Take a deep breath before wading into the Manny-Papi commentary

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Whenever major steroids news
breaks, we can be assured of a few things: shock, outrage,
overreaction, and moralizing. I don’t think anything I can say will
head that off at the pass, but let me at least try. This is addressed
mostly to the sports media, but let’s just make it a general “to whom
it may concern:”

You’re not surprised, so please don’t pretend you are. The only
people who will truly surprise you to be associated with steroids are
Derek Jeter, juniors Cal Ripken and Ken Griffey, and dudes like Jason
Tyner and whatnot (though guys like him shouldn’t surprise you).

You’ve not been betrayed, so please don’t claim to be. You enjoyed
the baseball of those years and nothing of value has been taken from
you as a result of recent revelations. While it’s totally legitimate to
be turned off and disappointed and generally depressed about all of
this, if your sense of trust has been so violated by all of this
steroids business that you actually feel the need to claim “betrayal,”
you probably need to examine if you’re still a fan or not.

And you know this one is going to come up like crazy, so let’s be
perfectly clear: the Red Sox’ championship in 2004 is not tainted. At
least no more tainted than the outcome of any other championship won by
any other team in at least the past 20 years, not to mention the awards
and the regular season games and everything else, so please don’t even
go there. Baseball had a steroids problem. Not just the Red Sox, not
just the Yankees, not just the Orioles, Rangers or A’s. As such, to the
extent one uses this latest news as a means of singling out the Sox,
one is simply showing that they see the entire world through rivalries
and not reason.

Now, with that out of the way, you may resume your regularly-scheduled outrage.

Sean Manaea pitches 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.