Manaea Taking Next Step on Road to Getting Another Playoff Chance With Athletics
Sean Manaea’s final start of the regular season comes Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
And while he’s considered likely to be one of the three scheduled Oakland starters when the A’s enter the wild card round of the 2020 Major League Baseball playoffs, he’s not setting getting a start as his postseason goal.
It’s a World Series ring for himself and his A’s teammates.
“I’m down for whatever,” Manaea said in a video conference call Tuesday. “Relief, starting, closing a game if I have to. I just think once you get into the postseason, it’s not really about conserving starters or anything like that it’s just about winning. And you ‘ve got to do that anyway you can.
“As far as it goes for me, I’m willing to do whatever. I just want to win one World Series. I think that would be incredible. And I’m not going to be saying I have to start. I really will do anything. That’s the fun part, just being able to be adapt to adapt to difficult situations.”
The 28-year-old left-hander is something of an expert at adapting to difficult situations. He missed most of last year as he recovered from arthroscopic shoulder surgery that took place two years ago this week.
Ten months later he was doing rehab while pitching at Triple-A Las Vegas, and two months after that he was back in the big-league rotation. For that September, the lefty was simply dominant, putting together a 4-0 record and 1.21 ERA in five starts.
He was so good that he got the start in the A’s wild card game in the playoffs only to see him give up three homers in two innings to Tampa Bay as the Rays ushered the A’s season to a premature end.
Manaea got off to a miserable 0-2, 9.00 beginning to the 2020 season, but got it together to the point where he’s been an impact starter down the stretch. In is last five starts he’s 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA. And while he’s not looking past the Dodgers, he’s looking forward to getting a chance to show himself in the postseason.
“Yeah, 1,000%. I definitely want to get back out there and prove that I can pitch in the postseason,” Manaea said. “I definitely think I can, and I’m excited to get back out there and dive it another shot and help this team go far.”
Manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Scott Emerson haven’t announced a rotation for the postseason – why would they, when they don’t know just who their opponent will be? But that opponent is likely to be Houston. Manaea has some numbers that will plead his case for a start, including his one 2020 start against the Astros on Sept. 10 when he gave the Astros one run in seven innings.
Any start against the Astros would come in the Coliseum, and as a continuing concession to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would come without fans in the seats.
“Yeah, I’m definitely going to be missing … the local fan base is crazy,” Manaea said. “It’s fun being able to pitch in front of al those fans. There are so many different groups. It’s crazy. But without the fans, we’re still going to be able to feel the adrenaline rush just because of the situation. It’s going to be different; we’re just going to have to adapt.”
But first, the Dodgers.
Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3
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