On the silence from Bobby Valentine

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Buster Olney makes the following observation about the post-firing Bobby Valentine:

Rival officials believe that Bobby Valentine’s relatively muted response to his firing may be tied to some kind of financial incentive, which is not uncommon in the sport. In other words, people are sometimes paid to not criticize.

Yes, non-disparagement clauses are common. Of course, given that Valentine is under contract through next year already, the Sox would have had to give him something else in exchange for a gag order. Unless of course the non-disparagement clause was in his original deal in the first place. Or maybe Valentine is just taking the high road here.

And, actually, given how most of the disparagement surrounding Boston managers in the past couple of years has been about them and from anonymous front office sources, one hopes that Valentine gets a little financial kicker whenever the inevitable Boston Globe story comes out this fall airing all of the dirty laundry from the 2012 season in a manner that reflects poorly on everyone except ownership.

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.