Mike Rizzo scouts Bryce Harper, likes what he sees

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Bryce Harper cover small.jpgThe Post’s Adam Kilgore reports that the talk of his allegedly bad attitude and his high asking price has apparently done nothing to dissuade the Nats from drafting Bryce Harper first in next months’ draft. In fact, it sounds like Washington is hotter for Harper than they ever have been:

Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo went out to Vegas to see him play in two doubleheaders and all Harper did was gor 6 for 12 with two doubles and four walks.  Nats’ director of amateur scouting Kris Kline called Harper, “a huge
priority for us.” As for those attitude problems, Kline says “I think he’s got great makeup . . . I have absolutely no
problems with the kid’s makeup. He’s a great kid.”  Kline went on to call him “a class act.”

This all sounds like a team that is transitioning from scouting Harper to selling him as the next new face of the Washington Nationals.

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.