Sean Manaea

Manaea attributes late-season dip in velocity to the 25 pounds he dropped

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AP

Manaea attributes late-season dip in velocity to the 25 pounds he dropped

ARLINGTON, Texas — The form that Sean Manaea showed Thursday was the left-hander at his best, carving through the Rangers’ lineup in his final start of 2017.

However, there’s also value in struggle. And Manaea learned plenty as he floundered through a particularly rough stretch in the season’s second half.

His fastball lost its zip for a while, which Manaea attributes to the 25 pounds he lost over roughly a two-month stretch. It was an after-effect of the medication he was taking after being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder in spring training.

“We were trying to dial in the dosage. It took a couple months,” he said. “The stuff I’m on right now definitely helped. The dosage I was on before, I took like two bites and I’d be full. It was bad.”

Manaea says he had a hunch that he was dealing with ADD before his diagnosis. A's trainers suggested last year that he get tested for it during the offseason. But after he began taking medication for it this season, Manaea’s 6-foot-5 frame kept getting slimmer. And not in a good way. With his medication now under control, and the knowledge of his first full major league season under his belt, the 25-year-old lefty thinks he’ll come back stronger next season.

He had it all together Thursday at Globe Life Park, limiting Texas to just an unearned run and three hits over 6 2/3 innings as the A’s won 4-1, their seventh consecutive victory over the Rangers.

“That’s finishing on a strong note for a guy that was really grinding toward the end,” manager Bob Melvin said.

Manaea weighs about 230 pounds right now. The mission next year will be finding a way to maintain a higher weight throughout the entire season. He posted a 9.17 ERA in August, when his fastball often dipped below 90 miles per hour, and the thought is keeping weight on will help him keep his velocity up.

“I feel like I can add a little more muscle,” he said. “To be around 240, 245 would be ideal — 255 is a little too heavy and 230 is not enough.”

His catcher, Bruce Maxwell, said Manaea is nasty when he’s got all three of his pitches working.

“He’s definitely a front-runner in our rotation, especially with the power of the fastball, its deception, and mixing speeds with his good changeup and good slider,” Maxwell said. “I feel like he could step on the mound and beat anybody.”

A's power past Phillies, flex their way to series win on the road

A's power past Phillies, flex their way to series win on the road

BOX SCORE

PHILADELPHIA -- Joey Wendle hit a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning to lift the Oakland Athletics to a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.

Wendle was one of three rookies to hit a home run for the Athletics. With the Athletics trailing 3-2 with two outs in the sixth, Wendle lined the first pitch he saw from reliever Edubray Ramos into the right-field seats, quieting the crowd of 28,054. Oakland had loaded the bases with two walks and a single. The grand slam was Wendle's first home run of the season and the second of his career.

Fellow rookies Chad Pinder and Matt Olson hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, erasing an early 2-0 deficit. Olson has homered in three consecutive games and has 17 home runs since Aug. 11.

Sean Manaea (11-10) lasted five innings to earn the win. He gave up three runs and struck out four. Five Oakland relievers combined to throw four hitless innings to preserve the win. Blake Treinen picked up his 11th save after a scoreless ninth.

Phillies starter Henderson Alvarez (0-1) made his first start since May 22, 2015 when he was with the Miami Marlins. He worked into the sixth inning but allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base and was removed. Both runners scored on Wendle's grand slam.

The Phillies scored first on a fielding error by Matt Chapman in the first inning. Maikel Franco had three hits, including two RBI singles.

Oakland improved to 66-83 with the victory and has won eight of its last 11 games. The Phillies dropped to 58-91.

LONG TIME COMING

Alvarez missed over two seasons while returning from shoulder surgeries. He signed with but never pitched for the Athletics last year and spent the beginning of 2017 with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League before the Phillies signed him.

RECORD USAGE

Alvarez became the 31st pitcher used by the Phillies this season. That broke a team record set in 2015.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Jharel Cotton (8-10, 5.81) takes the hill Monday to start the Athletics' three-game set vs. the Tigers, who will throw RHP Buck Farmer (4-3, 6.62) in Detroit.

Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (5-10, 6.75) pitches Monday at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who toss National League ERA leader LHP Clayton Kershaw (17-3, 2.12). Pivetta debuted against the Dodgers in April, allowing two runs in five innings.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's series-opening loss to Mariners

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's series-opening loss to Mariners

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE — Sean Manaea pitched well enough to win on many nights Friday.

But with the A’s offense enduring something of a late-summer hibernation, the margin for error was slim for the left-hander. Seattle got to Manaea for all three of its runs in the third, and that was enough for a 3-2 Mariners victory to open a three-game series at Safeco Field.

Manaea (9-9), trying to shake free of a lackluster stretch of late, gave up three runs over 6 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out three.

He was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first but the Mariners erased that in short order in the third. Mike Zunino, the No. 8 hitter, sliced Manaea’s first pitch of that inning over the wall in the right field corner to make it a 2-1 game. Jean Segura singled and stole second, then scored on Mitch Haniger's base hit. Haniger stole second and eventually scored on Kyle Seager’s sacrifice fly for a 3-2 Seattle lead.

The A’s have lost four in a row to begin this road trip, and in those four games, they’ve scored runs in just four of 36 innings.

EARLY OFFENSE NOT ENOUGH: Oakland got out to a fast start against Mariners right-hander Mike Leake (1-0), who was making his Seattle debut after coming over in a trade from St. Louis. Marcus Semien, Matt Joyce and Jed Lowrie all opened the game with hits, including Lowrie’s RBI double. Matt Olson’s grounder would score Joyce and the A’s led 2-0 before Manaea even took the mound.

LINEUP SHUFFLE: Manager Bob Melvin made a slight adjustment and batted Marcus Semien leadoff with Boog Powell dropping down to ninth. Powell had been leading off against right-handers. Joyce, who has hit fifth recently, moved up to the No. 2 spot and went 3-for-4.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR BARRETO?: The A’s added four players on the first day rosters could expand. That group included top prospect Franklin Barreto, though manager Bob Melvin wasn’t tipping his hand on how he’ll mix the middle infielder into the lineup.

“We’re still kind of talking about it,” he said before the game. “You’re not just gonna pull the chute on some guys (who have been starting and sit them). So you have to mix him in, once or twice a week, something like that. Some in-game stuff. … Being he’s rated our No. 1 prospect, he’s a guy you don’t want just to sit around too long.”

Barreto hit .190 in a brief midseason call-up, a stretch that included a walk-off homer against the White Sox. He’s been on a recent tear with Triple-A Nashville but wants to improve in one area: The 21-year-old has struck out 159 times in 122 games combined between the minors and majors.

“In the (short stint) I was here, I struck out a lot,” Barreto said via interpreter Juan Durado. “I want to show them I have a better eye at the plate, better at-bats, and not strike out so much.”

NEW GUY IN THE ‘PEN: Lefty Sam Moll was recalled from Triple-A, and he made his major league debut with an eighth-inning relief appearance. Acquired from Colorado after he was designated for assignment, Moll didn’t allow a run in six games (7.0) innings for Nashville. Moll’s first batter he faced was pinch hitter — and former Athletic — Yonder Alonso, who flied out to end the eighth and strand a runner.

LONG WAIT ENDS FOR SMOLINSKI: Outfielder Jake Smolinski, out all season after shoulder surgery, was one of Friday’s call-ups and had a big smile on his face after a long season of rehab. Smolinski still isn’t able too play the outfield, but his throwing program is expected to have him ready for defense by mid-September.