Ron Washington and Derek Holland provided two of my favorite moments from last night’s game.
The first came when Washington took Holland by the shoulders and gave him a dugout pep talk moments before taking the mound in the first inning, trying to motivate the young left-hander who’d struggled in his previous two starts.
Holland shared some of the pep talk details with Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas:
The big thing was he was talking to me, motivating me more than anything. He said, “I know what your game plan is and you’re going to go in to hitters. Just don’t be hitting anybody.” He was telling me to stay in control, be relaxed and I’d be fine.
Injured reliever Darren O’Day noted afterward that Washington “does that a lot with Holland” and last night it certainly worked, as the second caught-on-camera moment came when the manager went out to the mound in the ninth inning to chat with Holland before eventually deciding to end his bid for a complete-game shutout in favor of Neftali Feliz.
Holland recapped that chat as well:
He’s like, “Nope, you ain’t going out there son.” I said, “Come on, Wash. You got to let me go. I can get this. I’m going to try to get a double play and do everything I can.” He said, “Nope, you ain’t getting out there. Just watch the crowd reaction when you get out of here, son.” I said, “All right, I’ll see you later Wash. Thanks.”
That’s a lot of “son” mentions in a relatively short chat and if Holland really ended things with “I’ll see you later Wash” he’s my new favorite player.
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.