Breaking news: Mike Pelfrey licks his hand a lot

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Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes that Mike Pelfrey’s “propensity for licking his hand is unrivaled in baseball.”

So naturally Costa tracked how many times Pelfrey actually licked his hand while on the mound for Tuesday’s start against the Marlins at Citi Field and the final tally was 89.

And he only pitched six innings, so Pelfrey’s pitch-to-lick ratio was 116-to-89. Pelfrey then explained himself:

It’s something I’ve always done. I think it becomes an issue where people tell me, instead of licking my hand, it looks like I’m licking my whole arm. That’s why it gets brought up. Guys have talked about, “Ahhh, you’re eating your whole hand.”

Pelfrey also explained that the added moisture helps him grip the ball and all the licking was legal, according to umpire Fieldin Culbreth, because “it is permissible for a pitcher to lick his hand as long as he wipes it on his uniform immediately afterward.”

But as rotation-mate R.A. Dickey told Costa: “Mike is a little bit over the top.”

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.