Red Sox

Crawford irked when hit by Anderson pitch


Crawford irked when hit by Anderson pitch

By MaureenMullen

BOSTON When Carl Crawford was hit by a Brett Anderson fastball, on the second pitch of his second at-bat, it raised a few eyebrows and a few hackles.

It was just the third time Crawford, whose open stance doesnt crowd the plate, had been hit by a pitch this season, and the 35th time in his career. The most hes been plunked in a season was eight times in 2009 while with the Rays.

But in his previous at-bat Sunday afternoon, with no outs, David Ortiz on second and Jed Lowrie on first in the second inning, Crawford turned on an Anderson slider and deposited it into the Red Sox bullpen for his fifth home run of the season, and first at Fenway. It also gave the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Adding to the reason for questions, right-hander John Lackey, coming off the disabled list to make his first start since May 11, hit the third batter he faced, left-handed hitter David DeJesus, on the foot with a cutter in the first inning.

I don't know if it was intentional, said Crawford, who Anderson hit on the back of the right hand. But I know we watch video and he doesn't throw inside to lefties much. So that's all I can say about that.

But he did have a few words for Anderson as he made his way to first base.

I'll just leave that on the field, Crawford said.

Anderson made no reply, Crawford said.

The thought did occur to Crawford, though, that it might have been than a pitch that got away from the Oakland left-hander.

Oh, it's the reaction when you get hit like that right after you hit a home run off a guy, he said. You know his tendencies and you know the guy doesn't usually do that that often. So obviously thoughts are going to creep in your head. 'Did he do it intentionally?' I don't know, but I just hope he don't do that again.

Initially and on replays, it appeared Crawford got hit in the back of the shoulder. But that was not the case.

Everybody thinks it hit me on the back, but it hit me right on the top of my right hand, right on the bone, he said. I'm going to get it iced and hope that it's not sore tomorrow or, definitely, the day after.

After Crawford was hit, giving each starting pitcher one hit batter, home plate umpire Larry Vanover issued warnings to both benches. Lackey, though hit two more batters right-handed hitters Kurt Suzuki on a 1-and-2 cutter in fourth and Conor Jackson on a first-pitch cutter, with both eventually coming around to score and no penalties were imposed.

Manager Terry Francona thought the umpires took the right approach.

I thought they did a pretty good job of recognizing that you got to pitch in, Francona said. One hit his shirt. It wasnt like, when you start throwing balls behind guys and stuff you put an umpire in an unenviable position. But those balls, they were just in.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young


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

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.