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Melvin wants Manaea to work through struggles

MLB.com @JaneMLB

OAKLAND -- A's left-hander Sean Manaea is expected to make his next scheduled start in Houston on Friday, despite ongoing struggles this month.

"I think with where we are right now, we want him to pitch through this," A's manager Bob Melvin said before Monday's matchup with the Royals.

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OAKLAND -- A's left-hander Sean Manaea is expected to make his next scheduled start in Houston on Friday, despite ongoing struggles this month.

"I think with where we are right now, we want him to pitch through this," A's manager Bob Melvin said before Monday's matchup with the Royals.

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Manaea recorded just one out -- on a play at the plate, no less -- against Baltimore on Saturday, allowing six runs and throwing 28 pitches before his departure.

At the very least, the shortened start afforded Manaea more rest, in addition to the five days preceding his next start against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

In his previous two starts, which amounted to just 6 1/3 combined innings with seven earned runs allowed, Manaea threw just 76 and 70 pitches, respectively.

"He basically got a break the last time," Melvin said. "Really, he's been cut short his last few times out.

"If it's not Sean Manaea, you're saying, 'You know what? Whoever this pitcher is, he's struggling some,' but because it is Sean Manaea and he's been so good and so consistent for us, it probably stands out some. And this is a learning time for him to make some adjustments and work through what is a difficult time for him, and he'll be better for it when he comes out of it."

Manaea's ERA, which in a three-start span has ballooned to 4.59, was sitting at 3.82 when the calendar flipped to August -- his performance to that point was considered the best and most consistent among the club's starters. He completed at least seven innings in four of his five July starts, continually building on a strong 2016 rookie campaign that featured a 3.86 ERA in 25 games.

"Right now, he's missing location quite a bit. His slider has not been effective for him, which has made him a two-pitch pitcher, and he's had trouble pitching inside," Melvin said. "So all those things combined, it made him a little bit more predictable.

"He's handling it fine. He doesn't like it, and he makes no excuses. He's accountable for everything he does. He wants to go out there and get past this period and get back to pitching like he's used to pitching."

Another young starter, right-hander Daniel Gossett, remains in Triple-A, while 36-year-old journeyman Chris Smith takes another turn in the rotation Tuesday.

"He'll be back here at some point in time," Melvin said of Gossett, "just not sure when."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Sean Manaea