Athletics

Instant Replay: Manaea hit hard early, A's rally falls just short in Seattle

Instant Replay: Manaea hit hard early, A's rally falls just short in Seattle

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE — For all his mighty struggles early on, it looked like Sean Manaea might get off the hook for a loss Monday night at Safeco Field.

Instead, the A’s awakening with the bats turned out to be just a tease as they lost 6-5 to the Mariners and extended their losing streak to four.

The A’s, trailing 6-3, scored twice in the ninth but left the bases loaded as Adam Rosales took a called third strike on a full-count fastball from Tony Zych.

Manaea, after missing two starts on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, issued four walks in a nightmarish first and finished with the strangest of pitching lines: 5 innings, 2 hits, 4 runs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts.

Seattle jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, though the A’s closed to within 4-3 on homers from Khris Davis and Stephen Vogt. But Oakland’s bullpen faltered again as Liam Hendriks surrendered Kyle Seager’s two-run homer in the eighth to give the Mariners a 6-3 cushion.

The opener of this three-game series pitted two teams looking to reverse their fortunes. The Mariners were swept in four games at Toronto as their injuries continue mount. The A’s came in having surrendered three late-game leads in being swept by Texas.

The teams combined for just nine hits on a chilly night in which the temperature at first pitch was 51 degrees, the cold air sweeping through the openings underneath Safeco Field’s retractable roof.

Oakland has fallen to a season-high six games below .500 at 16-22. That includes a 5-14 road record that is the worst in the majors.

Starting pitching report:
Manaea (1-3) labored through a 38-pitch first inning in his first outing since leaving an April 26 start at Anaheim with tightness in his left shoulder. He issued four walks that inning, including two that forced in runs, and threw just nine of his first 23 pitches for strikes. Trailing 2-0 as he took the mound in the second, Manaea gave up Nelson Cruz’s two-run homer to straightaway center on a 1-2 fastball that made it 4-0.

But although the A’s bullpen was active as early as the first, Manaea steadied himself and retired nine a row from the third through the fifth and left after 88 pitches. His fastball sat between 91 and 93 and he went to a sharp slider for several of his seven strikeouts.

Bullpen report:
Frankie Montas relieved Manaea and gave manager Bob Melvin two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. But Hendriks, so dominant until this six-game road trip began, struggled for the second outing in a row. He gave up a walk and two hits in the eighth, including Seager’s two-run bomb to right-center, though one of the runs was unearned because of an error. That extended the Mariners’ lead to 6-3 and made it a much tougher comeback effort in the ninth.

At the plate:
The A’s chased Seattle closer Edwin Diaz from the game in the ninth, but they stranded nine runners and finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

True to form, the A’s did most of their damage with the long ball. Davis snapped a 12-game homerless streak when he capped a 12-pitch battle with Yovani Gallardo (2-3) by drilling a solo shot to straightaway center, his 11th on the season. An inning later, Vogt hit a two-run homer to right that gave him his first homer since Opening Night. That snapped a career-long 27-game homerless streak for Vogt, who came in hitting just .213.

They scored twice in the ninth to pull within a run on Jed Lowrie’s bases loaded walk and Davis’ run-scoring groundout.

In the field:
Chad Pinder’s throwing error in the eighth led to an unearned run on Seager’s two-run homer.

Attendance:
The announced turnout was 15,431.

Up next:
Andrew Triggs (5-2, 2.21) takes the mound for Oakland and Chase De Jong (0-3, 7.85) goes for the Mariners in Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. game.

 

Evaluating the A's arbitration decisions: Cory Gearrin

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Evaluating the A's arbitration decisions: Cory Gearrin

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

The A's acquired RHP Cory Gearrin from Texas in August for minor league pitchers Abdiel Mendoza and Teodoro Ortega. Gearrin pitched just six innings for Oakland, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits, with two strikeouts and two walks.

For the season, the 32-year-old went 2-1 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.34 WHIP between San Francisco, Texas, and Oakland. He has a career ERA of 3.54 over seven major league seasons.

Gearrin earned $1.675 million in 2018 and is projected to get $2.4 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

Gearrin has proven to be a solid veteran reliever and a team can never have too much depth in the bullpen. He will turn 33 in April and figures to have at least a few good seasons remaining.

With fellow veteran relievers Jeurys Familia, Fernando Rodney, and Shawn Kelley unlikely to return, Gearrin could have a role in the A's pen as a setup man for closer Blake Treinen.

Why he might be too pricey

If the number really is as high as $2.4 million, it would be a lot to pay for a depth option like Gearrin. While his numbers have been decent, the A's have younger and cheaper options in Lou Trivino and J.B. Wendelken. Oakland may be better off using that $2.4 million on other pitching help, or for re-signing other key players.

Verdict

It seems highly unlikely that Gearrin will return in 2019, especially for $2.4 million. The A's already have a deep bullpen and don't really have a need for Gearrin. Treinen, Wendelken, Trivino, Ryan Buchter, and Yusmeiro Petit all provide more value than Gearrin, and it would be hard to justify giving $2.4 million to your sixth best relief pitcher. Expect Oakland to move on without the 32-year-old right-hander.

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Sean Manaea

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Sean Manaea

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

Sean Manaea was having the best season of his career before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, which is expected to keep him out for most, if not all, of 2019 as well.

Manaea, 26, went 12-9 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 27 starts, striking out 108 and walking 32. The left-hander was the ace of the A's staff for most of the season, and he threw his first career no-hitter on April 21 against the league-leading Boston Red Sox.

Manaea earned just $550K in his third Major League season, but he is projected to get a raise to $3.8 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

Even though Manaea is expected to miss the vast majority of the 2019 season, it's a no-brainer for the A's to keep him. At 26 years old, he has plenty of good years in front of him, and he proved he can be a top of the rotation type pitcher.

Manaea has said his shoulder bothered him for the entire season, and yet he was still able to post excellent numbers and throw a no-hitter. His velocity was down for much of the season, likely due to his shoulder injury, but he learned how to utilize his secondary pitches and became a better all-around pitcher in the process. If he can get back to full healthy, he should be a number one or two starter on the A's for years to come.

Why he might be too pricey

The only way the A's would let Manaea go is if they believe he will not recover from the shoulder surgery. Spending $3.8 million on an injured pitcher obviously involves some risk, but based on all reports, his surgery went as well as they could have hoped.

Verdict

Assuming Manaea's prognosis is good, he should remain in Oakland, not just in 2019, but for years to come. The left-hander has already developed into a top flight pitcher in the American League, and at the age of 26, he hasn't even hit his prime yet.

Manaea also fits in well in the A's clubhouse and feels very comfortable pitching in Oakland. He has a great relationship with the fans and in the community, and he can be a face of the franchise for several seasons.