Athletics

A's takeaways: What you might have missed in 5-3 loss vs. Mariners

A's takeaways: What you might have missed in 5-3 loss vs. Mariners

BOX SCORE

The A’s began their first road trip of the season with a tough 5-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night. The vibe felt different, but perhaps not as different as one would seem in the midst of a pandemic. 

T-Mobile Park was also filled with cardboard cutouts of fans, but the absence of cheering people wasn’t the only thing missing. The A’s lacked offensive production and once again were forced to wait for Sean Manaea to make it successfully past the third inning. 

Mariners starter Taijuan Walker put up a solid night, throwing seven shutout innings and was rolling through the A’s lineup without a fear in the world. But that wasn’t the case for Oakland. 

Here’s what you might have missed in Friday’s game:

Sean Manaea’s looking better, but … 

“That slider is a little bit snappy tonight.”

A's broadcaster Glen Kuiper wasn’t wrong about Manaea’s outing and his specialty pitch. Manaea's velocity on his fastball was sitting around 92 mph heading into the fourth inning after retiring the first nine batters he faced. 

The slider is the pitch Manaea had been working on since spring training in Arizona and he told reporters recently it was “going to be huge” to add that into his pitching repertoire. It must have been considering he was only throwing his fastball about 43.6 percent of the time heading into Friday’s game.

However, in the bottom of the fourth, Kyle Seager, who has had a ton of exposure to Manaea, hit a two-run double to put the Mariners up, 2-0. 

Manaea gave up another run in the fourth and two more in the fifth, and despite his desire to go deep in outings, manager Bob Melvin was forced to go J.B. Wendelken with one out in the fifth.

Where’s the defense?

We made the joke that Matt Chapman made his only error of the season on Opening Day against the Los Angeles Angels, but it appeared history repeated itself. 

Chapman made a throwing error on an Austin Nola ground ball in the fourth inning which caused a run to score. That's not very characteristic of Chapman.

An inning later, Wendelken fielded a comebacker and tried to start a double play but made a bad throw to second baseman Tony Kemp and shortstop Marcus Semien. The Mariners scored on the play to take a 4-0 lead.

Not much hitting going on

Semien got his first two RBI of the season in the top of the eighth inning on a triple to finally put the A’s on the board. 

Before that, there was quite a gap in production. The A's had Just one hit through seven innings, a double from Ramón Laureano in the top of the fourth.

Despite the Mariners’ “Noise-o-Meter” pretending to measure the sound being piped in through the speakers, the A’s did not reciprocate such things when it came to their bats.

Watch A's red-hot slugger Matt Chapman crush two home runs vs. Angels

Watch A's red-hot slugger Matt Chapman crush two home runs vs. Angels

Matt Chapman is on a tear.

After the Los Angeles Angels took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning of Monday's game against the A's, the third baseman turned on a pitch from starter Julio Teheran to put the A's on the board with a solo home run to lead off the second inning.

[RELATED: This projection nearly guarantees A's will make the playoffs]

It was Chapman's third consecutive game with a home run. But the star wasn't done there, as he absolutely crushed a pitch from Teheran in his next at-bat that flew well over center fielder Mike Trout's head.

His second blast gave the A's a 5-3 lead in the third inning.

Chapman still wasn't done. In the top of the fourth inning, he came up with the bases loaded and drove in all three runners with a triple to right-center to give the A's an 8-4 lead.

Chapman so far Monday night is 3-for-3 with two homers, a triple and six RBI.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Ramón Laureano says he regrets charging 'loser' Alex Cintrón in brawl

Ramón Laureano says he regrets charging 'loser' Alex Cintrón in brawl

Ramón Laureano said he regretted going after Houston Astros hitting coach Alex Cintrón in Sunday's benches-clearing brawl, but the A's outfielder didn't hold back his feelings about Cintrón on Monday in his first comments since the kerfuffle at the Oakland Coliseum.

"I regret charging him because he's a loser," Laureano told ESPN's Jeff Passan in an interview Monday. "[A suspension] is understandable, but I hope it's not that many games. At the end of the day, I'm here to win a World Series with the Oakland Athletics -- this wonderful group of guys. I don't want to be a distraction. Obviously, I am right now. Hey, I've already moved on. I'm facing Julio Teheran (and the Los Angeles Angels) today, and that's all I'm thinking right now."

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Laureano said in the interview with Passan, and later on a video conference call with local reporters, that the Houston hitting coach insulted the outfielder's mother from the opposing dugout. Former Astros beat writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz first reported Sunday those comments were the source of Laureano's ire, while A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters that day that something Cintrón said caused Laureano to charge towards the Astros dugout after reaching first base on his second hit-by-pitch of the game (and third of the series).

Cintrón denied talking about Laureano's mother to Passan via an Astros employee, though the Houston Chronicle's Chandler Rome noted the coach wasn't made available for comment after Sunday's A's win. Astros manager Dusty Baker said Cintrón was "remorseful."

Laureano said that he shouldn't have stooped to Cintrón's level, admitting "I look like not a very smart guy" (H/T Bay Area News Group's Shayna Rubin) for disregarding MLB's healthy-and-safety measures in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. "[Fighting] and instigating fights are strictly prohibited" under the protocols, and both Laureano and Cintrón reportedly are expected to be suspended.

"I guess it’s an unwritten rule that you can’t be doing that, you know, as a coach," Laureano said of Cintrón (H/T NBC Sports California's Jessica Kleinschmidt). So yeah, I guess it was wrong for him to do that. But, hey, I’m a man, I’m a freakin’ man -- whatever happens, happens. And I couldn't keep my cool, and I should've, and I wasted my time with that guy."

[RELATED: Why Laureano was tackled by Garneau in A's-Astros brawl]

Laureano, 26, is slashing .278/.406/.519 with three home runs and 10 RBI so far this season. Only Matt Chapman currently has more extra-base hits, and no batter has been worth more wins above replacement at the plate than Laureano (1.1).

The A's are riding a nine-game winning streak, and Oakland would miss Laureano's bat and glove for as long as he's out of the lineup. In the meantime, he said he has felt supported by the organization in the aftermath of Sunday's fracas.

“It meant a lot to me, that’s how close we are as a group," he told reporters. "Not only the players, but the coaching staff and everybody. It felt good, (all of) the support and people reaching out to me.”