Stat of the day: Infield hits & bunt hits

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Here are the infield hit leaders, listed along with their number of bunt hits.
Numbers taken from Fangraphs.com
1. Ichiro Suzuki – 49 – 6
2. Michael Bourn – 29 – 17
3. Carl Crawford – 27 – 0
3. Shane Victorino – 27 – 0
5. Cristian Guzman – 26 – 1
6. Ryan Braun – 25 – 0
6. Jacoby Ellsbury – 25 – 9
6. Scott Podsednik – 25 – 5
9. Everth Cabrera – 23 – 13
9. Matt Kemp – 23 – 3
And here’s bunt hits, along with each player’s number of infield hits:
1. Erick Aybar – 18 – 15
2. Emilio Bonifacio – 17 – 18
2. Michael Bourn – 17 – 29
4. Willy Taveras – 15 – 13
5. Nyjer Morgan – 14 – 15
6. Everth Cabrera – 13 – 23
6. Rafael Furcal – 13 – 19
8. Denard Span – 10 – 19
9. Luis Castillo – 9 – 18
9. Jacoby Ellsbury – 9 – 25
9. Chone Figgins – 9 – 13
– Ichiro does rather stand out up there, doesn’t he? But I wonder if he wouldn’t be even better if he attempted a few more bunts. He’s 6-for-10 reaching base when he gets a bunt down this year, and he’s over 50 percent for his career.
But, then, I also wonder if he wouldn’t be worse off for it. Ichiro may just be the one hitter in baseball who doesn’t benefit from having the infield come in against him. His ability to beat out seemingly routine grounders is legendary. He probably doesn’t want the shortstop and second baseman any further in than they already are.
– Ichiro aside, the great “bunt for hitters” are generally in the 40s as far as reaching first when they get a bunt down. Cabrera (50), Bourn (47) and Ellsbury (47) are the best of the guys on the leaderboard. Castillo is the low man at 28 percent.
Also in the 50 percent club are Colby Rasmus (7-for-14) and B.J. Upton (6-for-12). Troy Tulowitzki and Brian Roberts are both 4-for-5. Bunting against the shift, Carlos Pena is 5-for-8 and Jack Cust is 3-for-3. Kemp is also 3-for-3.
– Back to infield hits, here’s the bottom of the leaderboard:
1. Brian McCann – 2
1. Bengie Molina – 2
1. Daniel Murphy – 2
4. Jermaine Dye – 3
4. Brad Hawpe – 3
4. Paul Konerko – 3
4. Brad Hawpe – 3
4. Andy LaRoche – 3
4. Carlos Pena – 3

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.