First, let’s focus on the good stuff. As you know, Felix Hernandez has dominated pretty much everyone he has faced this season, but entering last night’s action, he was 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts against the first-place Rangers. No longer.
King Felix carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in last night’s 2-1 victory over Texas. The no-hit bid was broken up by a screaming solo home run off the bat of Nelson Cruz to begin the top of the eighth inning. Hernandez would go on to allow just three hits over eight innings while striking out eight and walking just one. With the win, he improved to 12-11 with a 2.35 ERA on the year.
You’ll hear a lot about how this will boost his case for the American League Cy Young award — and I suppose that is true — but if you needed last night’s performance to tell you that he is deserving of the hardware, you’re probably doing it wrong. But hey, better late than never, right?
Okay, so why am I down on King Felix this morning? Well, unfortunately his brilliance on the mound doesn’t extend to his brain. Here’s what he told Kirby Arnold about Julio Borbon attempting to bunt during the sixth inning (!) of last night’s game.
“You shouldn’t do that,” Hernandez said. “Sixth inning and a guy is throwing a no-hitter, it’s disrespect.”
That’s right, Hernandez was offended by a bunt attempt during the sixth inning of a baseball game. I could find a place to defend him if we were talking about the ninth and perhaps the eighth, but geez, the sixth? That’s ridiculous. The Rangers had a ballgame to win, and if Derek Jeter has taught us anything, it’s that you try to get on base by all means necessary.
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.