It’s been hours since we posted something about Bobby Valentine. Was getting the shakes. Thank goodness for Patrick Mooney at CSNChicago.com, who reminds us that the guy managing the Cubs could have very easily been managing the Red Sox:
Sveum got a second interview with the Red Sox and appeared to be a favorite before the Cubs closed the deal last November and the Boston brass went in a totally different direction.
Judging only by Sveum’s flat tone, never-defensive mannerisms and easy-going confidence – which are the same almost every day – you would have trouble telling whether he’s managing a team that’s headed toward 100 wins or 100 losses.
Well, we must note, it is 100 losses and they will do far worse than the Red Sox this year. No arguing that point at all. One wonders, though, if a guy with a connection to that clubhouse and a different sort of temperament like Sveum has would have stood a better chance than Valentine stood. Which was basically zero.
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.