Red Sox

Farrell, Reed have 'professional' meeting after Sunday night's incident

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Farrell, Reed have 'professional' meeting after Sunday night's incident

BOSTON -- The Red Sox bullpen entered Monday tied with the Indians for the best ERA in the majors, 2.99. Now, to figure out how to best use it. 

Craig Kimbrel’s not going to be used in the eighth inning even in situations that scream for it, barring a change of heart.

Who will be used seems fluid.

Righty Addison Reed was acquired from the Mets to be the second reliever behind Kimbrel, to be the eighth-inning guy -- or maybe the seventh-inning stopper who could put out a fire. The high-leverage, reliable option besides the closer.

But Reed needs to get back on track first, and what happened on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium certainly didn’t help.

Reed and manager John Farrell met shortly after an awkward moment where Farrell attempted to remove Reed during an at-bat in the ninth inning of a game tied at 2-2. The manager was told by umpires he couldn't because of the rule preventing two mound visits during the same at-bat. Reed, who had just been visited by pitching coach Carl Willis, missed down in on a 1-and-0 slider with one out and the winning run on second when Farrell tried to remove him. The umpires stopped him from doing so.

On the next pitch, Reed recorded the second out with a grounder that advanced the runner to third. Out came Farrell again, this time with a legal hook. Reed could be seen cursing as Farrell walked to the mound again to bring in Kimbrel.

“Understanding,” Farrell said of how Reed handled the subsequent meeting. “In a short period of time, I’ve come to know Addison as a very direct guy. He’s honest with himself. He doesn’t complicate matters by overthinking situations. He knows that in those late-innings spots, there’s little margin for error. Recognized some of the feedback I gave him from my perspective.

"I don't know that I would need to give the contents of the meeting, but I think it was a professional, good conversation.”

Reed had just six walks in 49 innings with the Mets, and already has two in 4 1/3 with the Red Sox. He also has a hit batsmen with the Sox, which hadn’t happened since 2014.

“I don’t have a lot of history personally with him,” Farrell said. “We’ve actually gone back and looked at quite a bit of video while with the Mets, and even earlier than that. The thing about it is, he’s been such a premium strike-thrower, that’s where a few of the sliders that have been held onto a little bit late just to ensure they don’t stay in the middle of the zone, particularly [at Yankee Stadium with its short right-field porch], I think that has something to do with the finish, or with where some of those sliders finished.”

Farrell said Reed would be the eighth-inning guy Monday night, and noted that Matt Barnes was down for the game. Barnes has pitched considerably better at home than on the road, so it’s worth seeing what happens when Barnes is available again.

Barnes has 18 walks on the road compared to eight at home.

“That's something that we continually not only talk with Matt about, but clearly, it says he's comfortable on the home mound here at Fenway,” Farrell said. “That goes a long way to a guy coming out, and particularly in his case, landing a first-pitch curveball, which is part of his attack plan. As we've seen on the road, that can set the tone for the at-bats that are unfolding. But his importance to that bullpen and the role he's been in all year, the more consistent strike-throwing on the road is the biggest thing.”

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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