Former Dbacks’ skipper A.J. Hinch was on KTAR radio in Phoenix yesterday talking about getting axed. He’s mostly diplomatic, talking about how wins and losses are all that matter, but there are times when it seems pretty clear that he resents the fact that his team basically mutinied on him right after he got the job. Stuff like this:
Handling players, getting people to calm down, I wish I would’ve
been able to do that quicker last summer and been able to move on. … For
the first part of my tenure, it wasn’t about the baseball. It was about
my age and my inexperience as a manager and the hostility on our team.
I don’t know that there’s any way to deal with that kind of skepticism other than to win like a mofo right out of the box. Hinch’s Dbacks lost six of his first seven games, and you can bet that by game five the “who in the hell does this guy think he is” meme had taken hold pretty firmly.
Like I said last week: hiring Hinch was unconventional thinking. I kind of like unconventional thinking so part of me wanted to see the Dbacks’ little experiment succed, but baseball in general does not. Hinch was probably doomed from the get-go, and as a result, I bet we don’t see a team hire someone without either coaching or managing experience again for a long, long time.
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.