OAKLAND -- Sean Manaea sat at the table in the A's clubhouse, surrounded by teammates.
The A's pitcher stared into space. I couldn’t tell if he had a plate of food in front of him, but it didn’t matter. I doubt he would have taken a bite.
After Oakland's devastating 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card Game, he was the hardest on himself.
"It stinks," he told reporters postgame in the clubhouse. "This one sucks. I don't even know how to describe it, it's a tough loss and it's lost solely on me. I had one job and I did poorly, really poorly, and I let everyone down and it sucks. But hopefully we can learn from these kinds of things and move on from there."
Manaea gave up four hits, including three homers, in two innings Wednesday. He didn't walk any batters and struck out five, but the A's trailed 4-0 when he left the game.
Before Wednesday, Manaea was surging in his return from shoulder surgery, dominating his five September starts. He posted a 1.21 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 30 innings.
That's why Manaea got the ball in the one-and-done game.
"I don't know if you call it a rollercoaster, just started out of rehab and I just worked my way back up here and then -- yeah, it just sucks that it ended so quickly," Manaea said.
He added that the A's worked hard to get to October, and they trusted him to get the job done.
Manaea didn't, but the amount of hugs he received from his teammates in a somber postgame clubhouse assures they still trust him.
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Those embraces had a soundtrack of Manaea's teammates using packing-tape dispensers, but he continued to look straight ahead.
He stared at nothing, but those around him could see his teammates still had his back. I doubt any of them lost sleep knowing they sent the right guy to the mound.