Citizens Bank Park has a reputation for being a homerun stadium. Oakland’s bats did that reputation no harm this weekend. Winning two of three, the A’s scored thirteen runs in the series - twelve of which were plated via the long ball.
Today’s pitching match-up was intriguing from the outset. Starting for the Phils was Henderson Alvarez, a 27-year-old who has already made the all-star game, washed out of affiliated baseball, rebuilt his reputation in independent ball, and made it back. Pitching for the good guys, to borrow a Hawkism, was Sean Manaea, who has struggled mightily over his last ten outings.
Sean Manaea (10-10, 4.65 ERA) looks to get back on track. He is 2-5 with a 6.75 ERA and .356 opponent BA over his last 10 starts.— Gameday Feed (@OAKGameday) September 17, 2017
Neither pitcher was great. Both probably deserved a little more than their scorelines reflect.
Manaea got the win, throwing five innings, allowing six hits, two walks, and striking out four. He allowed three runs, only one of which was earned thanks to a rare Matt Chapman error. Alvarez, likewise, threw five innings, but unlike Manaea, couldn’t control the homerun ball. He allowed back-to-back solo shots to Chad Pinder and Matt Olson in the fourth, and was responsible for two of the four runs that scored on Joey Wendle’s sixth-inning grand slam.
The A’s went quietly in their half of the first. Manaea then gave up a leadoff single to the speedy Cesar Hernandez. He bounced back and recorded two quick outs, and should have gotten out of the inning without any drama. Groundballs to Matt Chapman have basically been sure outs this year, but our young third baseman booted this one, allowing Hernandez to score. Two singles in succession pushed another run across the plate, and the Phillies led 2-0 after one.
Save for Marcus Semien’s third inning double, the A’s offense didn’t threaten much through the early frames. But then the fourth happened. And this happened.
A batter later, this happened.
And so the game was tied going into the fifth. If today’s theme was the homerun, it’s subplot had to be the walk. Manaea walked two of the first three hitters in the fifth, and a two-out single from Maikel Franco gave the Phillies the lead for the final time.
It wouldn’t last long.
Matt Joyce walked to open the sixth, followed by a Pinder single. Olson and Chapman both struck out, but Canha worked another walk which set the stage for Joey Wendle.
The recently called up utility infielder hit his first major league grand slam just a half-hour from where he grew up.
And that was it, at least in terms of offense. The bullpen turned in another masterful effort. Liam Hendriks, Daniel Coulombe, Ryan Dull, Chris Hatcher, and Blake Treinen combined to pitch four innings, and while the collective walked two, not a hit was allowed. Treinen picked up his 11th save and Hatcher worked an impressive four-out hold.
The A’s stay in the Eastern time zone for one more series, playing in Detroit tomorrow at 4:10 PM. Jharel Cotton faces Buck Farmer. Even if a baseball game doesn’t break out, we can debate who has the better baseball name. Have a great rest of your weekend everyone.