We knew that the Red Sox were planning to send a scout to watch right-hander Javier Vazquez pitch in the Puerto Rican Winter League last night, but they weren’t alone.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Rays, Nationals and Royals were also in attendance. For what it’s worth, the box score indicates that Vazquez pitched well, giving up just three hits over six shutout innings while striking out five and walking none. Rosenthal hears that he was clocked at 93 mph.
Vazquez, 36, had a 3.69 ERA and 162/50 K/BB ratio over 192 2/3 innings with the Marlins during his last stint in the majors in 2011. Given the crazy money being thrown around to starters this winter, he shouldn’t have a problem getting a guaranteed major league deal if he wants to return. Word is that he may not make a final decision until after he pitches for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but he has a preference to pitch on the East Coast.
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.