Red Sox

Doubront looks to move forward after disappointing start

801960.jpg

Doubront looks to move forward after disappointing start

BOSTON Felix Doubront wasted little time exhibiting that this start would be unlike his previous two.

In his last two outings, both against the Marlins, in Miami on June 13 and at Fenway Park on June 20, Doubront went a combined 13 innings, giving up a total of six runs on 12 hits and one walk with 13 strikeouts. In six innings in his last start he gave up four runs.

But against the Blue Jays Monday night, he gave up that many runs in his first inning, as the Sox lost to the Blue Jays, 9-6.

Doubront threw 27 pitches, 16 for strikes, in the first inning, allowing the first four batters to reach. He opened the game giving up a single to Brett Lawrie before Colby Rasmus 14th home run of the season, on a curveball. Jose Bautista reached on a Will Middlebrooks error, scoring on Edwin Encarnacions double. He retired Kelly Johnson on a flyout to Daniel Nava in left field before Yunel Escobars single to right, scoring Encarnacion. Rajai Davis reached on a fielders choice, erasing Escobar. With Ben Francisco batting, Davis was caught stealing to end the inning.

In all Doubront went six innings, giving up a seven runs, five earned, on 11 hits, a walk, and two home runs, with two strikeouts. In 18 career starts, it was a career high in runs allowed, and the first time he has allowed double-digit hits. The two strikeouts match a career low in a start.

Doubront threw 83 pitches, 61 strikes. His record falls to 8-4 with a 4.54 ERA.

I think he was trying to throw a lot of strikes and didnt want to waste a lot of pitches and it seems like a lot of them got hit, said manager Bobby Valentine. Not that they were all hit hard thats for sure. I'd say he gave up six or seven hits that were off the end of the bat or jammed, about four of them were hit hard. It wasnt his best outing but hell improve on that.

Despite the starkly different outcomes, Doubront said he took the same approach in this game as he has in others. The difference?

Couple of bad pitches, he said. One of those days, too.

I felt pretty good but one of those days when I felt good that nothing happened. Just let it go and move forward. Looking forward to my next start.

Doubront is at 85 13 innings pitched this season, nearly at his total of 87 23 last season, when he was limited by injuries. Valentine said he doesnt see that as a factor in Doubronts performance.

I think hes fine. I think hes still building, Valentine said.

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

cincinnati-reds-joe-morgan-hall-of-fame.jpg

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_rob_manfred_081414.jpg

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.