Mike Napoli “plays with a vengeance” against the Angels

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Mike Napoli’s six seasons with the Angels were filled with good production and fans clamoring for manager Mike Scioscia to play him more at catcher instead of light-hitting defensive specialist Jeff Mathis.

Napoli was traded away in January of 2011 and his two seasons since leaving the Angels have been filled with crushing his former team.

Yesterday that included Napoli going 3-for-3 with two homers off former batterymate Ervin Santana and six RBIs as the Rangers all but extinguished the Angels’ playoff chances.

He’s now played 33 total games against the Angels during the past two seasons, hitting .396 with 12 homers, 10 doubles, and an .829 slugging percentage while getting on base exactly 50 percent of the time.

Or, put another way:

Napoli for the Angels: .831 OPS
Napoli since leaving the Angels: .936 OPS
Napoli against the Angels: 1.329 OPS

When asked about Napoli’s performance, Torii Hunter said it best: “He plays with a vengeance. I hate that he’s doing it, but that’s how you really make a statement.”

Sean Manaea pitches the 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.