Oakland, CA – It’s been an uphill battle for the Oakland A’s since the Spring Training. The A’s have utilized the disabled list twenty-one times this season, which marks the sixth time in the the past 10 years they have used the disabled list 20 or more times in a season. Despite having up to 12 players on the DL list, Oakland has found success in the second half of the season.
The A’s pitching has been outstanding since the All-Star break. No easy task for Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin whose called up guys from the minors almost everyday to take the mound. The A’s staring pitchers are 2-2 with 6.61 ERA and .313 opponents batting average in seven games since the break.
“It started with Felix Doubront in Spring and it goes on and on and on with the guys we’ve had to put on the disables list in our rotation,” said Melvin. “It difficult but does give some other guys an opportunity like [Sean] Manaea or Overton making their mark in the big league.”
Tonight, Manaea tossed a career-high 8.0 scoreless innings in one of the best pitching performances Oakland has seen all season. Manaea’s night on the mound was the longest start by an Athletics pitcher this season since Kendall Graveman threw 8.0 innings on July 9 at Houston. He gave up five hits, no walks and no runs.
“Tonight for him was big, but not just for himself,” Coco Crisp said. “It was big for us. These guys are the future, and Manaea will be the man for a long time. He’s got a good future ahead of him, some plus pitches.”
Crisp was the hero with the walk-off single to snap Oakland’s three-game losing streak. The A’s 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays was their fifth walk-off game this season. Crisp provided the lone run in the 13th inning. Ryon Healy led off the 13th with a double. Marcus Semien grounded out, but Crisp lined a single to left field.
Outfielder Brandon Guyer threw to home plate but was too late as the celebration began after going 12 innings with a 0-0 tie. nowhere close as the A’s celebrated their second extra-inning win in four days. It was Crisp eight career game-ending hit, and his sixth with Oakland.
“That was the best start I’ve had up here, everything was just working today,” said Manaea.
The A’s have allowed exactly 10 hits in each of the last five games and have .270 opponents batting average and 4.70 ERA over that span. For the season, they have the second highest ERA in the American League. In addition to the impressive pitching Oakland’s offense has done a great job in rallying back for wins.
Manaea has improved since coming off the disabled list June 29 with a left forearm strain. He’s 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA (8 er in 30.2 ip) in five games since he was reinstated and is 0-1 with a 2.88 ERA in four starts since July. Manaea hasn’t walked a batter in 20 innings and three of his five starts have been shutouts.
“He’s pitched some good games but not like that,” Melvin said. “That’s the best. Slider, changeup, fastball to both sides, two-seamer, four-seamer. We’ve heard about our best pitching prospect coming up. That was the game that you look for from your top pitching prospect. That was dominating.”