Edward Mujica is getting a break from the closer role

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Here’s something you don’t want to hear if you are a Cardinals fan. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals closer Edward Mujica admitted yesterday that fatigue has caused him to alter his mechanics.

“My body feels like a little bit tired, and my release point is getting a little bit up,” Mujica said. “My thinking in my mind I’ve set it to get to the playoffs. One more month. Right now, I don’t want to think about (fatigue). Let’s finish it off, these nine games, and then if we make the playoffs think about the playoffs.”

Mujica has been a revelation out of the closer role for most of the season, posting a 1.73 ERA through the end of August, but he has allowed seven runs on 15 hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings this month. He spotted the faulty mechanics during a video session yesterday, but it didn’t make an immediate impact, as he was yanked in the middle of a save chance against the Brewers. John Axford ended up bailing him out while the Cardinals won in 10 innings.

Mujica missed some time in August due to muscle tightness in his neck/back area and received anti-inflammatory medication, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny insists that he’s healthy right now. Still, it’s clear that something isn’t right.

With a division to wrap up and the postseason rapidly approaching, this could be the time to give Trevor Rosenthal a shot in the ninth inning. The 23-year-old fireballer has a 2.73 ERA and 103/20 K/BB ratio over 72 1/3 innings this season. He ranks fourth among relievers (min. 60 IP) with 12.82 K/9.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Mujica has been removed from the closer role for the next few days and perhaps longer.

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.