Oakland Athletics Recap 6/1: Manaea Is The Man

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May 21, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea (55) throws a pitch against the New York Yankees during the second inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
May 21, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea (55) throws a pitch against the New York Yankees during the second inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Oakland Athletics sweep the Minnesota Twins in a three game series at Oakland Coliseum, 5-1. Sean Manaea is the man of the hour as he earns his second win.

Final. 5. 96. 1. 2

The Oakland Athletics bested the Minnesota Twins today, sweeping them in their latest three game series. Sean Manaea performed exquisitely, limiting the Twins to one run in six innings while striking out eight. Jake Smolinski got his first home run, and the A’s bullpen was terrific, putting zeroes across the board.

Sean Manaea has not lived up to expectations through this point, but a date with the free-swinging Twins helped his case. Going into this afternoon’s game, Minnesota’s batters were fourth in the league in strikeouts, trailing only Houston, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Manaea used this to his advantage, though he did have shaky control at times when walking three batters and allowing five hits. This was most evident in the sixth inning when he loaded the bases with no outs. He promptly allowed a sacrifice fly, but regrouped and struck out Max Kepler and Juan Centeno swinging to end the inning. Manaea may find times where he is frustrated easily, especially with the free passes he gave up, but Bob Melvin is starting to challenge him to fight through these frustrations. It paid off today as Manaea pulled off a great performance.

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The Oakland bullpen was dominant again as Ryan Dull, Sean Doolittle, and Ryan Madson were all called upon to maintain the Athletics’ lead. With an off day tomorrow, Melvin planned out the use of his pen perfectly. Sean Doolittle was the most dominant today than he has been throughout the course of the season, striking out two batters in eleven pitches. His last two pitches touched 96 MPH, another good sign for a player who had struggled early in the year with his velocity. This three-headed monster bullpen of Doolittle, Madson, and John Axford is starting to look a little crowded as Ryan Dull has also proved himself to be essential as a middle inning reliever. Dull hasn’t allowed a run in his last five appearances and allowed merely one in the last seven games he has pitched.

The A’s badly needed this momentum shift to get out of the AL West cellar, though as of this writing the A’s are merely one-half game above the Astros. They will play the Astros in Houston for a three-game series this weekend, kicking off an eight-game road trip that lands them in Houston, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati. This could be another shot in the arm for the A’s, who during this trip will face teams that are all at least five games under .500. It is not yet time to count these Athletics out.

Next: Grading the A's So Far

The A’s have a day off on Thursday and will depart for Houston on Friday as Jesse Hahn (2-2, 4.15 ERA) will start for the A’s against a started to be announced. First pitch on Friday is at 5:10 PM PST.

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