Red Sox

Cook: 'We lost it because I made an error'

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Cook: 'We lost it because I made an error'

BALTIMORE Outings dont get more bipolar for a starting pitcher than it did for Aaron Cook and the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
The veteran right-hander was working quickly and his sinker diving through five innings, and hadnt given up a single hit while slicing and dicing the Baltimore Orioles lineup. But just as beautifully as things had gone for Cook in the first five frames, they went horribly awry for him in the sixth on his way to a 5-3 loss to the Os at Camden Yards.
Cook was the first to put himself squarely in the crosshairs for blame in defeat.
His stuff was so good that only three of his 71 pitches was something other than a sinking fastball, but that didnt matter in the sixth.
I cost us the game. Its a play Ive made over a hundred times. I didnt get my feet set. I had plenty of time and I just yanked it, said Cook, who has walked six batters in his last two outings after walking only four batters over the previous eight games. It was just a bad throw. I cant let that happen. I need to set my feet, take my time and make a good throw so we can get out of that inning.
The trouble started pretty harmlessly with a one-out walk, and then J.J. Hardy broke up the no-hitting with a single to left field. A Nate McLouth single to right field scored a run and finally seemed to wake the Baltimore offensive from their five innings stupor. But it was the next play that changed the face of the game.
Adam Jones smacked a grounder right through the box and Cook gloved it as he sprang off the mound. The right-hander had his plant foot slip slightly as he released the ball and uncorked a wildly errant throw to the left of the second base bag that ended up in center field.
Aaron really pitched well for the five innings and was really fielding his position, said Bobby Valentine. He just didnt make a play in that inning, and Oh Lordy we didnt turn the double play. He gives up a double and the next thing you know were down a couple of runs.
Were in the dugout if Cook makes the play. It looks like he might have slipped a little on the mound when he threw the ball to second.
Instead of a double play that could have ended the inning, the tying run scored and the Os kept their rally alive.
Matt Wieters followed with a ground-rule double to left field that Carl Crawford appeared to get a late jump toward, and that was it for Cook. A Mark Reynolds double over Crawfords head when he failed to get his hands up to attempt a catch scored two more of Cooks inherited runners, and he went from a no-hitter to five runs allowed in the span of a 13 of an inning.
That is a dizzyingly fast turnaround.
We should have been out of there with one run allowed and high-fiving each other right now, said Cook. I feel awful. Were trying to win games and we should have won. We lost it because I made an error.
Give Cook credit for fully absorbing the brunt of the blame, and setting an example in defeat for a number of teammates routinely looking to escape blame when things go bad. Unfortunately good things dont always happen even when things are being done the right kind of way.

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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