Hank Aaron says PED punishments need to be increased

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All respect to Hank Aaron, but his status as the guy who was eclipsed in the record book by a steroids-fueled dude doesn’t render this sentiment any more rational than when someone else says it:

“I think it’s got to be a little bit more severe as far as penalties are concerned,” Aaron said. “I think 50 games is not enough. I’d like to see 100 games really. I think the second time, they need to just ban the player from baseball.”

The penalty is already nearly a 1/3 dock in pay and play. No other sort of cheating is penalized with anything close to the current level of PED penalties. Indeed, the suspensions given to players and managers who have physically assaulted people on the baseball field have been far less historically.

Unless Aaron or other proponents of tougher PED penalties have information that everyone else is lacking, we do not have an epidemic on our hands that requires addressing. We have people violating a rule on occasion, just like people occasionally break the law. And when someone is found to have, say, robbed a convenience store or cheated on their taxes, we don’t immediately call for doubling (or more) the penalties in place.

Seriously: if someone can point me to something — anything — that suggests (a) that there is rampant, undeterred PED cheating going on now; and (b) that doubling the penalties would combat it, I’m totally on board. But absent that, this sort of thing is kind of pointless. It’s a solution in search of a problem.

Sean Manaea pitches first no-hitter of 2018

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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.