Xander Bogaerts is not a failure

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Last Friday, Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote that the truth is the Red Sox may not be very good. Starting Monday they won four in a row, so take that all for what it’s worth.

But he also had individual criticism for the Red Sox’ infield. Particularly the left side, which he characterized as “the Bogaerts-Middlebrooks left-side failure.”

Since then, Bogaerts has gone 11 for 30 (.367) with three doubles, three walks, three RBI and six runs scored. On the year he is now hitting .296/.388/.425. He also is 21-years-old. One far more respected Boston columnist weighed in on all of this:

Decide for yourself if Shaughnessy doesn’t actually understand how good Bogaerts is or if, alternatively, he’s merely playing the age-old game of stirring the pot and looking to make scapegoats. Whichever you decide, though, it doesn’t change the fact that he is about as wrong as can be about one of the most exciting and promising players in all of baseball.

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.