Roberto Clemente Award nominees announced. But why do we get a vote?

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Unlike the MVPs and other post season awards, no one ever talks smack about the Roberto Clemente award winner as being undeserving. That’s because it goes to the Major Leaguer who “best
exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement
and the individual’s contribution to his team,” and even the worst snark can’t cut through something that positive.

Anyway, the nominees were announced about an hour ago. Each team gets one nominee. The weird part: you can vote on it.  I’m not sure how the vast majority of us can ascertain the community involvement of most if any of these guys — quick! Was Geoff Blum or Craig Breslow a bigger asset to his community this year? — but voting makes everything better. The All-Star Game told me so.

OK, I guess you can mock the Clemente Award a little bit. Or at least the process of selecting it.

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.