It just goes to show. No matter how much you know about baseball, you know nothing about baseball. On Saturday night, the 9-11 Oakland A's hosted the 17-2 Boston Red Sox. Boston has one of the best lineups in the game, and had their ace lefty Chris Sale on the mound. The A's, who saw a modest four-game winning streak ended by the Red Sox the night before, had a kid with some pretty good stuff as their starting pitcher. The kid wouldn't allow a hit.
The kid's name is Sean Manaea (muh-NYE-uh). The 6-foot-5, 245 pound southpaw is from Valparaiso, Indiana. Yahoo! Mistakenly says he was a 100th round draft choice in 2013, but was actually taken in the tenth round by the Kansas City Royals, and ended up in Oakland in a trade for infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist. He made his major league debut in 2016, and the no-hitter comes in his 59th career start. The announced crowd of 25,746 might of thought about a no-hitter before the game, but if they did, they were thinking Sale would be the one that would throw it.
It seems like with all no-hitters (there was only one in the big leagues last year), there is one play that will be remembered that preserved it. Usually, it's a stellar defensive play, but this was a controversial one. With two outs in the sixth inning, Andrew Benintendi hit a little dribbler up the first base line. A's first baseman Matt Olson tried to tag Benintendi going by, but missed, and the play was ruled a base hit. It was then determined, after all four umpires huddled and talked about it, that Benintendi went out of the baseline, and was ruled out. That was the closest thing Boston got to a base hit that night.
The mighty Red Sox, who lost Opening Day at Tampa Bay, and once to Yankees on a cold night at Fenway, not only suffered just their third loss of the season, but were held hitless. It was the twelfth no-hitter in Oakland A's history, and the first since Dallas Braden's perfect game on Mother's Day in 2010.
Yes it's true that anything can happen in sports, but baseball lends itself to that cliché more than any other. Slippery Rock State is never going to beat Alabama in college football. The Cleveland Browns won't beat the Super Bowl champs nine times out of ten. The Sacramento Kings are not going to win a best-of-seven against the Warriors, but the A's can no-hit the Red Sox on a Saturday night in O-town with the Red Sox ace on the hill. You just never know.
Dodgers over .500: The Los Angeles Dodgers won tonight, and after a 4-9 start, have now won seven of their last eight games, and have a winning record for the first time this season. Going into tonight's game, the club was 10-10, which is actually a game better through 20 games than last year, when the Dodgers would win a franchise-record 104 games. In the last five years when the Dodgers won the NL West all five times, they were 12-8 three times, and 9-11 twice through their first 20. Only once (2014) did they never fall under .500 in the first month, but they were never five games under .500 like they were a week ago at 4-9.
Re-Trayce your steps: It's been a vagabond year so far for outfielder Trayce Thompson. Since the Dodgers acquired him from the Chicago White Sox a couple of years ago in a three-way deal with Cincinnati, the brother of Warriors star Klay Thompson has been up and down from the majors to the minors. When he didn't make the club out of spring training, the Dodgers released him, and he was claimed on waivers by the New York Yankees. The Yankees waived him after only a couple of days, and Oakland claimed him, which meant he and his brother would play in the same town. After a couple of games with the A's, including a game at Dodger Stadium where he robbed Yasiel Puig of a home run with a spectacular catch, the A's let him go. He's now back with the Chicago White Sox, where he homered Saturday against the world champion Houston Astros.
J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!: Is it okay to jump on a bandwagon and root for a team that belongs to a city you've never been to, or ever care to visit? I like the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL playoffs, but I'm totally on board with the Winnipeg Jets. This franchise, in two incarnations (the league absorbed the club from the old WHA in the 1972, which would relocate to Phoenix in 1996, and the current version was formerly the Atlanta Thrashers, which moved to Manitoba in 2011), has never won anything, and is now in the second round. The city of 600-thousand people, centrally located miles from anywhere, has something to call their own, and watching them root for their club in a hockey-mad country has been a blast.