The Rangers are the General Motors of baseball

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The Rangers are the General Motors of baseball:

Major League Baseball has provided the Texas Rangers access to a
reported $15 million from the central fund to help assure a stable
environment for the financially-strapped franchise, controlled by
majority owner Tom Hicks . . .

. . . “Tom is the control person, and there was no issue of making
payroll,” Bob DuPuy, MLB’s president and chief operating officer, said
Thursday, responding to a radio report that suggested the money was
needed on Tuesday so the Rangers could pay players and other personnel.
“Major League Baseball is working with the Rangers to sell the team, as
Tom requested.”

DuPuy’s statement is directly contradicted by multiple reports
stating that Hicks did, in fact, need the money to make payroll. I
believe the payroll reports because (a) I have no idea what “help
assure a stable environment” means; and (b) Major League Baseball has
every incentive to downplay the Rangers’ problems. Upshot: you don’t
just give someone $15 million if they don’t need it really, really
badly.

Whatever you want to call it, though, there is no escaping the fact
that Hicks has managed the Rangers into the ground. There’s also no
escaping the fact that we’re rapidly approaching a situation where the
league is going to have to take control of the franchise from him. That
is if he isn’t killed by Liverpool soccer fans first for ruining their club too.

Sean Manaea pitches the first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.