Oakland loses series against last-place opponent
Don’t mess with Texas, apparently.
The Oakland A’s went to Arlington looking to build on their hot streak, and instead lost two out of three games to the last-place Texas Rangers. The finale Sunday ended with a 7-4 defeat, with the Rangers in control for the entire afternoon.
Texas jumped all over A’s starter Sean Manaea, with a combination of legit hard contact and also plenty of luck, and the 1st inning offered examples of both factors.
Manaea got squeezed terribly against his first batter of the game, resulting in an undeserved walk. The next batter crushed a double, and the runner scored from first, but replay suggested he might really have been tagged out at the plate if Oakland had chosen to challenge (which they declined to do). Two batters later came a 460-foot moonshot homer. The double and dinger were for real! The walk and the play at the plate were not.
The Rangers scored again in the 2nd inning, when two batters hit nearly identical soft bloops into shallow right field for lucky doubles. Make contact and good things can happen! But that doesn’t change the fact that two 70-mph 150-foot flares in the same inning equal pure luck.
But then on the other hand, Manaea allowed two more homers. One of them was solo in the 3rd, and the other came in the 5th — the leadoff batter hit another weak bloop single, then the next two batters got out, then came the homer.
- Manaea: 5 ip, 7 runs, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 3 HR, 7 hits, 86 pitches, 90.6 mph EV
It’s not that he was good today. Clearly he got knocked around, and this is the first time he’s ever allowed three dingers in a regular season start. But he wasn’t quite this bad, and it’s also some consolation to see that he was still missing bats and striking out hitters and avoiding walks — again, his one free pass was incorrectly called by the ump, as Texas got an extra couple inches on the right-handed side of the plate all day. (That goes in the A’s favor sometimes, but today it didn’t.)
Perhaps more concerning is that this was Manaea’s third straight bad start. I’m not reading anything into that yet. His first shaky outing against the Padres gets a full mulligan because the third batter of that game hit Manaea in the leg with a 115-mph line drive. His second poor outing against the Indians was more about having trouble putting hitters away while they worked long counts. Today was bad but not disastrous.
Nobody is consistently awesome nonstop for an entire six-month season. Manaea’s velocity and spin rates were pretty much normal today, so there’s no specific reason to fear injury unless something new gets reported by the insiders. More likely this is just a routine slump in the dog days of August and the Texas heat.
Shake it off and go get ‘em next time, Manaealator!
More details coming, including the A’s offense. In the meantime, here’s how close Oakland came to tying the game in the 9th inning. Keep hitting refresh!
Dang I thought Marte was gonna tie this one up pic.twitter.com/iAty2lSay2
— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) August 15, 2021