Joel Pineiro on struggles: “Honestly, the next thing I can do is sacrifice a live chicken”

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Another ugly outing last night puts Joel Pineiro in danger of losing his spot in the Angels’ rotation and the veteran right-hander hasn’t been able to figure out why he’s struggling, telling Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times:

This is embarrassing. I’m making the team, the staff and myself look bad. I’ve got to turn it around. If it’s going to be like this the rest of the year, it’s going to be a long year for me.

I wish I had an explanation, but I have no idea what’s going on. I’ve tried everything. I’ve seen video, worked on mechanics, thrown in the bullpen. Honestly, the next thing I can do is sacrifice a live chicken.

Pineiro had a 3.84 ERA in 23 starts last season and a 3.90 ERA through 14 starts this year, but he’s coughed up 24 runs in 13 innings during his last four starts as his ERA ballooned to 5.31. Things got so bad last night that manager Mike Scioscia yanked the right-handed Pineiro in the middle of a bases-loaded at-bat against the right-handed Michael Cuddyer, bringing in the left-handed Hisanori Takahashi … who promptly served up a grand slam on his first pitch.

That speaks to how little confidence the Angels have in Pineiro at this point, but they might have even less confidence in the potential replacements at Double-A and Triple-A being ready to step into the rotation with better results. In the meantime: Joel, leave those chickens alone.

Sean Manaea pitches 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.