Oakland A’s: Sean Manaea starting to look like himself again
By David Hill
After a rough start to the season, Oakland A’s starter Sean Manaea is rounding back into form.
The Oakland A’s had high hopes for Sean Manaea heading into this season. After his impressive return from shoulder surgery, the A’s had hoped that he would step right back into his role at the top of the rotation. With two rookies slated to take over the fourth and fifth starter roles, Manaea’s return to form was critical.
Instead, he struggled out of the gate. He failed to last five innings in any of his first four starts, allowing 17 runs, 15 earned, on 24 hits and four walks over his first 15 innings. However, as Frankie Montas, Jesus Luzardo, and Chris Bassitt started off strong, that rough start was not as concerning.
Meanwhile, as the A’s rotation has started to struggle as of late, Manaea has started to turn his season around. In his three most recent starts spanning 15.1 innings, he has allowed seven runs, four earned, on 14 hits and a walk, striking out 12 batters.
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There are still reasons for concern. Manaea is still not pitching deep into games, with a 5.1 inning start on August 20 marking the only time he has pitched into the sixth inning this year. He has also only reached the 80 pitch plateau just once, doing so in his most recent outing on August 25.
But there is hope that will change. He has been generating more ground balls than ever in those outings, and if he continues to pitch to contact, he should be able to last longer. He will need to soon, especially in the coming weeks, as the A’s will be playing 16 games in the next 13 days, with three doubleheaders in that stretch.
Obviously, the layoff is going to be a concern. It remains to be seen if Manaea, or any of the A’s pitchers for that matter, will be able to last deep into games during that first run through the rotation after the time off. The bullpen could get taxed early and often. But Manaea is starting to give the A’s hope.
And that is what matters now. Sean Manaea may be turning the corner right when the Oakland A’s need him the most.