Take all of this with a boulder-sized grain of salt, but keep in mind a Boston Globe report from only a few days ago stating that the Cubs’ ownership had officially asked permission of the Red Sox to speak with their current general manager, Theo Epstein.
According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, a “life-long Cubs fan” named Noah Pinzur is claiming that he spotted and conversed with Epstein on Saturday afternoon at a Starbucks in Lakeview, just a handful of blocks south of Wrigley Field.
Again, none of this has been confirmed in any way, but here’s how that alleged encounter played out:
“Excuse me,” Pinzur asked. “Are you Theo Epstein?”
“No,” replied Epstein (or his lookalike). “I get that a lot.”
After a brief pause, the real or fake Epstein added: “Who is Theo Epstein?”
Pinzur replied: “He’s the guy who may become general manager of the Cubs, or at least we hope.”
“Once he had to ask me who ‘Theo Epstein’ was, I knew it was him,” Pinzur then told the Tribune. “It was clearly him being driven in the direction of Wrigley Field. “It was Theo all right. I’m 99.9 percent sure.”
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.