Blue Jays: Sean Manaea and Marcus Stroman Close Out the Series
On Wednesday, August 1, the Blue Jays will complete their three game series in Oakland. Sean Manaea will start for the A’s while Marcus Stroman will take the ball for the Blue Jays.
Wednesday’s game will be the second time that the Blue Jays have gone up against Sean Manaea. The lefty came into his last start against Toronto with a great 2.35 ERA and 180 ERA+. However, his start against Toronto was indicative of the rough month of May he had. Over five innings, he allowed three walks, five hits, a home run, and four earned runs.
Through six starts in the month of May, the southpaw allowed a terrible 7.18 ERA. The A’s hurler gave up at least four earned runs in five of his six starts. Amazingly, the only game when he managed a quality start was against the Boston Red Sox—when he pitched six three-earned-run innings.
The left-hander’s month was completely uncharacteristic of how he has pitched this season. In fact, while pitching in any month other than May, he has never allowed more than three earned runs in a start. In April, June, and July, he has pitched 12 quality starts in 15 games.
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Most recently, Manaea missed an opportunity to extend his quality start streak to three games. Against the Colorado Rockies, the southpaw allowed three earned runs over five complete innings. The 26-year-old was knocked around quite a bit, though, giving up nine hits.
Overall, the big lefty has had an excellent season in the bay area. Through 22 starts he has posted a 3.46 ERA, 4.32 FIP, 1.005 WHIP, and 118 ERA+. In total, the starter has been worth a surprisingly low 1.4 fWAR.
The young hurler does not offer much variation in his pitch selection. Throughout this season he has simply mixed between a four seam fastball, change-up, and slider.
The left-handed hurler has thrown four seam fastballs 53.6% of the time this season. The heater is not overpoweringly fast, maintaining an average velocity of 91.50 mph. The four seamer has been quite effective this season, allowing a good .223 BAA. However, the pitch has also been responsible for 14 home runs—or 74% of all home runs the pitcher has allowed this season.
Manaea has changed speeds on batters 32.3% of the time this year. The change is a decent drop in velocity from the fastball, posting an average speed of 83.35 mph. The off speed pitch has done well, giving up a small .333 SLGA.
Finally, the southpaw completes his pitching repertoire with a slider—a pitch he uses 13% of the time. The breaking ball maintains great dropping, sweeping glove-side action while maintaining a relatively slow average velocity of 79.23 mph. Despite this great movement, the pitch has only been responsible for 19 strikeouts and has given up the worst BAA (.228) of all of his pitches.
Despite being one of the younger star pitcher in the majors, the left-handed hurler is quite old-school in his pitching strategy. Instead of racking up the strikeouts, the starter has pitched to a decent 44.8% ground ball rate and 34.5% fly ball rate. As well, he has limited walks incredibly well, posting a 4.4% BB-rate and 1.60 BB/9. By pitching to contact and avoiding walks, the lefty has averaged 6.1 innings per start this year.
Despite doing decently well in their last game against the Indiana State product, the Blue Jays have mediocre numbers in their careers against the lefty. By far the best two, Justin Smoak and Yangervis Solarte have loved hitting against the young starter. Smoak has managed four hits in eleven trips to the plate and Solarte has gone two-for-three with two doubles. However, Teoscar Hernandez has produced just one hit in six at-bats against Manaea.
The Blue Jays draw another tough match-up against the Oakland ace on Wednesday afternoon. With a depleted roster after the trade deadline, this could be a messy game for the Jays. The biggest key will be a strong start from Stroman to help shelter the bullpen and cover the offence.