Athletics

Manaea hopeful for playoff redemption with huge Game 2 start

Athletics

The A’s season ended early last October when they fell to the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card Game in Oakland. They made up for it this season winning a best-of-three series against the Chicago White Sox in the AL Wild Card Series, but this is a different and bigger chance for starter Sean Manaea.

Manaea will get the nod against the Houston Astros on Tuesday in Game 2 of the AL Division Series set at Dodger Stadium. Last year’s wild-card game did a number on the lefty. Seeing him sit in the A’s clubhouse after the season was over, staring blankly into the air was a sad sight.

He’s ready to redeem himself. 

“Motivation is definitely there,” Manaea said Monday. “Last year, obviously I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to and it sucked, but that’s part of the process and I definitely think I’m in a much better spot, where I am right now than I was last year -- it’s Round 2 basically for me, and I think definitely I’m ready.” 

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Manaea told NBC Sports California heading into the season the situation “sucked,” when the 5-1 loss had him placing the blame solely on himself, saying he let everyone down.

But that’s the thing -- he didn’t. 

 

Despite giving up four hits and three home runs, he later would admit he wasn’t entirely at fault. An offseason trip to Asia also helped with his mental state after.

“I wanted to get lost and see how that side of the world works,” Manaea said during spring training. “That was a reason why I wanted to take off, but I also wanted to get baseball out of my head. I was thinking about it too much and needed to back away and reset some things.”

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Manaea struggled to get deep in his starts this season, but did pitch seven innings to the Astros on Sept. 10 and struck out four while giving up just two hits. 

He looks forward to his playoff redemption story.