Last week I linked to a study by Vanderbilt University researchers which concluded that player fatigue leads to poor decision making on their part as the season wears on. Swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone and whatnot. The research goes further to suggest that baseball’s crackdown on stimulants exacerbated this.
Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus, however, is not so impressed:
… while a sleepy player might suffer from impaired performance, it’s a stretch to say that the league as a whole has worse plate discipline due to fatigue later in the season, and an even greater stretch to suggest that the amphetamine ban has produced a marked uptick in player fatigue. Those things might be true, but this study hasn’t shown them to be true.
Ben digs in to the plate discipline numbers and the data before and after the stimulant crackdown and comes away unconvinced by the study’s conclusions.
Certainly worth your time if this stuff interests you.
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.