Please, Lupica. Girardi has no choice but to start Pettitte tonight

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I do my best to avoid Mike Lupica whenever possible, but my buddy Jason alerts me to the latest bit of wisdom from the New York Daily News’ alpha dog:

Joe Girardi knows the deal as well as he knows his way out to the mound. He’s right about using only three starters in the postseason if the Yankees win, tonight or tomorrow night. He’s right if Andy Pettitte does the job in Game 6 on three days’ rest that A.J. Burnett didn’t do Monday night. Or he’s right if this thing plays all the way out and CC Sabathia carries everybody across the finish line. Girardi just better be right about three days’ rest for these guys after being up three games to one.

As most of you know, I’m a lawyer by training and trade, and it’s times like these that I wish I could mix the law and baseball. If I could, I’d put Lupica on the stand and cross examine him:

Lawyer: So, Mr. Lupica, is it your position here today that Mr. Girardi should start Mr. Gaudin — who hasn’t pitched in a month — or, say, Mr. Chamberlain in Game Six of the World Series?

Lupica: [mutters something unintelligible]

Lawyer: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your answer, could you speak a little louder so the jury and the court reporter can hear your answer?

Lupica: I said, um, no. Pettitte’s a better choice.

Lawyer: So you’d agree with me, then, that Mr. Girardi is making the right decision to start Mr. Pettitte tonight?

Lupica: Yes.

Lawyer: So, if Mr. Pettitte doesn’t perform, it’s not because of Mr. Girardi’s poor decision, is it?  It’s because of something else such as poor roster construction?

Lupica: Yes

Lawyer: Your honor, at this time I think Mr. Lupica may wish to retract his “Girardi had better be right” statement because such rhetoric is clearly not supported by the witness’ own beliefs.

Of course, I suppose it’s possible that Lupica really does think it’s better to start Chad Gaudin. He doesn’t say either way in his article. Which is a shame, because if he said Gaudin was the man, we’d be able to dismiss Lupica as certifiably insane without going through all of this hassle.

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.