When the Marlins gave veteran closer Heath Bell a three-year, $27 million free agent contract this winter, most people called it an overpay. Two weeks into the 2012 regular season, it’s looking like an abomination.
Bell surrendered four runs — two earned — in the top of the ninth inning of Saturday night’s 5-4 loss to the light-hitting Astros, who were held (quite easily) to one run through the game’s first eight frames.
Last Sunday, Bell yielded four hits and two earned runs in a blown save opportunity against the Reds.
The 34-year-old right-hander is now 0-for-2 in save chances with Miami and is sporting a brutal 12.00 ERA and 3.67 WHIP in three total innings of work (four relief appearances). His fastball is averaging 92.7 mph, down from the 94.0 mph mean that he registered in his final season with the Padres.
“I feel like crap,” Bell told beat writer Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel late Saturday night. “It’s really hard to look at my teammates and them have confidence in me because I haven’t had it. I have confidence in my ability, but I haven’t shown them I can do it.”
It’s probably safe to assume that the Fish are suddenly missing Juan Carlos Oviedo.
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.