Buck Showalter isn’t wasting any time making changes in Baltimore, saying earlier this week that Alfredo Simon is far from guaranteed to remain the Orioles’ closer and indicating last night that the team may use a six-man starting rotation in September.
It’s something that we have kicked around a little bit depending on what the needs of the guys are. I don’t think we’re at that point. We’ll try to let them finish off the year and when we get to September, we’ll see what’s best for everybody.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun notes that going to a six-man rotation would give Showalter an opportunity to evaluate one extra young pitcher, such as Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, or Rick VandenHurk, while also limiting the workload of current rookie starters Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta.
Zrebiec adds that the extra rest from a six-man rotation “would likely be viewed unfavorably by veterans Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie, who want to pitch every five days and finish out the season strong.” Of course, Millwood is a 35-year-old impending free agent with a 5.74 ERA and 2-12 record, so I’m not sure why the Orioles are even sticking with him at this point, let alone actually caring what he’d view “unfavorably.”
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.