Oakland Looks to Starter Sean Manaea to Help them Sweep the Indians

Rainman M.

Sunday, July 16, 2017 4:21 PM UTC

Sunday, Jul. 16, 2017 4:21 PM UTC

After mounting a late-inning comeback last night, the A’s won their fourth straight home game. Can they make it five straight at home by sweeping the Indians?

Cleveland Indians vs Oakland Athletics

The Indians will try to avoid getting swept in Oakland. They will look to their right-handed batters for help in the scoring department because righties are batting .246 against Manaea this season, while lefties are hitting only .160. Cleveland is capable of stacking its lineup with guys who can hit from the right side of the plate, but they have yet to succeed against Manaea, who gave up just one run in seven innings on May 31st in Cleveland. The A’s have had more success against Bauer, particularly because Bauer’s weakness has been giving up home runs, while the A’s like to rely on hitting the long ball. Khris Davis, last night’s walk-off hero, and Yonder Alonso, are both 4-for-10 in their career against Bauer with a home run each.


Starting Pitchers

Trevor Bauer (7-7 5.24 ERA) takes the mound for Cleveland. Bauer’s ERA is 0.98 higher than last season but a large reason for this change is bad luck, as a higher percentage of the balls that opponents make contact with have been ending up as hits. His FIP (like ERA, but factors out luck) is only .06 higher. After a rough start to the season, Bauer’s ERA has been dropping. He showed what he is capable of on May 30th when he struck out 14 Oakland batters. His curve ball was lethal that day because opposing batters were struggling to keep up with its movement: it teases batters as it elusively drops towards the plate. He consistently induced whiffs with his curve, but could also command it for strikes. He was then able to complement the curve with a blazing 97 mph fastball. As if the curve itself wasn’t already keeping batters off-balance, he was able to keep them off balance also by varying the pace and eye-level of his pitches. Despite striking out 14 batters, Bauer gave up three runs. He has been more vulnerable this year to the home run ball, which makes Oakland batters lick their chops. Oakland is 9th in home runs per game, despite being relatively anemic on the road. Bauer, who has a reputation for struggling with consistency, will look to replicate his incredible May performance in Oakland.

Sean Manaea (7-5 3.76 ERA) counters for Oakland. Manaea started off the season slowly, but has improved. His biggest problem is with command—he issues too many walks. But in his last six starts he has averaged only two walks per game. When he pitched so well against Cleveland on in May, he only walked one batter in seven innings, while striking out nine. Manaea is not capable of reaching the velocity that Bauer does, but he is still able to induce a number of strikeouts because of the movement and location of his pitches. When he is sharp, he is able to pound the lower part of the strike zone. What helps him keep the ball down is the downward movement of his pitches. His fastball, which is his most frequent pitch, has heavy sinking movement. His changeup also eludes the opponent’s bat by dropping out of the strike zone. His slider is tight and has some vertical movement to it as well. His fastball and changeup complement each other well because of the difference in velocity. So not only do batters struggle to keep up with his pitches’ movement, but also with their change of pace. His slider is an extremely effective whiff pitch against left-handed batters, who struggle to read its movement particularly since Manaea is a left-handed pitcher. But he is able to achieve strikeouts with all of his pitches, because of their elusive movement, against righties as well. Because he pounds the bottom of the zone, he ends up inducing a lot of ground balls. He will look to be as consistent with both his stuff and command as he was in May vs the Indians in Cleveland.

 The Verdict

On a warm and sunny afternoon in Oakland, the leash will be tighter for both pitchers. Both lineups hit much more effectively during the daytime than they do at night. Both pitchers have lately been more consistent and more effective with their mixture of fastball and off-speed pitches. The basis for my pick is value: in a pretty even matchup on our MLB picks, we’re getting the home team at + odds. Since I don’t trust Oakland’s bullpen, I am recommending a first 5 play only.

Free MLB Pick: Oakland -110 1h
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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