Asdrubal Cabrera breaks a home run record

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Not the home run record, because that probably would have gotten some more hype.  But it is a record nonetheless.  By hitting No. 24 today, Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera broke the single-season record for homers by a Venezuelan shortstop.

OK, yeah, Babe Ruth wasn’t eligible for this one.

Alex Gonzalez had held the record, hitting 23 in 2004 with the Marlins and then matching that total with the Blue Jays and Braves last year.  Carlos Guillen has the next three biggest seasons: he had 21 homers while primarily playing shortstop in 2007, 20 in 2004 and 19 in 2006.  And then there are a couple of more Gonzalez seasons before one gets to Dave Concepcion’s career-high 16 homers in 1979.

So, obviously, while Venezuela has produced some great shortstops, including Luis Aparicio and Omar Vizquel, it hasn’t produced a whole lot of power-hitting shortstops.

Cabrera, who made his first All-Star team this year, is hitting .274 and has 88 RBI.  His 24 homers this season are six more than he had in 1,415 major league at-bats from 2007-10.

Sean Manaea thought he was throwing a one hitter

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Tossing a no-hitter doesn’t just require physical excellence; it’s a mental feat, too. Which is why it may have helped that Athletics hurler Sean Manaea didn’t realize his no-hitter was intact until the eighth inning of Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Red Sox.

While the first few innings passed uneventfully, Sandy Leon managed to reach base in the fifth inning after skying a ball to shallow center field. It wasn’t a clean hit, of course — shortstop Marcus Semien dropped the ball on the catch and was promptly charged with an error to preserve Manaea’s no-hit bid.

That was news to Manaea, who told reporters that he didn’t realize he still had a no-hitter going until he saw the scoreboard in the eighth inning. “Until the eighth, I thought it just like was a one-hitter,” he said. “I looked up in the eighth and saw there were still zeros and was like, whoa, weird.” The delay of that realization may have calmed his nerves as he continued to blank the best team in baseball, eventually capping his 108-pitch, 10-strikeout effort in the ninth.

A few fun facts about the feat:

  • Manaea’s no-hitter was the 12th of its kind in franchise history, dating back to Weldon Henley’s no-no against the St. Louis Browns in 1905.
  • The most recent pitcher to do so for the A’s was fellow left-hander Dallas Braden, who completed the club’s second-ever perfect game against the Rays in 2010. Surprisingly, Manaea managed to make even more efficient use of his pitch count than Braden did during his perfecto; he fired just 108 pitches against the Red Sox, a hair under the 109 pitches used by Braden against the Rays.
  • Manaea himself, however, is just the seventh Athletics pitcher (and third lefty) to toss a no-hitter. Legendary southpaw Vida Blue pitched two no-nos for the team, including a combined no-hitter that also featured Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers against the 1975 California Angels.
  • Until Saturday, the Red Sox had the second-longest streak without being no-hit in the majors, at 3,987 games… a record that was only eclipsed by the A’s own streak.
  • With a 17-2 record and .895 winning percentage, the Red Sox were the most successful team to be no-hit in major-league history. Prior to Saturday’s loss, they averaged 6.4 runs per game and had yet to be shut out by any team in 2018.
  • Since 1908, 46 no-hitters have been pitched against AL East teams: four against the Blue Jays, five against the Rays, eight against the Yankees, 13 against the Red Sox and 16 against the Orioles. Mariners lefty Chris Bosio was the last pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox, a feat he accomplished almost exactly 25 years ago on April 22, 1993.