Something I didn’t notice but reader nbjays did and mentioned it in the ATH comments: there were an awful lot of sweeps this past weekend. Over half of the series played ended in sweeps, in fact. To wit:
- The Blue Jays swept the Red Sox;
- The A’s swept the Yankees;
- The Tigers swept the White Sox;
- The Dodgers swept the Mets;
- The Reds swept the Brewers;
- The Pirates swept the Marlins;
- The Cardinals swept the Cubs; and
- The Diamondbacks swept the Astros
Quick gut-based analysis: the Red Sox remain schizo, and will probably now win four of five. The A’s will get a lot of “they’re for real” talk that I suspect will only last a week or so. The Tigers-White Sox series will be thought of as a turning point. The Mets and Brewers will mark this past weekend as when things unofficially ended for them. The Cubs and Astros, well, they stunk already, so it’s not really narrative-conducive for either the winners or the losers.
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.