Andrew McCutchen as a No. 3 hitter?

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andrew mccutchen headshot.jpgAndrew McCutchen quickly earned the
reputation as an offensive dynamo in his rookie season, batting
.286/.365/.471 with 12 home runs, nine triples, 26 doubles, 54 RBI, 74
runs scored and 22 stolen bases in 443 at-bats, all of them out of the
leadoff spot. But after the acquisition of Akinori Iwamura from the Rays last month, manager
John Russell has at least begun to
consider the 23-year-old McCutchen as his No. 3 hitter:



“I’ve thought about it, especially if Aki does a nice job. We’ll see
how it goes,” Russell said. “But Cutch has been in the majors for three
months, and he did awfully well for us at the top. If it ain’t broke,
don’t fix it. All around baseball, you hear teams talk about how they
want a leadoff hitter. Well, we’ve got some good options.”




With his .354 career on-base
percentage and 10.1% career walk rate, Iwamura is another solid on-base
option for Russell, but don’t expect this to happen anytime soon. Even
with Hanley Ramirez, the transition from leadoff hitter to full-time
No. 3 hitter took three seasons. Especially with a run-starved team like the
Pirates, he’s best utilized at the top.

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.