Athletics

Sean Manaea dominates in latest rehab start for A's Triple-A affiliate

Sean Manaea dominates in latest rehab start for A's Triple-A affiliate

Sean Manaea has dealt with a long rehab this season after undergoing shoulder surgery last September, but the left-hander is starting to look like the ace the A's need in their push for the playoffs.

Manaea's latest rehab start in Triple-A with the Las Vegas Aviators couldn't have gone any better. The lefty tossed seven scoreless innings where he struck out 12 batters while only allowing two hits and one walk. 

As he inches closer to returning to Oakland, Manaea enjoyed his longest outing this season while rehabbing. The 27-year-old threw 99 pitches with 67 being called strikes, good for a 68 percent strike rate. 

Manaea didn't begin his rehab until July and started off shaky. He went 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA over three starts for the Stockton Ports in Advanced Class A and then had a 6.10 ERA later in the month with Las Vegas. 

In August, however, Manaea has looked like a completely different pitcher. 

The lefty is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in August. He also has 28 strikeouts to just four walks in 17 2/3 innings this month. 

Oakland acquired pitchers Homer Bailey and Tanner Roark before the MLB trade deadline. While Roark continues to be a steadying presence on the hill, Bailey has been much better this month, allowing one earned run over his last two starts. Adding Manaea would be another big boost to a rotation that already boasts the fourth-best team ERA for starting pitchers at 4.04.

[RELATED: Roark trade continues to pay off as A's stay on win streak]

Entering Saturday, the A's are just a half-game behind the Rays for the top spot in the AL wild-card race, and Manaea could be the arm that gives them at least one playoff game in Oakland. 

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

A’s utility man Chad Pinder is home in Charlotte, North Carolina getting plenty of things done. Watching Netflix, painting nursery furniture, and getting in decent workouts in his garage.

Productive, but not reassuring.

“This is kind of unprecedented in our lifetime, basically to have the nation on hold right now,” Pinder told NBC  Sports Bay Area this week. “It is a very scary time, especially in some the areas that are affected bad right now.”

It was only a few weeks ago Pinder and his Oakland teammates were in Mesa, Arizona getting ready for a highly anticipated 2020 MLB season. 

They, like most of the country, didn’t fully interpret the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at first.

“I don’t know if we initially realized what was going on,” Pinder said. “Thought maybe this would be a two-week break, month maximum. The more information you get, the more you see going around, you realize this is a long-term thing.”

Pinder, a highly-regarded clubhouse leader, now keeps in touch with teammates mostly through text messages.

“We have a group thread, everybody’s talking,” Pinder said.

Their main conversations are about MLB developments, and to keep each other in the loop of when baseball could resume. Players don’t have any more assurances or insights than the average fan does these days. But there are some certainties. 

“Even when we resume stuff, there will be residual effects of what’s been going on,” Pinder said.

[RELATED: Stewart better after coronavirus scare]

That aforementioned nursery project is indeed preparation for Chad and his wife Taylor’s first child, due in the late summer months. He is certainly seeing different perspectives of events right now, as they relate to the future.

“The way we handle this, the way we come out of this,” Pinder said. “We’ll look back on the rest of our lives and remember this time.”

Why Matt Olson's walk-off in A's 2019 win vs. Brewers was so impressive

Why Matt Olson's walk-off in A's 2019 win vs. Brewers was so impressive

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Matt Olson's walk-off homer vs. Brewers tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

Milwaukee Brewers All-Star closer Josh Hader has been almost unhittable when facing left-handed batters during his three-year MLB career.

But A's first baseman Matt Olson didn't care about the numbers on July 30, 2019.

With the A's and Brewers tied in the bottom of the 10th inning, Olson hit a moonshot solo home run on the first pitch he saw from Hader to send the Oakland Coliseum into a frenzy.

A's fans will get a chance to relive Olson's heroics from the 3-2 win Friday night as NBC Sports California re-airs the game at 8 p.m.

In a Twitter fan poll, Olson's walk-off beat out Marcus Semien's walk-off from March 29, 2018.

Left-handed hitters are hitting just .120 off Hader in 209 at-bats. He has allowed just 25 hits and six homers to lefties, so Olson beat the odds in order to send the A's home winners on that night.

[RELATED: Stewart addresses beating coronavirus]

Olson would finish the 2019 season with a career-high 36 homers, with 11 coming off left-handed pitchers.

He will have to wait an undetermined amount of time before he can hit his next walk-off as the MLB season has been delayed due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.