Athletics

A's Sean Manaea 'has no respect' for Astros caught in cheating scandal

A's Sean Manaea 'has no respect' for Astros caught in cheating scandal

A lot of time has gone by since the Houston Astros were exposed for their sign-stealing ways. May would think so many calendar days have gone that we would have forgotten.

Not even a little bit.

A’s pitcher Sean Manaea said in an interview with 95.7 The Game on Monday that it’s still a very fresh memory.

“You guys are already legit,” Manaea said. "Why do you need to cheat? … I really don’t have that much respect for any of those guys.”

Manaea said the Astros are a “very, very good team,” and the fact that they were cheating was horrible.

Fellow A’s pitcher Mike Fiers was the whistleblower who let the world know the Astros were stealing signs electronically during their 2017 World Series run. Fiers was a part of that team. 

The situation resulted in the most severe punishment against a team in MLB history, suspending Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for the 2020 season, fining the organization $5 million and stripping them of their first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. 

Later on, Houston owner Jim Crane would take it a step further and fire Luhnow and Hinch entirely.

Fiers was dubbed a hero around the league and upon his spring training debut, received a warm reception from fans who showed they had his back -- which was repeated during the team’s Fan Fest in January. But still received some backlash for it, including death threats

The A’s will face the Astros during the 60-game season right out of the gate. A series Manaea says he’s thought about a lot.

[RELATED: Fiers detailed what it's like to throw two no-hitters]

“It’s going to be interesting,” Manaea added in the radio interview. “The fact that they cheated just makes it suck, but doesn’t dispute the fact that they’re really, really good. We still got our work cut out for us, but I don't know, it’s a crappy situation. It’s going to be fun facing them, but it’s going to be weird.”

Astros vs. Oakland A's live stream: How to watch MLB games online, on TV

Astros vs. Oakland A's live stream: How to watch MLB games online, on TV

The A's are rolling.

Oakland has won six straight games as they welcome the rival Astros to the Coliseum for the first time since Houston's cheating scandal was unearthed in the offseason.

The A's (9-4) are coming off a sweep of the Rangers, while the Astros (6-6) lost two out of three to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Here's how you can watch the A's play the Rangers online (download the MyTeams app here!) and on TV:

Friday, Aug. 7

When: A's Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 6:10 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports California
Stream: MyTeams app

Saturday, Aug. 8

When: A's Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 1:10 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports California
Stream: MyTeams app

Sunday, Aug. 9

When: A's Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 1:10 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports California
Stream: MyTeams app

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

Marcus Semien's hard work paying off as he builds A's culture, tone

Marcus Semien's hard work paying off as he builds A's culture, tone

Austin Allen’s single to score Matt Chapman in the bottom of the 13th set the things up for Marcus Semien in the A’s 3-2 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Semien sealed the deal with a walk-off single to center field. Semien smiled celebrated with an ice bath from Tony Kemp. It was a much-need victory over the Astros for both Semien and the A's.

For Semien, the big hit was a long time coming. 

“For me, it’s trying to be on time,” Semien told reporters following the 13-inning game. “I’ve been struggling with my timing a little bit, so just being on time, and same thing with Austin. Like I said, that guy was getting guys to chase up, so anything that is hard and a little lower, just attack it. I put a lot of work in earlier in the day just trying to hit line drives to the opposite field and it’s a good feeling when it clicks because for a while it hadn’t been clicking.”

Semien wasn’t hitting the ball hard, he explained. And when that happens, there’s a reason for it.  

“My stroke feels good, but sometimes it’s approach, sometimes it’s timing -- body position, a lot of things that could be,” Semien added. “That’s what early work is for, cage work. Once you get in the game, you just have to compete.”

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Semien said he has to create habits that work.

“It’s tough because you think you have to tinker with everything,” Semien added.

Semien wasn’t sure what that tinkering would consist of: Would he need to work on his swing? Not necessarily. The timing was definitely a factor, but Semien also believes opposing teams were attacking him differently.

That seems to be the case when he leaves a third-place AL MVP season behind him in 2019.

“They’re being more careful, you saw that with Texas,” Semien said. “I’m trying to take the low pitches, sometimes they’re calling them, and you just find yourself in 0-for-3 like that. I think today was a good day to build off.”

“They know last year I put up some good numbers and you’re not getting as much to hit. You think that you’re just going to get the same pitches that they threw last year and that’s part of it, kind of created some bad habits early on. Even since spring and Summer Camp, just hadn’t really been driving the ball well.” 

Semien said he’s working on that every day. It hasn't gone unnoticed.

“Marcus, I think has set the tone and built the culture here,” A’s starter Chris Bassitt told reporters during his postgame availability. “Obviously I think [Matt] Chapman and [Matt] Olson and those guys have caught on to just the work ethic that Semien brings every single day.”

[RELATED: A's fan creates GoFundMe to troll Astros with 'Asterisks' aerial banner]

Bassitt himself had a good outing, allowing just three hits and one earned run in seven innings. That brings his total to just two earned runs allowed in 16 2/3 innings this season. But this wasn’t about him at the moment despite his solid outing in the 13-inning game. He wanted to give Semien his moment.

“It’s not a matter of when [Semien] walks up to the plate, but whenever he does, you know you are getting the best effort from him every single night,” Bassitt said. “Doesn’t matter what at-bat, what inning. Anytime he walks up with the game on the line, I’m extremely confident in him.”