Columnist: R.A. Dickey deserves All-Star nod over Strasburg

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Baseball is my life, but working on 4th of July weekend can be a bit of a drag. It’s true. I’d much rather be eating a hot dog while jumping through the sprinkler in the front yard or something. Thankfully, columnists like Rob Parker of ESPNNewYork.com are always around to cheer me up.

Seriously, this is the funniest thing I’ve read all week. Enjoy.

We hate to interrupt this automatic trip to Cooperstown less than a
month into Strasburg’s career, but, hello, he’s just a .500 pitcher for a
bad team. Strasburg is 2-2 with a 2.27 ERA. If it were anybody else —
especially a young pitcher without a proven track record — there
wouldn’t even be a debate about an All-Star selection.

Even as impressive as 14 strikeouts in his debut are, it wasn’t even a
record. J.R. Richard punched out 15 in his debut in 1971.

More than Strasburg’s numbers alone, there’s simply a more deserving
pitcher in the NL. Enter New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey.

Yeah, I get what he’s doing here. He’s setting up Saturday’s pitching matchup between Dickey and Strasburg. Weird choice for a column, but we’ll forgive that. It’s nice to see anybody in New York not talking about LeBron James. Anyway, he continues.

But the All-Star Game — last we checked — isn’t about what you’ve done
for your entire career. It’s about what you have accomplished during
the first half of the season.

There are two significant pieces of ignorance here. One, that Strasburg’s win-loss record means anything whatsoever, especially when the Nationals have scratched across one measly run over his last three starts combined. And two, that the All-Star Game is actually about what a player has accomplished during the first half of the season. It’s a complete fallacy that continues to live on for reasons I can’t understand.

Two weeks ago, I made a brief case for Strasburg to pitch in the game and it really had nothing to do with superficial statistics like his win-loss record. Yes, he may walk away from this afternoon’s start 2-3, but if he strikes out 10 over seven innings of one-run ball, I’m still okay with him representing the Nationals in the All-Star Game. Why? Because he’s good and he could help the National League win home-field advantage for the World Series. That’s why.

In case you didn’t already know, I’m a Mets fan. I love what R.A. Dickey has been doing. He has been a lot of fun to watch. But we’re talking about eight starts from a pitcher who has a career 5.17 ERA. I’m not saying he’s Aaron Small or anything, but if the All-Star Game is truly about winning, the best players in baseball should be there. Dickey just isn’t one of them.
 

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.