Red Sox

April 9, 2011: Yankees 9, Red Sox 4

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April 9, 2011: Yankees 9, Red Sox 4

By ArtMartone
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- TheRed Sox' Era of Good Feeling lasted a little less than 24hours.

Instead of being able to build on theirOpening Day win over the Yankees, the Sox on Saturday got yet anotherhorrific performance from their starting pitcher -- Clay Buchholz(right) wasthe culprit this time -- along with less-than-airtight relief fromFelix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves. In addition, they returned to theirwasteful ways at the plate (1-for-15 with runners in scoring position).

The result? A 9-4 loss that dropped their recordfor the season to 1-7.

As bad asthe hitting numbers may seem, it was Buchholz who dug the hole. Heallowed 11 baserunners (eight hits, three walks) in 3 23 innings, andleft the game trailing 5-2.

The horse had long sinceleft the barn, but TimWakefield worked two perfect innings at the end, and -- consideringBoston's pitching woes so far -- raised questions as to whether or nothis role will be enhanced going forward.

Player of the Game: RussellMartin

Rebuffed by Cliff Lee and never in the hunt for CarlCrawford, the Yankees' signing of the ex-Dodger star was regarded asone of their consolation prizes (Rafael Soriano was the other) in lastwinter's free-agent market. But he was no consolation to the Red SoxSaturday, as he had the second two-homer game of his career and tiedhis career high with four RBI.

His first homer, inthe third inning, was a three-run shot off Clay Buchholz that increasedthe Yankee lead from 2-1 to 5-1. And he provided the baseballequivalent of spiking the ball in the end zone with a solo blast offAlfredo Aceves in the seventh for the game's final run.

Honorable Mention:
DustinPedroia

Hard to find much honor in aloss as lopsided as Saturday's, but Pedroia continues to sparkle inwhat has been a dim Red Sox season to this point. He cracked threedoubles Saturday (lifting his average to .355), scored a run, drove intwo, and turned in defensive gems like the one at left on MarkTeixeira's sixth-inning grounder.

Pedroia got hisfirst double leading off the third and came around to score ongroundouts by Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis, cutting the Yankees'lead to 2-1. In the next inning, he ripped a two-out, two-run doubleoff the center-field wall -- the Sox' only hit with runners in scoringposition all afternoon -- that again brought Boston to within one run,this time at 5-4. The Sox bullpen couldn't hold it there, so by thetime Pedroia got his next double, leading off the ninth, the outcomehad long since been decided. But nothing bad that happened Saturdaycould be blamed on him.

The Goat: ClayBuchholz

Red Sox starters have thrown a grand total of 21 scorelessinnings in eight games so far this season -- 9 by Jon Lester, 5 byBuchholz, 3 each by Josh Beckett and Daisuke Masuzaka, and 1 by JohnLackey -- and Buchholz continued that disturbing trend Saturday. (Statcourtesy of Bill Chuck of billy-ball.com.)

He held the Yankees scoreless in order in thefirst, thanks in large part to a laser throw by Jarrod Saltalamacchiathat nailed Derek Jeter on a steal attempt. But he gave up two runs inthe second on an RBI grounder to Nick Swisher and run-scoring double byEric Chavez. Then, after the Sox had cut the Yankees' lead to 2-1, hestarted the fourth by walking Curtis Granderson, allowing anotherdouble to Chavez and surrendering the first of Russell Martin's twohome runs, making it 5-1.

Buchholz' final pitchingline: 3 23 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 3 walks, 2 strikeoutsand 92 pitches thrown.

The Turning Point

Despite their generalinability to get hits with men in scoring position, the Red Sox werehanging with the Yankees through three innings. When the Yanks wentahead, 2-0, they cut it to 2-1. When New York made it 5-1, they cameback and cut it 5-4.

But after Nick Swisher led off the top of the fourth with asingle, Curtis Grandersonwrapped a two-run homer around Pesky's Pole (left), putting the Yanksright back in front by three at 7-4. And that seemed totake the wind out of Boston's sails. The Sox didn't score another runthe rest of the way, and the Yankees got solo home runs from RobinsonCano in the sixth and Russell Martin in the seventh for the 9-4 final.

Stat of the Day: 385

That's how many homeruns the Red Sox are on pace to allow this year. (Stat courtesy of BillChuck of billy-ball.com.)

Impossible,you say? Do the math. They've allowed 19 in 8 games, a pace of 2.375homers per game. Multiply by 162, and you get 385. (Okay, okay, 384.75.Close enough.)

(The team record for most homerssurrendered in a year, incidentally, is 190, set in the juiced-ballseason of 1987.)

It would make scenes like the oneat right from yesterday -- fans in the Monster Seats reacting to a homerun -- pretty familiar.

Quote of Note

"Id probably have to say the RedSox. I would like towin a World Series in the National League, so the Phillies are inthere, too. But for the time Im going to be playing, I think Boston ismore suitable so that I can retire with the Boston Red Sox and go tothe Hall of Fame with the same hat."

-- Pedro Martinez, tellingthe New York Times he'd like to come back and pitch for a contender in2011. He says he'll be ready in "a month, amonth-and-a-half," and that the Red Sox are his firstchoice.

And, you know, the notion isn't asridiculous as it might have seemed eight gamesago.

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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