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Time might be running out on the most surprising contender in baseball. With the postseason quickly approaching, the Oakland Athletics have lost two of their best starting pitchers in just a few days.
The team placed ace Sean Manaea on the disabled list Sunday. He was diagnosed with a sore rotator cuff, and is out indefinitely. Brett Anderson was next. He hit the disabled list Tuesday with a forearm issue. It’s unclear how long Anderson will be out.
Athletics lose two key rotation members for the stretch run
The injuries come at an awful time for Oakland. The team has been playing at an incredible pace in August, winning at close to a .700 clip. As of Tuesday, they have a 4.5 game lead over the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
Anderson and Manaea have been a big part of the team’s success. Over 160 2/3 innings, Manaea has posted a 3.59 ERA. He’s been the team’s ace for much of the season, tossing a no-hitter in April.
Anderson has provided an excellent comeback story with his old club. In his return to Oakland, Anderson has a 4.02 ERA over 65 1/3 innings.
With Manaea and Anderson injured, the A’s rotation consists of Trevor Cahill, Mike Fiers and Edwin Jackson. The team is using Frankie Montas and Daniel Mengden to replace Manaea and Anderson for now.
There’s still time for the Athletics to acquire pitching
Not all is lost for the Athletics. The team could still bring in a player via trade before the waiver deadline. They are running out of time, though. In order for a player to be eligible for a postseason roster spot, a team needs to acquire him by the end of August.
There are reports Washington Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez went through waivers unclaimed, meaning the A’s can swing a deal for the lefty. Given Oakland’s willingness to reunite with former players, bringing back Gonzalez would be fitting.
A number of other players could be available via waivers for the A’s.
The Athletics have dealt with an injured pitching staff all season
While losing Manaea and Anderson hurts, the 2018 Athletics are used to pitching injures by now. The team has overcome a number of injuries to their starting pitching and it hasn’t slowed them down yet.
A's starters who have spent time on the DL this season:
— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) August 28, 2018
How do the A’s plan to combat losing Sean Manaea and Brett Anderson?
The A’s might take a page out of the Tampa Bay Rays’ book and use their relievers as starters. Athletics general manager David Forst told Susan Slusser the team could utilize that approach, especially when rosters expand in September.
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