Another week is in the books, and another great week of baseball it was. This weekend featured the first no-hitter of the MLB season, a pitching matchup for the ages and a new home run leader in the MLB clubhouse. The weekend also brought warm weather which means hot bats which means happy fans. We start in the city of Los Angeles, where two of the best pitchers to ever grace the mound faced off in what was one of the most anticipated matchups the game has ever seen.
Clayton Kershaw. Max Scherzer. The two most dominant pitchers in the game. They have combined to win 4 of the last 5 NL Cy Young awards and one of them will most likely win the award this year. When it was said that the two were going to face off on Friday, the game became sold out in a matter of seconds. As thousands watched in the park and millions more watched at home, the two put on a show and did not disappoint. A lot of times when two great pitchers are opposing each other, the game will lack action and unless you are addicted to the game of baseball, it can become boring to watch, This was not the case however. The Nationals jumped on Kershaw early and scored a run after only 3 pitches. Giving Max Scherzer a one run lead is like giving him a 10 run cushion as the dude is as shut down as it gets. He cruised as the night went on, mowing down the Dodger hitters and making them look like JV players. Scherzer finished the night with 6.0 IP, 9 SO to go along with a big fat W. Although Kershaw lost the battle, he did not pitch poorly, as he finished the night 7 IP, allowing 4 earned runs. These are the type of matchups that make the game so fun. The type of matchup that you would pay top dollar to see and drop everything you are doing just to catch a glance. These two do not face off again for a long time but on Friday night we got to witness two of the greats go at it, and that is truly something special.
We need more Mike Trout in our life. Coming into the weekend, Bryce Harper led all of baseball in HR with 8 and it seemed like he would be the leader throughout the season. Than a man from New Jersey named Mike Trout decided he had other plans. Trout had an absolutely monstrous weekend; that included his 7th, 8th and major league leading 9th home runs on the season. There is no question that Mike Trout is the best player in the major leagues, but it is starting to become unfair how good he is. Trout is currently batting .306, has driven in 17 runs and has hit 9 home runs. If he continues to play at the pace he is playing at, Trout would finish the year with 93 extra base hits, 185 hits, 131 runs scored and 62 homers. That is just insane. We are truly witnessing greatness and when it’s time to hang up the cleats for #27 who knows, maybe he will go down as the best to ever step on a diamond.
The biggest story of the weekend came on Saturday night from Oakland, California where 26 year-old Sean Manaea threw a no-hitter against the best team in baseball, the Boston Red Sox. Entering the game, the Sox were 17-2, had some of the hottest bats known to man, and were showing no signs of slowing down. Sean Manaea had different plans however. The southpaw from Indiana had his fastball humming early and you could tell around the 3rd inning that he was locked and loaded. In the top of the 5th, Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon skied a ball into the shallow outfield. It was going to be a tough play and unless you were Carlos Correa or Fransisco Lindor, it would be anything but routine. Athletic’s shortstop Marcus Semien ranged back, lunged out and just missed the ball as it hit of his glove, letting Leon reach safely at first. The no hit bid was over….or so we thought. In what would become a very controversial call, Semien’s play was deemed an error and Manaea’s no hitter was still in tact. As the game began to mature, Manaea’s confidence began to grow. He used his off speed stuff like it was his best friend and for all intensive purposes it was. Before you could blink the top of the 8th inning was over and Manaea was just 3 outs away from pitching not only his first ever complete game, but a no hitter to go along with it. In the 9th, Manaea knew he was going to have to face the top of the Red Sox order, a top of the order that had been so dangerous thus far in the early season. As he managed his way through the dangerous Mookie Betts, he found himself just one out away. On a 2-0 pitch, with Hanley Ramirez batting, Manaea forced Ramirez to ground a ball sharply to short, where it would be thrown to second, and the no hitter was complete. He had done it. 10 strikeouts later and a whole bunch of nerves lifted, he had done it. On a Saturday night in Oakland that started as average, turned into a night that we as baseball fans will never forget and these are one of the many reasons that make baseball the best sport in the world.