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Sean Manaea stepping up with Oakland A’s need him most

Jul 22, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea (55) greets teammates in the dugout following the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 22, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea (55) greets teammates in the dugout following the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sean Manaea has become a forgotten man in the Oakland A’s rotation. With Chris Bassitt ascending to the surprising role of staff ace, the incredible story of Cole Irvin, and the struggles of Frankie Montas and Jesus Luzardo, Manaea has been overlooked at times this season.

With the struggles in the back of the A’s rotation, and the inconsistencies that the pitching staff has dealt with, someone aside from Bassitt has needed to step up. Manaea has done exactly that over the past two months as he appears set to give Oakland the 1-2 punch they would need in a postseason series.

Sean Manaea quietly on tear with Oakland A’s

Manaea was impressive on Thursday, striking out a career high 13 batters in his seven innings in a 4-1 victory over the Mariners. That performance certainly drew a great deal of attention, but Manaea has been far more than that one start.

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After a slow beginning to the season and some inconsistency himself, Manaea has found his groove over the past two months. In his 11 outings spanning 67.2 innings since May 23, he has posted a 2.26 ERA and a 1.084 WHiP, striking out 80 batters with 19 walks. He has also done a much better job of keeping the ball in the yard, allowing only seven homers while holding opposing batters to a .214/.277/.329 batting line in 275 plate appearances.

As the A’s approach the trade deadline, they have several needs on the roster. Adding depth to the rotation may not be at the same level of importance as improving the bullpen and finding an outfielder, but it was still something on the radar.

Manaea’s re-emergence as that second part of the rotation puzzle makes adding another starter less important as well. Should he continue at the same level, the A’s would have two pitchers capable of pitching deep into games atop the rotation, allowing the bullpen some needed rest, and possibly an advantage, during a playoff series. While the A’s need to get there first, Manaea’s strong past two months will help that cause.

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Very quietly, Sean Manaea has been excellent for the Oakland A’s over the past two months. This success have come at the perfect time.