got to be better, and I think we will."
Coulombe was brought aboard with a runner on second and two outs in the eighth inning Saturday in place of right-hander Liam Hendriks, who induced a key double-play ball off the bat of Jose Reyes before surrendering a double to Travis d'Arnaud. That's when pinch-hitter Lucas Duda sent a game-tying single up the middle.
"I just didn't get ahead of him," Coulombe said. "2-0, I threw a sinker, and it wasn't a good one. It wasn't well located."
New York put the finishing touches on the comeback with two outs in the ninth inning, with Wilmer Flores homering off righty Simon Castro.
"Without a doubt, when you take away your 7-8 guys, it's always a change, but you're also taking away two very important pieces just for guys to talk to," Hendriks said. "I leaned on Madson a lot, just talking pitching and doing this and doing that. It stinks missing them, but it's a good opportunity for those guys to get into a pennant race.
"We've all done it in the past. It's not like it's a brand new thing for us. I think the biggest change has gotta be for Blake, just coming to a new team, but he's fitting in the mold well. He's a good addition to our bullpen on and off the field, so we'll see where it takes us."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.