The Twins should be saying "bring on the Yankees"

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Conventional wisdom holds that the Twins want no part of the Yankees, because the Yankees have owned them in the post season in recent years.  But it’s a different story altogether, I think, if the Twins get home field advantage in the playoffs. Which they could outright if they make up a couple of games and end up with the best record on the AL East.  Or they could over the Yankees at least if the Yankees remain in second place and end up with the wild card.

Under such circumstances, you’d have to like the Twins no? Their home record is 48-23.  The Yankees on the road are 38-32. History is fun and everything, but I have to think the distinct advantage the Twins have over their opponents at Target Field outweighs the Yankees’ past dominance of the Twins in the playoffs, don’t you?

Just looking ahead: the Twins have this week’s series against the White Sox, but then they close against the A’s, Indians, Royals, Tigers and Blue Jays, with most of those games at home.  The Yankees still have 12 games with the Rays and Red Sox. The Rays have it a bit easier, with the six games against the Yankees and then some cupcakes.

Maybe I’m just drinking too much Twins Kool-Aid this week, but I like the Twins’ chances to take home field advantage. And I like them in a series against the Yankees as well.  Indeed, it’s what they should be hoping for at this point.

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.