C.J. Wilson blames erratic inning on slippery baseballs, accuses Rangers of tomfoolery

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Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson was exceptionally wild in the third inning last night against the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington, walking one batter while hitting two others and throwing three wild pitches. When asked after the game about what caused the erratic frame, Wilson indicated to the Orange County Register that he thought his former team purposely gave him bad baseballs.

“One out of every four was rubbed, and three of every four was basically brand new. The balls were kind of squirting around. A couple balls got away. If you’re a lefty and you hit a lefty with a slider, that’s obviously not what you are trying to do right there.”

Are you going to call it a coincidence? It’s not a coincidence. Let’s be honest.

Quite a claim. While Wilson believes the Rangers were up to some funny business, he should take it up with the umpiring crew if he has an issue with the baseballs. As Todd Wilis of ESPNDallas.com points out, an umpires room attendant typically rubs down the baseballs, but it’s the duty of the crew chief to make sure that they are ready to go.

Wilson actually ended up making it through six innings last night while giving up three runs. The Rangers went on to win the game 5-3.

Sean Manaea thought he was throwing a one hitter

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Tossing a no-hitter doesn’t just require physical excellence; it’s a mental feat, too. Which is why it may have helped that Athletics hurler Sean Manaea didn’t realize his no-hitter was intact until the eighth inning of Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Red Sox.

While the first few innings passed uneventfully, Sandy Leon managed to reach base in the fifth inning after skying a ball to shallow center field. It wasn’t a clean hit, of course — shortstop Marcus Semien dropped the ball on the catch and was promptly charged with an error to preserve Manaea’s no-hit bid.

That was news to Manaea, who told reporters that he didn’t realize he still had a no-hitter going until he saw the scoreboard in the eighth inning. “Until the eighth, I thought it just like was a one-hitter,” he said. “I looked up in the eighth and saw there were still zeros and was like, whoa, weird.” The delay of that realization may have calmed his nerves as he continued to blank the best team in baseball, eventually capping his 108-pitch, 10-strikeout effort in the ninth.

A few fun facts about the feat:

  • Manaea’s no-hitter was the 12th of its kind in franchise history, dating back to Weldon Henley’s no-no against the St. Louis Browns in 1905.
  • The most recent pitcher to do so for the A’s was fellow left-hander Dallas Braden, who completed the club’s second-ever perfect game against the Rays in 2010. Surprisingly, Manaea managed to make even more efficient use of his pitch count than Braden did during his perfecto; he fired just 108 pitches against the Red Sox, a hair under the 109 pitches used by Braden against the Rays.
  • Manaea himself, however, is just the seventh Athletics pitcher (and third lefty) to toss a no-hitter. Legendary southpaw Vida Blue pitched two no-nos for the team, including a combined no-hitter that also featured Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers against the 1975 California Angels.
  • Until Saturday, the Red Sox had the second-longest streak without being no-hit in the majors, at 3,987 games… a record that was only eclipsed by the A’s own streak.
  • With a 17-2 record and .895 winning percentage, the Red Sox were the most successful team to be no-hit in major-league history. Prior to Saturday’s loss, they averaged 6.4 runs per game and had yet to be shut out by any team in 2018.
  • Since 1908, 46 no-hitters have been pitched against AL East teams: four against the Blue Jays, five against the Rays, eight against the Yankees, 13 against the Red Sox and 16 against the Orioles. Mariners lefty Chris Bosio was the last pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox, a feat he accomplished almost exactly 25 years ago on April 22, 1993.