by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Oakland Athletics (3-4) suffered their third consecutive loss on Friday night in Seattle as the Mariners won the opening game of the four-game wrap-around series 5-3. For the Mariners (4-4), it was their third consecutive victory.
Manaea was no mystery
Sean Manaea (0-2, 7.00) made his second start of the accelerated season and the results were less than spectacular. Manaea lasted just 4.1 innings allowing five runs (3 earned) on six hits while striking out four hitters.
Manaea’s ERA currently sits at 7.00 which is the kind of number that gets you sent to Triple-A or released in the normal baseball universe. In 2020, you might expect that two poor starting performances could mean a trip to San Jose to workout with the “taxi squad”, but that is not going to happen. With A.J. Puk on the Injured List, no front line starter is going to be sent anywhere.
Manaea is known as being a tenacious worker who will do everything he can do to get his “mojo” back on the mound. The fear in a situation like this is that it could be something physically wrong and not just something wrong with his pitching motion. The A’s have not given any indication that they think Manaea has any type of potential injury problem.
The bottom line is the A’s need Manaea to find a way to win games and win them right now. Each loss in this shortened season equals 2.7 losses. That means his two losses are the equivalent of 5.4 losses in a 162-game season. That many consecutive losses would cause major panic in the front office of any major league club.
The A’s need Manaea to find a way to get a win in his next start if they are to stay competitive for a playoff spot.
Three hits will not get it done
The A’s managed to collect only three hits in the game on Friday night in Seattle. Marcus Semien hit his first triple of the season in the top the eighth inning that drove in two runs for Oakland. Semien now has a six-game hitting streak and is batting .280 in those games.
Ramon Laureano hit his second double of the year in the game and Stephen Piscotty hit a single that eventually allowed him to score on Semien’s triple.
Laureano did hit a Sacrifice Fly that produced the A’s third and final run of the contest.
Oakland left four men on base. They went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and they left two runners in scoring position with two out.
For a team that is supposed to be known for its power, the A’s are experiencing a real power drought.
Walker was the Mariners star of the game
Taijuan Walker (1-1, 4.35) made his second start of the season for Seattle on Friday night and he was spectacular. Walker worked seven scoreless innings allowing only one hit and two walks while striking out eight Oakland hitters. He struck out the side in the fifth inning.
Taylor Walker picked up his second save of the young season in the game.
Seattle had a good night at the plate
J.P. Crawford went 2-for-4 and two runs on Friday night. He now has a five-game hitting streak with multiple hits in his last three games.
Kyle Lewis extended his hitting streak to eight games by going 2-for-4 and scoring a run in the win over the A’s.
Kyle Seager hit his fourth double of the season in the fourth inning which drove in two runs. It was his fifth extra-base hit of the season.
The first pitch for game two of the series is scheduled for 6:10 PM on Saturday night. The A’s will send RHP Mike Fiers (0-0, 9.00) to the mound to face off against the Mariners LHP Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 13.50).