Athletics

Instant Replay: Manaea earns first win with six solid innings vs Mariners

Instant Replay: Manaea earns first win with six solid innings vs Mariners

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OAKLAND – Minus their top two starting pitchers, the A’s rotation is keeping it together well in the season’s opening month.

Sean Manaea delivered his best outing so far and the A’s beat the Seattle Mariners 3-1 on Friday to run their winning streak to four. Oakland also has won four consecutive home games for the first time since a six-game streak that bridged last May and June.

The A’s biggest concern coming out of spring training was the injury that landed Sonny Gray on the disabled list. They recently lost Kendall Graveman for a turn through the rotation due to a shoulder strain. In their absence, an young and inexperienced rotation is holding its own.

Manaea (1-1), who didn’t allow a hit in his previous start but walked five, showed better command Friday and held Seattle to one run over six innings. He struck out six and walked three. A’s starters have now allowed two runs or fewer in seven of the last 10 games and are 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA over that span.

Trevor Plouffe homered for the second straight night to tie the game in the fifth and Yonder Alonso went deep an inning later to put the A’s ahead 2-1. They tacked on another run that inning on Stephen Vogt’s sacrifice fly.

Starting pitching report

Manaea allowed his only run in the third, a two-out rally in which Guillermo Heredia singled and Mitch Haniger tripled down the left-field line to drive him in. The lefty came up big in the second. With two runners aboard, he coaxed a 5-4-3 double play from Taylor Motter and then struck out former teammate Danny Valencia looking, with Valencia slamming his helmet down in frustration.

Bullpen report

The A’s late-inning relief combo has worked well over this winning streak. Manager Bob Melvin has settled on Santiago Casilla as his closer for now, and Casilla notched his second save in the past three nights, giving him three on the season.

Asked if Casilla was officially his closer, Melvin gave a light chuckle and responded: “He is a closer, he’s been a closer. He continues to be one. It doesn’t mean we only have one.”

Doolittle will get save opportunities when the opponent has a string of lefties due up in that inning. But the setup situation also is fluid, with Doolittle and Ryan Madson alternating handling the eighth over the past two nights.

At the plate

The long ball continues to be a strength for the A’s, who entered the night tied for third in the AL with homers at 20. Plouffe’s homer was his fourth of the season and No. 100 for his career. And it’s always good when the A’s tack on an extra run, as Vogt did with his sacrifice fly.

In the field

The A’s turned in their third consecutive errorless game after an 11-game streak with at least one. In the ninth, left fielder Khris Davis made a terrific leaping catch on the warning track to back Casilla.

Attendance

The announced turnout was 15,255.

Up next

Jharel Cotton (1-2, 5.40) leads American League rookies with 13 strikeouts. He’ll take the mound Saturday afternoon, opposed by lefty Ariel Miranda (1-1, 3.06). First pitch is 1:05 p.m.

Khris Davis' Opening Day home run has him on track to tie an MLB record

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USATSI

Khris Davis' Opening Day home run has him on track to tie an MLB record

You guys, baseball is back!

If you're one of the brave and dedicated people who woke up early/stayed up late to watch the A's open up the season in Japan against the Mariners, I salute you.

If not, that's OK, we got you covered with some of the top moments during the A's 9-7 loss to the Mariners. 

Stephen Piscotty got the first hit of the 2019 season with a homer to centerfield -- and Khris Davis did Davis-like things with a long ball to center in the bottom of the third -- just to name a few things.

This homer was his third Opening Day home run in a row:

He's just one home run from tying the record at four joining a pretty prestigious group: Gary Carter from 1977-80, Todd Hundley (1994 -97), and Yogi Berra (1955-58).

So, he could be the fourth guy to reach this feat. 

And a note from Ryan Spaeder of The Ace of Spaeder who helped assist me with these findings:

"Frank Robinson hit home runs in eight different Opening Day games, but never three straight, like Khris Davis did today."

He's also hit a .247 batting average over the course of four straight seasons, and guess what he's estimated to hit in 2019? 

Yep, .247. Crazy right?

[RELATED: Watch Davis' three-run HR in Japan]

Oh, and he's also a career .247 spring training hitter.

Of course he is.

If anything else, the man is consistent. 

 

 

 

A's Opening Day roster told us plenty before loss to Mariners in Japan

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A's Opening Day roster told us plenty before loss to Mariners in Japan

The A's were allowed to bring 30 players on their trip to Japan before cutting the Opening Day roster to 28, including three inactive players. Oakland announced that roster Tuesday, and while there were no major surprises, we did see an interesting development in the bullpen.

Right-handers Ryan Dull and J.B. Wendelken both made the active roster, while left-hander Jerry Blevins was nowhere to be found. Now that doesn't mean his tenure with the A's is over. The 35-year-old signed a minor-league deal with Oakland this offseason and has an opt-out option at the end of next month, the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported.

Oakland was hoping Blevins would emerge as a second left-hander in the bullpen, joining Ryan Buchter, but the veteran had a dismal spring. Blevins allowed eight earned runs in just three innings, surrendering three home runs. It appears Wendelken, after a strong outing in the season opener, may be the favorite to claim the eighth and final bullpen spot.

Meanwhile, the A's placed Jharel Cotton and Nick Martini on the 10-day IL and Chris Herrmann on the 60-day IL. Herrmann underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month and clearly won't be back for a while. That means Nick Hundley and Josh Phegley will split the catching duties to begin the season.

Hundley started the opener with Phegley replacing him in the late innings.

Oakland's first four starting pitching slots will be occupied by Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada, Brett Anderson, and Frankie Montas. The fifth starter job remains open, with top prospect Jesús Luzardo still a strong possibility.

Luzardo didn't make the trip to Japan but continued his normal throwing routine in Arizona following a terrific spring training.

[RELATED: Stephen Piscotty hits first home run of MLB season in A's loss to Mariners]

The A's will have to set their official 25-man roster before their March 28 home opener against the Angels.