Sean Manaea’s 13 strikeouts on Thursday night in the Athletics' 4-1 win over the Seattle Mariners was a career-high for the 29-year-old.
His velocity reached 96 mph at T-Mobile Park, a feat he admittedly saw during his outing, but something he wasn’t used to seeing in recent seasons.
“It’s cool,” Manaea said. “I think pretty much since I’ve been up, I’ve been a fastball, changeup guy, and I’ve always had trust in those two things. The slider’s always been a nifty thing, but slowly, surely bringing the confidence and having guys behind the plate that I trust, it just makes the game a lot easier.”
Manaea used his changeup to strike out Mariners infielder J.P. Crawford in the bottom of the seventh inning for his 13th and final punch out of the night.
Manaea said the last time he recalls striking out 13 batters was sometime in the minors.
He did punch out 11 on June 20 in the 2-1 loss against the New York Yankees, matching his previous career high.
“He’s having a hell of a year,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We haven’t scored a ton of runs for him, I don’t think his record is indicative of how well he’s pitched this year, but what did he have, 13 strikeouts today? That’s pretty good.
“There are times this year that he’s had that kind of velo,” Melvin added. “He’s learned to over the years to pitch a little differently when he doesn’t, but you could see early on he was just pumping fastball until they hit it.”
Catcher Sean Murphy easily became aware of that uptick in velocity.
“Yeah I did notice the 96,” Murphy said. “Sean’s throwing it like that, I like our chances, but yeah he seemed to be feeling pretty good tonight.”
Manaea said during spring training that he realized he wasn’t the 23-year-old who was going to be throwing as hard as he used to, but he said he thinks his younger self would be appreciative of what he did on Thursday night.
“He’d be really happy,” Manaea. “I mean, 23-year-old Sean was throwing pretty hard, but he also didn’t know the road leading up to this point, so maybe he thought it was expected to be at this point, but I know that 29-year-old Sean knows that isn’t the case. So yeah, it’s cool.”