I saw the “Feliz won’t be saved for saves” headline on ESPNDallas.com and thought maybe Rangers manager Ron Washington had finally figured out how to get value out of closer Neftali Feliz in non-save situations after repeatedly leaving him in the bullpen in key non-save moments throughout the playoffs.
Turns out, it’s just more of the same with a clever-looking headline, as Randy Jennings reports that Washington has now taken to using Feliz to close out four-run leads.
As the manager explained: “I’m trying to win a game. … I’m going to get the ball to him and let’s go home.”
Washington has yet to show that he’ll find more work for Feliz by bringing him into, say, a tie game or game in which the Rangers trail by one run–you know, the crucial non-save situations that can decide a game–but is now using him in even lower-leverage spots. I’m sure the Rangers’ winning percentage with a four-run lead in the ninth inning will skyrocket from 99.4 percent to 99.6 percent, though.
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.