Red Sox

Bullpen cleans up Buchholz's mess in win


Bullpen cleans up Buchholz's mess in win

BALTIMORE -- Clay Buchholz had his usual one bad inning again Monday night.

Fortunately for Buchholz and the Red Sox, the bullpen did not.

After Buchholz allowed four runs in the second inning -- two on bases-loaded walks -- and ran into trouble in the sixth, Red Sox relievers took it from there.

Four pitchers combined to throw 3 23 innings of one-run ball in the Red Sox' 8-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Andrew Miller cleaned up Buchholz's mess, coming in with runners at the corners and just one out. He got a routine groundout to the right side and a flyout to center, then retired the O's in order in the seventh, too, with two strikeouts.

Miller has yet to be scored upon since coming up from Pawtucket earlier this month and has retired 23 of the 28 hitters he's faced.

"I want to prove that I can be a successful player on a good team," said Miller. "So far, things have been going great and I'm just trying to keep it going."

In the past, Miller's command has been an issue, but he's walked just one in eight innings while striking out 10.

"I think I'm getting comfortable in the role," he said. "I've watched all these guys who have done it for a while. Ultimately, I think it's just that you learn to handle these situations. With the adrenaline, you don't have a choice -- you attack right away and so far, it's been good."

Rich Hill followed Miller and gave up three straight hits for a run, but after getting Chris Davis to ground out, turned things over to Padilla.

With the potential tying run in scoring position, Padilla got a shallow fly ball to left, then fanned Nick Johnson with a 93 mph fastball up and out of the strike zone.

"My job when I come in is make sure guys don't score," said Padilla. "It seems like I concentrate more on making pitches (with runners on base) and I'm more aggressive with the fastball."

Whatever it is, it's worked to perfection. Padilla has inherited 15 baserunners this season and stranded every one of them.

"He takes it so personally that it's somebody else's run out there," said Bobby Valentine, "that it's incredible. He said he's been on the other end (as a starter) when it was his runs that were given up and he really does it as a personal situation. Which is wonderful."

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


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


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.