Angels expected to make serious run at Carl Crawford

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The Angels are going to make a serious run this winter at free agent outfielder Carl Crawford.  This is something we’ve all known for weeks, and now it’s finally being talked about.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wrote this evening that the Angels have identified the multi-talented Crawford as their “primary” offseason target and are prepared to make him the franchise’s first “$100-million man.”  That’s what it’s going to take to land the left fielder, who registered a .307 batting average, 851 OPS, 19 homers and 47 stolen bases in 50 chances this season for the American League East champion Rays.

He also has fantastic range in the outfield and rightfully collected his first Gold Glove this season.

Angels veteran Torii Hunter shared his honest thoughts about the Crawford idea with Shaikin:

“The Yankees are not going to go after him,” Hunter said. “They’ve got Cliff Lee. Boston might be the team.  “I think Boston and the Angels, that will be the bidding war.”

Hunter’s right.  The Red Sox are going to be serious bidders, and other teams will be at least making offers in what is likely to be a long and drawn-out negotiation process .  HBT’s Matthew Pouliot rated him as the No. 2 free agent on the market this winter.

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.