UPDATE: Strasburg says goodbye, for now…

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Strasburg debut.jpgUPDATE: According to the Nationals’ official Twitter feed, Strasburg has been optioned to Double-A Harrisburg.  That’s that.

SATURDAY, 8:39pm: Stephen Strasburg just wrapped up what could be his last start of the spring with the Nationals.

He got off to a bit of a rough start, serving up a solo home run to Cardinals shortstop prospect Tyler Greene on the first pitch of the game — the first run he has allowed this spring — followed by a one-out home run by Allen Craig. But after that? Strasburg struck out seven of the final 12 batters he faced.

Strasburg’s final line for the night: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks

The 21-year-old has a 2.00 ERA and a 12/1 K/BB ratio in nine innings pitched this spring.

Those are some pretty darn impressive numbers, but Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider has what could oddly qualify to be the doozy of them all:

In three spring
starts totaling nine innings, Strasburg has not recorded a flyout. 13
groundouts, 1 popout, 12 strikeouts.

Wow. Strasburg might start the season in the minor leagues, but you can pretty much mark it down that he’ll main attraction in Washington by June.
 

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.