A’s Starting pitchers had yet to record a victory thru the first 6 games of the 2018 season. Thanks to Sean Manaea, the staff didn’t have to wait any longer to grab a win as the A’s dropped the visiting Rangers 6-2 in the 3rd game of the 4 game series.
***Find tonight’s game thread here
Manaea dominated the Rangers, pitching 8 innings of one-run baseball. (94 pitches, 3 hits, 1 run, 4 strikeouts.) Manaea’s fastball velocity sat between 89-91 mph throughout the game, but what was truly impressive was his accuracy, throwing first-pitch strikes to 20 out of the 27 Rangers hitters he faced.
The offense came alive against Merced’s Doug Fister and former A’s pitcher, Jesse Chavez, scoring 6 runs on 9 hits. Four A’s batters knocked in runs: Bruce Maxwell (RBI Double in the 2nd); Jed Lowrie drove in two key runs ( 2 RBI’s with a Single in the 4th); Marcus Semien (RBI Sac Fly in the 4th) and Matt Olson (RBI Single in the 8th). Matt Chapman scored another run in the 4th on a Rangers error (Chapman’s slide at home knocked the ball out of Rangers Catcher, Robinson Chirinos’ glove) to account for the sixth Oakland run. The A’s hitters grinded out at-bats vs. Rangers starter, Doug Fister, running his pitch count to 85 pitches in his 3 2⁄3 innings of work, knocking him out with 4 runs in the 4th inning. The only downside to the offense was their 10 strikeouts on the evening, adding to their AL Leading strikeout total as a team.
With Manaea cruising and the A’s offense producing, the only real drama in the later innings was if Bob Melvin would allow Manaea to finish the game for a complete game win. Standing at 94 pitches after 8 innings (after throwing 7 2⁄3 innings in his first start), BoMel made a wise choice and went to Yesmeiro Petit to close out the game. Petit gave up an innocent lead-off solo homer to Ranger DH, Shin-Soo Choo, but then retired the heart of the Rangers order 1-2-3 to complete the game and raise the A’s 2018 record to 3-4.
Interesting Note #1: Chad Pinder received the start in Right Field in place of struggling Stephen Piscotty. Pinder made a nice catch defensively. It will be interesting to see how much patience the A’s have with Piscotty has if he continues to struggle both offensively and defensively.
Interesting Note #2: Today was Ray Fosse’s 71st Birthday. He has been with the A’s broadcast team since 1986 and is a member of the 50th-anniversary team.
Interesting Note #3: Only 7,908 humans were at the Coliseum to witness the victory and the low attendance turnout in this series has been a topic of conversation among many. Cold weather, Low expectations for this team and a lack of a strong radio presence for the last 10 years in the greater Bay Area (there isn’t one radio station in my hometown of Santa Cruz that picks up the games static free) are some of the theories I have for why no one is showing much interest in this team.
My Dad and boys are heading to our first game of 2018 at the Coliseum tomorrow for the afternoon game (come say hi to us in section 125!) and I encourage all A’s Nation readers to come out tomorrow and support the Green and Gold as the first homestand of 2018 comes to a close. First pitch is at 12:35pm and .500 is within range!