Red Sox

Base-running gaffes hurt Sox

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Base-running gaffes hurt Sox

CLEVELAND On a night when it appeared offense was going to be scarce for the Red Sox, a little aggressiveness got the better of them on the base paths.

Dustin Pedroia was cut down at home plate in the fourth inning trying to make it a bases-clearing double for Adrian Gonzalez, but the throw from Shelley Duncan was perfectly placed between Carl Crawford scoring and Pedroia getting tagged out. That actually turned out to be the closest the Sox would come to scoring over the rest of the game in a 5-2 loss to the Tribe.

The Pedroia miscue was perhaps understandable given he was only a couple of strides behind Crawford on a Gonzalez double that kicked around by the left field wall, and thats a tough call for everybody involved including third base coach Jerry Royster.

Aggressive base-running cost us a little bit, yeah. Pedroia had to slow up a little bit around second or he might have passed Carl, said Valentine. If Ellsbury had to do it over again he wouldnt have done it with no outs.

But the Ellsbury base-running gaffe was a little more glaring in the sixth. Its tough to fault a guy that had two of Bostons three hits on a slow evening, but making the first or third out of an inning on the bases especially at third base is a cardinal baseball sin. Ellsbury did just that when he attempted to stretch a double into a triple and was caught by a perfect barehanded play from Cleveland centerfielder Michael Brantley.

It then took another perfect tag by Brent Lillibridge at third base to catch Ellsbury as he was trying to hook slide around the tag, and the speedy centerfielder was out. He slammed his helmet off the ground in incredulity, but that turned out to be Bostons last, best chance to score in a tight game.

I wouldnt call it a mistake. It was more being aggressive trying to make something happen, said Ellsbury. Thats what youve got to do when youre not scoring runs. It was barehanded off the wall with a perfect tag, so Id do it all over again.

So the manager says Ellsbury wouldnt have done it if he had the play over, and the player said hes do it all over again. Such is life with the 2012 Boston Red Sox.

Its tough to argue with Ellsburys assessment of a very impatient offense right now, but if Ellsbury did it again the Red Sox would most likely lose all over again as theyve done many, many times this season.

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

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.