Mike Scioscia: cut the season to 158 games

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Mike Scioscia must fear watching a Twins-Phillies World Series being played among the snow drifts:

Mike Scioscia is a strong proponent of expanding the division series
from five to seven games and of finishing the World Series in October,
when there is a better chance of decent weather in the Northeast and
Midwest than there is in November.

The 162-game regular-season schedule would have to be condensed so
the postseason could start about Oct. 1, and that could be accomplished
by playing more doubleheaders.

But on Sunday, the Angels manager proposed something more radical:
reducing the number of games, not necessarily to the pre-expansion,
154-game schedule teams played before 1961 but something in the 158-game
range.

Bah. More baseball games, please, not less. I realize that split double headers are unpalatable to the players (long day at the office); and that quick-turnaround doubleheaders are unpalatable to the front office (reduced revenue from selling a ticket). Scioscia’s plan of reducing four games worth of revenue would be a non-starter for the owners.

You can’t have three rounds of seven-game playoff series and a mid-to-late October finish without risking crap weather either early in the season if you start early or late in the season if you go late. To expect otherwise is to expect that the law of conservation of matter (or perpetual motion or one of them laws) be broken.

I think we’re being too fearful of the weather to begin with. Yes, we could get snow in Minnesota or Philly in November. But we’re also just as likely to get a nice 65 degree sunny day and a cool but pleasant evening.

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.