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One sportswriter’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Hall of Fame ballot

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The 2017 Hall of Fame ballot has no shortage of deserving inductees. Among those still on the ballot are Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Trevor Hoffman, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent, Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner, and Sammy Sosa. New to the ballot are Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Jorge Posada, Magglio Ordonez, Derrek Lee, Tim Wakefield, Edgar Renteria, Melvin Mora, Carlos Guillen, Casey Blake, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez, Arthur Rhodes, and Matt Stairs.

Even if one is a “small Hall” kind of person, one would have a very difficult time filling out the ballot without the maximum 10 players. One sportswriter, however, found it rather simple. Steven Marcus of Newsday voted for only two players: Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.

No Jeff Bagwell, no Tim Raines, no Edgar Martinez, no Ivan Rodriguez, not even a Manny Ramirez. By JAWS, Jay Jaffe’s Hall of Fame metric, Guerrero and Hoffman rank 12th and 26th of the 34 eligible players, respectively. Marcus having only two players on his ballot is criminal enough, but to have his best player rank 12th by this metric is also abominable.

Marcus didn’t offer much in the way of justification in his column and he hasn’t tweeted about it, either.

One wonders if the Baseball Writers Association of America give those voting privileges to someone who will appreciate it more.

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.