Athletics

A's Matt Olson compliments teammate Marcus Semien on AL MVP nomination

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AP

A's Matt Olson compliments teammate Marcus Semien on AL MVP nomination

Marcus Semien just put up an impressive season with the A's. He put up an impressive season, period. 

The 29-year-old Bay Area native started all 162 games for the Green and Gold at shortstop and finished his 2019 campaign with a .285/.369/.522 slash line with 33 home runs and 92 RBI -- all career highs. These numbers landed him in the final group of AL MVP hopefuls.

"We don't necessarily get the coverage as some of these other teams, and you talk about Most Valuable Player to a team, and Marcus had a big year for us," teammate Matt Olson said in an interview on MLB Network Radio. "He was there every game in the one-hole, shortstop -- to do that and put his body through that and play every game is not an easy thing by any means and his attitude coming to the field every day was just top-notch."

Olson said Semien received a nickname of "The Machine," which suited him perfectly.

"He doesn't get sore, his swing doesn't feel bad -- he just goes up and he rakes and he plays defense," Olson added.

That shortstop defense has improved drastically over time, as he's worked with coach Ron Washington which has helped him build confidence on that side of the ball.

The rest is history. 

"He definitely was the MVP for our team and I think for the AL as well," Olson added.

Semien will be going up against some tough competition in his AL West counterparts in Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout.

[RELATED: Semien reacts to being named AL MVP finalist]

It'll be a tough contest, but it's safe to say Semien is deserved of the nomination.

Winners for the prestigious honor will be announced on Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. PT on MLB Network. 

What A's Chad Pinder recalls watching Sean Manaea no-hitter from outfield

What A's Chad Pinder recalls watching Sean Manaea no-hitter from outfield

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Sean Manaea's no-hitter Wednesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California.

Sean Manaea’s no-hitter against the Red Sox in 2018 was complete with a shaving cream/Gatorade bath, and an infectious smile.

For A's outfielder Chad Pinder, it was a moment that was extra special. Not just because of the opponent -- the mighty Red Sox -- but also because of what he saw from Manaea himself.

“I think everyone in the (Red Sox's) lineup was hitting .340 at the time," Pinder told NBC Sports California’s Brodie Brazil on Wednesday. "I remember they hadn’t lost many, and they were the team to beat, and they came in hot -- and I just remember Sean being lights out."

“I can obviously remember the last play with Marcus [Semien] the six-four to Jed [Lowrie], and you get to a certain point in the game and you’re like 'All right, let’s just -- everything is focused on defense, we’re up 3-0, let’s just get back out on defense and get the job done, get to the ninth inning.'"

[RELATED: Dallas Braden recalls Manaea's no-hitter vs. Red Sox]

A’s manager Bob Melvin, despite Manaea’s laid back demeanor throughout the entire process, wouldn’t make eye contact with the pitcher from the sixth inning on. Pinder also knew the superstitions behind a you-know-what.

“You don’t say a word, you don’t put it out there, you kind of let it be what it is, and I can remember that last out kind of being like a sigh of relief like ‘All right, he did it.’”

Ten strikeouts and nine innings later, he sure did. 

What stood out to Dallas Braden from Sean Manaea's no-hitter in 2018

What stood out to Dallas Braden from Sean Manaea's no-hitter in 2018

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Sean Manaea's no-hitter Wednesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California.

Sean Manaea’s usual demeanor has him relaxed and calm -- a go-with-the-flow type of guy.

That was no different than how the A’s starter was acting in the dugout on April 21, 2018. But you see, Manaea was in the midst of throwing a no-hitter against the Red Sox. Some even say they saw him snacking on something while the Boston bats did their best trying to muster up any offensive action against him.

They failed.

Former A’s pitcher turned analyst Dallas Braden was waiting for Manaea after his outing to give the postgame interview -- after the shaving cream/Gatorade/bubble gum shower, of course.

Braden had thrown the team’s previous no-hitter in 2010 with his perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. But he went about it a different way.

"Absolute psycho," Dallas Braden laughed as he told NBC Sports California about how Manaea was acting in the midst of his no-no.

"Sean and I have had some great conversations, had some great exchanges just about the different ways we go about things,” Braden said.

“I do get to see him on a daily basis go about his routine, and him and I have talked in length just about preparation -- and so it's funny because you can watch him go out there and spin the gem that he did against the Red Sox in '18.”

“And you know every moment in between innings was spent, probably laughing about something, talking about something non-baseball related, and that's just how damn good he is,” Braden added.

After the game, Bob Melvin spoke to reporters saying he refused to make eye contact with Manaea each time he would come in from throwing a frame -- at least since the sixth inning.

[RELATED: Nine eye-popping stats from A's, Giants players]

That’s when it became real. 

Manaea made history, of course, but the way he went about it was something only he could do. The fun-loving, carefree way he carried himself through it all while fanning 10 Sox hitters is something that might be more memorable than perhaps the feat itself. 

We get to relive that masterpiece on Wednesday night.