Catching up with Brooks Conrad

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While the winter is an awful, awful thing for a baseball fan, it has served one healing purpose for Braves fans: it has allowed us to forget about Brooks Conrad’s follies in the NLDS against the Giants.  In case you wanted to relive it, however — or if you actually want to find reasons not to hate the guy — there’s a nice profile of him in the AJC today.  This part might makes you just want to die, though:

In the first inning of Game 3, Conrad bobbled a double-play ball. Then he dropped a pop-up to right field in the second.

When Posey handcuffed him in the ninth, Conrad’s wife Jessie was in the concourse at Turner Field, taking their 3-year-old son Jaxon to the bathroom. She hadn’t even seen the play. But she heard booing and her heart sank.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, please no,’” Jessie said.

The stuff that follows about his teammates and family rallying around him the night of the game is hanky material.

Spring is upon us and it’s time for renewal. And no one could use it more than Conrad.  Here’s hoping that things turn out well for him him in the new year.

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.