Three weeks into the MLB season, and we’ve already got our first no-hitter. And it came against an unlikely source. The Oakland Athletics are off to a solid start to the season, sitting at 12-11 and just 3.5 games back of the Astros in the American League West division standings. However, heading into this past weekend’s series against the Boston Red Sox, you would have been forgiven if you believed that Boston would dominate the A’s. The Red Sox had burst out of the gates to a 16-2 record prior to the series, and there wasn’t much that could seemingly slow down their bats.
Then, in stepped A’s lefty Sean Manaea. The 26-year-old had a solid debut season in 2016 before falling off a bit during last year’s campaign. To begin this season, Manaea was dominant, giving up just 5 earned runs through 27.2 innings pitched, while striking out 20 batters and giving up just four walks. In his Saturday start against Boston, he did even better, striking out 10 with just two walks and not allowing a hit through nine innings. It was his first career no-hitter and the first for the A’s since Dallas Braden threw a perfect game on Mother’s Day of 2010.
There was some controversy in the game, as Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi appeared to record a hit in the sixth inning, but he was ruled to have run out of the base path after instant replay. Manaea now owns a 1.23 ERA, which ranks fifth in the league so far this season.
The leader in that category is San Francisco Giants righty Johnny Cueto, who is experiencing a bounce-back season. Through four starts, Cueto has allowed just one earned run in 26 innings of work, while striking out 23 batters. In his Sunday start against the Angels, Cueto allowed just two hits and struck out seven, earning his second win of the season. He looks well on his way to returning back to his career form after struggling through last season, when he posted his highest ERA since his first year in the majors.
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