The Angels led the AL in ERA last year, while finishing 10th in runs scored, yet manager Mike Scioscia would prefer a pitcher to a hitter as the team’s big addition this winter.
“We need to get stronger pitching,” Scioscia said. “I know you look at Weav and Haren and Santana and it sounds like you’re getting greedy. But you need five guys going out there during the season to give you a chance to win, and right now we might have an incredible playoff rotation, but you need a full rotation to give yourself that opportunity to get into the playoffs.”
C.J. Wilson heads the team’s list. As things stand now, the Angels have only journeyman Jerome Williams, rookie Garrett Richards and swingman Trevor Bell behind Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in the rotation. So, they do need one more quality arm there. Whether they need it more than a bopper for the middle of the lineup is questionable, but there’s an argument to be made.
The Angels could also consider adding a late-inning reliever. Jordan Walden was an All-Star as a rookie and seems poised for a nice run as the team’s closer, but since there aren’t any top-flight setup men to invest in, the Angels could target Ryan Madson with the idea of moving Walden into an eighth-inning role.
Aramis Ramirez is viewed as the Angels’ top target when it comes to offense, but they’ll face competition from the Phillies and Brewers there.
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.