Sadly, weather continues to play a factor in the baseball season, postponing games left and right because of rain and snow. The season charges on nonetheless, as we head toward the end of April. Let’s take a look at some of the top headlines of the past week.
The First No-No
Saturday night, while most of us were sleeping, Oakland’s Sean Manaea threw the first no-hitter of the 2018 season. Unbeknownst to most people, the 26-year old southpaw has been masterful all season, entering Saturday with a 1.63 ERA. However, it was shocking to see him so dominant against a Red Sox team that had won eight straight games, averaging 7.5 runs per game during that span. Over nine innings, Manaea walked two and struck out 10. He also out-dueled Red Sox ace Chris Sale, which was just the cherry on top of his no-hitter sundae.
Joey Bats Get A Chance
No one wanted him during the winter, but Jose Bautista is finally getting a chance, signing with the Atlanta Braves on a minor league deal. The most surprising part may be that the Braves intend to make the six-time all-star a third baseman, a position he played early in his career. Obviously, Bautista will need some time to get some at-bats under his belt and prove that he can still be a productive hitter, not to mention handle the hot corner. However, Atlanta’s situation at third base is unsettled, so there’s every chance the Braves will call him up at some point and see what he can bring to the table.
The Cincinnati Reds only waited 18 games until making Bryan Price the first managerial casualty of the 2018 season. Of course, no one will blame the Reds for making a move after the club started the season 3-15 under Price. No one was picking the Reds to win the World Series, but on paper, they appeared ready to take a step forward after last year’s 68-win campaign. That didn’t look to be the case early in the year, so the Reds moved on from Price, naming seasoned manager Jim Riggleman the interim skipper.
Tijuan and Tommy
The Diamondbacks have been impressive early on, but they were dealt their first bit of adversity this week with the loss of Tijuan Walker to Tommy John surgery. Initially, the Diamondbacks weren’t even going to send Walker for an MRI after he complained of forearm pain, which is usually a precursor to Tommy John. In any event, Arizona now has an empty spot in its rotation to fill. The good news is the team’s four other starters are all outstanding, despite underwhelming performances from Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray early in the year. However, the Diamondbacks figure to feel the loss of Walker as we get deeper into the season.
Get to the Pen
In a move few could have ever foreseen happening a few years ago, the Mets have dispatched Matt Harvey to the bullpen. The Mets need to make room for Jason Vargas, who will soon return from the DL, and Harvey is the guy who has to make way. In four starts this season, Harvey owns an ERA of 6.00, and that includes throwing five shutout innings in his first start of the season. Mets manager Mickey Calloway expressed optimism that Harvey will help the team coming out of the bullpen and perhaps get himself straightened out. But only time will tell if Harvey will be able to make a successful transition from starter to reliever.
L.A. Role Reversal
Over the past week, the two Los Angeles teams appear to have switched identities. The Angels started out as one of the best teams in baseball, but they have now lost four of their last five games, including a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox in which they were out-scored 27-3 over the course of three games. The Halos have now lost their grip on first place in the AL West, with the red-hot Astros pass them. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have won five of their last six games, perhaps finally starting to turn things around after a poor start. Of course, the Dodgers are still a game under .500 with plenty of work to do to reach the top of the NL West.