Red Sox

Buchholz feels fine after record pitch count

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Buchholz feels fine after record pitch count

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON A day after throwing more pitches in a game than hes ever thrown, 127, Clay Buchholz said he felt no differently than he would have after any other start.

Same stiffness, same soreness, he said. Usually the day after I can go out there and play catch and my body feels a little better. But, yeah, everything feels the same as it usually does.

Buchholz went seven scoreless innings Wednesday against the Tigers, lowering his ERA to 3.42, giving up four hits and a walk. He matched his season high in innings and strikeouts, and he allowed a season low one walk. Although he did not get a decision in the game, his outing helped the Red Sox beat the Tigers, 1-0, on a miserably rainy night at Fenway Park.

His pitch count was 17 more than his previous high of 110 in his previous start, a win in Yankee Stadium on May 13.

I dont think theres really a huge difference if youre not tired, if your legs are still underneath, he said. I feel like 100 to 130 pitches isnt really anything if youre able to stay in your delivery and not come out of it and compensate for something with your legs being tired or just being tired in general. Nah, but I felt, even that last inning a couple of pitches got away, but I still felt pretty good.

Buchholzs last three starts have been somewhat unusual. On May 7 against the Twins, he threw just 61 pitches over five innings but that included a rain delay of two hours and seven minutes before the third inning. Buchholz spent time during the delay throwing in the batting cage behind the Red Sox dugout. In his May 13 start in Yankee Stadium, Buchholz set then season highs in innings, with seven, pitches (110), and strikeouts (seven). In total, though, he has thrown 298 pitches in the three outings, which is in line with what pitching coach Curt Young wants to see from his starters.

Well, hes got such a good routine between, and just from talking with him today, hes totally normally, Young said. So, what he does in between is important. When you take a guy high in one start youre definitely going to keep an eye on him in the next start. So Ive talked about the three-start cycle, trying to keep it around 330 pitches, and thatll be the case coming up in his game on Monday.

Buchholz appeared to cruise through his outing Wednesday against the Tigers despite throwing 26 pitchers in a 1-2-3 first inning. He opened the game by striking out his first two-batters, before an 11-pitch Brennan Boesch at-bat ended in flyout to Jacoby Ellsbury in center field.

He entered the seventh inning having thrown 100 pitches. Facing seven batters, he threw 127 pitches. He also hit two batters in the inning, his career high for HBPs in a game. For Young, that was Buchholzs inning to finish.

The only real high pitch count inning was the first where he did a 1-2-3 inning on 26 pitches I think, Young said. Every other one was around that 15 average. You go out for the seventh inning at 100 pitches. I think our guys are possessed. When they start an inning, theyre going to finish the inning and the game called for him to finish that inning right there. I think him and manager Terry Francona might have had a little battle on the mound if he was going to take him out so you love that attitude, and definitely I was keeping an eye on the pitches or it will be something in his next start.

And, with two starters placed on the disabled list this week John Lackey on Monday and Daisuke Matsuzaka Tuesday it helps Youngs relievers for his starters
to go deep into games, not only for that particular game but also for those following.

Oh, yeah, anytime you can get a string of starters pitching deep in games its a great thing, Young said. We really went through it when our guys went through two weeks' worth of that and the bullpen was getting nowhere. And then they went through a period of a week where we were wearing them out. So it really does, it goes in cycles that way. But any time you can get a starter thats consistent the way Clay has been doing its great for a team.

The good cycles usually involve the starters pitching deep. So were always talking about them trying to be efficient as they can and pitch selection has so much to do with that. Changeup is a great pitch to get in an early easy out, or a well-located fastball. So you always push that but sometimes the other team doesnt always cooperate. Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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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