Jordan Zimmermann may skip All-Star game because of neck injury

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Jordan Zimmermann finished his first half yesterday with 6.1 innings of two-run ball against the Phillies and heads into the All-Star break at 12-4 with a 2.58 ERA. However, the Nationals right-hander may decide to skip his first All-Star game because of a lingering neck injury.

Here’s what Zimmermann told Bill Ladson of MLB.com:

It’s a little tight. I’ve been dealing with that for a while now. But I got it loosened up. It’s good enough out there to go and pitch. … I’m not sure what I’m going to do. We’ll see how the next few days go and go from there. I would rather be healthy for the second half than pitch [in the All-Star game]. I would like to pitch in it. But I’m not going to go out there and pitch an inning, and I have to battle [with the injury] the whole second half.

That sounds like a perfectly reasonable approach to the situation for Zimmermann, who’s on pace for around 235 innings after throwing a career-high 195 last year. Ladson notes that the right-hander isn’t even sure what’s causing the neck problems, which seems like something that should worry the Nationals.

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.