Smoltz to be released, somehow has several suitors

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Jon Heyman (and many others) are saying that the Red Sox are going to release John Smoltz today.  Rosenthal has the Dodgers, Cardinals and Marlins as interested.  No chance he’s going back to the Braves, says Mark Bowman, and he provides some statistical reasons to be wary of Smotlz, even as a reliever:

During the first 25 pitches of the eight starts Smoltz made for the Red Sox, he limited opponents to a .257 (9-for-35) batting average, a  .395 on-base percentage and a .286 slugging percentage.   From pitches 26-50, opponents produced a .327 batting average (17-for-52).  And from pitches 51-75, they hit .388 (19-for-49) against him.

Yes, that profiles nicely for short relief, but as Bowman notes, the quick breakdown makes one wonder whether he could be used effectively as a short reliever. A short guy in the pen has to be able to warm up fast, warm up couple of times a game, and pitch a few times a week.  If Smoltz gets gassed do quickly and so totally, I have a hard time seeing him be truly useful out of the pen.

As a Braves fan I love the guy, but as Neyer basically said the other day, if his name were Joe Schmo, no one would be talking about how he could help anybody.

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.