Red Sox

Bard on demotion: 'Obviously Im not thrilled with it'

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Bard on demotion: 'Obviously Im not thrilled with it'

PAWTUCKET -- Daniel Bard's a member of the PawSox -- for now -- and he's trying to make the best of it.

Im just an employee here but obviously Im not thrilled with it," he said to a group of reporters at McCoy Stadium, including Comcast SportsNet's Carolyn Manno, prior to Thursday night's Indianapolis-at-Pawtucket game. "If it was me making the decision it might have been different but I tried to be respectful about it, and once I get the anger and disappointment out of the way, you just got to try to make the best of it.

Bard traces his troubles -- which culminated in a ghastly performance Sunday in Toronto (6 walks and 2 hit batters in 1 23 innings) that prompted his demotion -- to his offseason switch from the bullpen to the starting rotation.

I think we just came into spring training and thought, 'Okay, how do we need to change everything I do to fit the starting role?', and I dont think we needed to change as much as I thought we did," Bard said. "We tweaked a lot of things mechanically trying to simplify me, trying to get the best windup that Im comfortable with. Probably did a little too much rather than just . . . you cant think and pitch at the same time.

So the question is: Will he remain in the rotation?

They haven't told me," he said. "They told me I'm going to be a starter down here and that it's going to start out being some shorter starts which will probably frustrate the bullpen a little bit. I told them I would do it out of the pen but they said they want me to be starting down here. I told them straight up this isn't going to take long . . . for me to figure things out. Once it clicks, it clicks."

He's also had a decrease in velocity, which he believes is another element of the mechanical problems he's having.

When your velocity goes down and your command is off, it's hard to trust your stuff," he said. "It's a matter of finding a delivery that you're comfortable with. I've been out there trying to keep in check or correct two or three things with my delivery and also get big-league hitters out. It's pretty tough to do.

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.