There will come a time when Albert Pujols getting the start at third base will no longer be newsworthy. To be honest, it probably came the last time he started at third base. But hey, it’s almost 5, I’ve been up since 4AM, I’m getting punchy and posting about this seems better than trying to get worked up about something.
So, Pujols at third against the Astros. This will be his third start and fourth overall appearance there. So far he hasn’t done himself or his team any harm. But of greater interest to people is that, if he keeps doing this, he’s going to give fantasy owners a midsummer bonus, inasmuch as in some fantasy leagues like Yahoo!’s, he’ll have third base eligibility with two more starts or six more spot appearances. Then you can just trot him out over there all willy nilly.
All of which explains my vague distaste for fantasy baseball and, in this instance, real baseball. Because no matter how he does over there, having Albert Pujols as your third baseman at this stage of his career seems to violate the laws of man and God. But I guess that’s my problem, not Pujols’, Tony La Russa’s or that guy in your fantasy league who is going to get all giddy when he can use Pujols at third.
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.