Matt Holliday: I’m not a dirty player

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Matt Holiday admitted to a mistake Monday after his late takeout slide knocked second baseman Marco Scutaro off his feet and forced him out of the game a couple of innings later. Still, he doesn’t think it reflects on him as a player.

“I’m not a dirty player,” Holliday replied when asked if he crossed the line. “Like I said, I wish I had started my slide a step earlier. When you’re out there in the heat of the moment, you’re trying to keep your team out of the double play. I play hard and was trying to break up a double play. That’s all it comes down to. I’m trying to break up a double play.”

Of course he was. It’s crazy to suggest that Holliday went into second base with any intent to injure. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it was a terribly reckless move, one that shouldn’t have any place on the baseball diamond.

source: Reuters

Fortunately for everyone, Scutaro ended up day-to-day with a hip injury instead of being sidelined for months with a blown out knee or a busted ankle. And fortunately for Holliday, there’s simply no precedent in MLB for punishing a player for such a slide. That’s something the league really should take a look at this winter.

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.