Deep thought: with the awards, it's not stats vs. scouts

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I promise I’ll get off this Cy Young Award voting thing soon, but I had one more thought.  Or rather, Dan Levy over at Press Coverage had one more thought, and it’s a good one.

While so many baseball arguments tend to break down into a stats vs. scouts, sabermetrics vs. my-own-damn-eyes debate, the AL Cy Young award should not be one of them.  VORP and WAR have been thrown around a bit in the whole Felix Hernandez vs. The World debate, but it’s hardly necessary.

Why? Because the things that separate the candidates — innings pitched, strikeouts, wins, run support — aren’t sabermetric concepts. They’re things that have been a part of baseball — a discussed part of baseball — since they wrote the damn rules down and started playing the game.  The difference in opinion is simply an application of differing values and common sense. That doesn’t mean that each opinion is as good as the next — an informed opinion beats an ill-informed one every time — but it does mean that you should probably ignore anyone who couches the argument in terms of “Moneyball” or “stat geeks” or “crusty old sportswriters” or whatever, because that’s all kind of beside the point.

For my part, it doesn’t take much math to think Felix Hernandez is the Cy Young winner. Those who disagree likewise shouldn’t need to appeal to their experience or authority (or other stats like wins as if they’re the be-all, end-all) and think it ends the debate.  This is really a straightforward baseball and horse sense kind of thing in my mind.

Anyway, check out Dan’s piece. He covers this pretty well, I think.

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.