Sean Manaea shows AL pitchers can swing the bat
By David Hill
Unless one happens to be Shohei Ohtani, absolutely nothing is expected when an American League pitcher steps into the batter’s box during interleague play. There may be a few awkward swings or an attempted bunt, but typically, those are also more comedic than effective. However, someone forgot to tell Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Manaea that he was supposed to embarrass himself at the plate on Friday.
Manaea had not exactly had much success in his limited experience at the plate prior to his outing against the Giants. He was 1-10 at the plate, drawing a walk and dropping down a sacrifice bunt. However, he did manage to make contact at a decent clip, striking out just three times. There was hope that maybe he could put a ball in play and maybe find a hole in the infield.
Sean Manaea does not need the DH for one night
Manaea began his adventures at the plate in the top of the third inning. With two outs, he ripped a 2-2 pitch to right center, shooting the ball beyond the drawn in outfield for a double. Tony Kemp was hit by a pitch and Matt Chapman reached on an infield single to load the bases, but Manaea was unable to get beyond third.
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He made contact in his next plate appearances, although the ball did not go nearly as far. Manaea ended up with an infield single on what was essentially a swinging bunt. He reached second after Kemp walked, but Cueto struck out Chapman and Olson to end the vestiges of that threat.
Manaea was solid on the mound as well. He allowed one run on three hits and three walks, striking out seven over his six innings. However, the A’s only managed six hits, two of which came courtesy of Manaea himself. While it made sense to pinch hit for him in the seventh inning, he was swinging a better bat than the rest of the lineup.
Even though he took the loss, this will be a game that Manaea will remember for the rest of his days. That third inning double was his first career extra base hit, and for it to come against a former All Star in Cueto just made the moment even more special.
Sean Manaea proved that not every American League pitcher is hopeless in the batter’s box. His two hits tied for the most on the A’s Friday night.