I’m not calling any race yet because it feels like every time I call a race or, at the very least, count a team out, they go on some run and make me look dumb. The 2010 Giants were the best/worst ever in this regard. I actually had to wear a Giants shirt and cap on an HBT Daily video as a monument to my wrongness.
But even if I won’t make definitive calls like that, I will lean hard on the notion that a given team is in a Goose-level flatspin. The Phillies sorta feel that way to me now. Could they surprise? Sure. I just don’t see what could change to make that happen.
Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com gives me even greater reason to doubt today, noting that no team with a run differential as bad as the Phillies’ at this point (-58) has ever made the playoffs.
Seven and a half games isn’t an insurmountable hill to climb. But the bones of this team have caused it to be outscored by an awful lot, and it’s hard to see how that dynamic changes any time soon.
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.