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Game #92: A’s Sweep Indians

Who needs relievers when Sean Manaea is dealing? A’s sweep Indians behind brilliant performance from next season’s ace.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Today at the Coliseum, it didn’t matter whether Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson were sitting down the left field line or not because Sean Manaea was straight dealing.

And Indians’ starting pitcher, Trevor Bauer, was not.

What took Bauer and reliever Dan Otero 45 pitches to complete [the first inning], it took Manaea 11. In fact, when Manaea retired Brandon Guyer, the game’s first batter, Coliseum Public Address Announcer Dick Callahan hadn’t yet announced that the official first pitch start was indeed 1:07.

***Click here to re-visit today’s Game Thread!***

By the end of his 3rd frame, the A’s [likely] next ace had dispatched of the Tribe’s first 9 batters in just 37 pitches, allowing only an infield single to Francisco Lindor in the first inning when Matt Chapman was unable to make his best Brooks Robinson impression. No sweat because Lindor was promptly 4-6-3’d [yeah, that’s a verb] to end the inning. Manaea was still facing the minimum until the 4th inning when the Indians did their only damage, putting up 2 runs on an RBI single by Michael Brantley that made it 5-2.

The A’s notched those 4 of those 5 runs in the first inning with a pair of 2-out, 2-run singles by Ryon Healy and Jaycob Brugman against a struggling [and thoroughly pouty] Trevor Bauer who ran full counts to 5 different batters in the first inning — part of the reason why it took him 43 pitches to get 2 outs — before Dan Otero was summoned from the pen.

The A’s added an insurance run in the 3rd inning to make it 5-0 when Jed Lowrie hit his 10th home run of the season to right field off Otero and a few more in the 8th inning to make it 7-2 Oakland on a Matt Joyce RBI single that scored two, including Matt Chapman, who doubled to the deepest [and highest] part of the Coliseum possible without being credited with a home run.

Simón Castro, who was called up early in the morning, made his A’s debut in the 9th inning with a 7-2 lead and looked incredibly strong early, getting ahead in counts and striking out the first two batters he saw. Abraham Almonte sent his 0-2 pitch deep into the right field bleachers to make it 7-3 and he additionally gave up an odd single toward second on a ball with some top spin before striking out the game’s final batter; as a guy who might be able to come in and throw some innings out of the pen, I am cautiously optimistic.

All and all, a lot of good from today: Manaea, who earned his 8th win on the season and has looked exceptional in his last 4 starts, is a future front-end starter in this league and he showed why again today; and given increased opportunities, the kids in the lineup—particularly Jaycob Brugman and Matt Chapman—show no signs of not being able to hang with major league pitching. Brugman and Chapman both reached base twice each.

Make more space for the kids, Forst!

Don’t look now but the the Swingin’ A’s have won 7 of their last 9 games and look to extend their winning streak to 4+ starting tomorrow at home against the Rays.