HBT Weekend Wrapup

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I took Friday off, which has me completely discombobulated, baseball wise. I’m going on vacation next week and will be unplugging for the entire trip. If I can expect my discombobulation to be seven times what I’m feeling right now, I’m pretty sure my chances of surviving with my sanity intact are zero. So welcome to the last productive week of HardballTalk!

As for the weekend:

  • Jonathan Broxton lost his closer’s job because he has lost his confidence. This is the saddest thing I’ve witnessed since that evil doctor stole Fonzie’s cool in that late-run “Happy Days” episode. Of course by that point they had introduced Roger and Eugene, made the Fonz a teacher and Jenny Piccolo was a real character instead of someone Joanie just talked about, so the cool was long gone to begin with. Much like the Dodgers’ playoff chances.
  • Andy Pettitte suffered a setback during a simulated game. No one is sure if the setback itself is real, however. Simulated games are like the “Inception” of the baseball world in that way.
  • The Rangers’ new owners lower beer prices, among other fan-friendly things. Doing such a thing is such a no-brainer in terms of the creation of fan goodwill that it’s amazing more teams don’t do stuff like this. I mean really, if anyone is qualified to make no-brainer moves, it’s baseball owners.
  • When does Jose Canseco’s big league pension kick in? Because, really, it’s getting sad to see him go from job to job like this. Of course, Canseco serving as bench coach is fairly useful in that it conclusively proves what I’ve long suspected: bench coaches don’t actually do anything.
  • Chipper Jones had successful surgery. I am not making this up: part of the ligament graft came from a cadaver. Which means that the Mets’ worst fears will be coming true next season: Zombie Chipper.
  • K-Rod apologizes. I haven’t read the apology yet, but I assume it has something to do with his pummeling fists being taken out of context.
  • It’s cute that Joe Torre thinks he’s still in New York and thus the whole world is waiting to hear what his career plans are.
  • Carlos Zambrano wins his first start since his return from crazyland. This was really the only game I saw over the weekend. My daughter watched part of it with me. After listening to some of the game she said “what are ‘his issues?'”
  • A-Rod hits three bombs against the Royals. If I ran a New York tabloid I’d be real tempted to have one of my columnists write a thing about how Rodriguez is too lazy to run and thus insists on slow jogs.
  • Rob Dibble kinda sorta not really apologizes for making fun of some women fans he assumed to be talking about shopping while in the stands at a Nats game. He did not apologize, however, for failing to grasp the irony of his calling people out for talking bullsh– during a baseball game.

And with that, let us proceed with our week, shall we?

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.