Red Sox

Drellich: Like it or not, Pedroia has been inaugurated Red Sox spokesman

Drellich: Like it or not, Pedroia has been inaugurated Red Sox spokesman

BOSTON — It's not on them. It's on him. 

Dustin Pedroia’s pre-game media session Friday was an inauguration speech for positions he never really wanted: Defuser. Spokesman.

He needs to embrace those now, for the good of his teammates and a clubhouse he has declared his. He seems on his way.

Let’s get one caveat out of the way before we explore the second baseman’s soapbox: little else matters if the Red Sox don’t start hitting. 

Their lack of power is sapping the enjoyment out of watching games and has to be draining to their pitchers, who are being hung out to dry near daily. It’s the looped soundtrack of a slow slide into second place, or worse.

But let’s assume, though, the Sox will start to hit like something other than a stereotypical last-place team in the National League West. It’s still worth playing a game of, "Whose Clubhouse Is this Any Way?"

Pedroia has long been a leader by example. The mettle he showed Friday was different, more forward-facing. He set the record straight and declared himself the point man.

Pedroia recently acquired the corner locker at the far side of the home clubhouse, the one Pablo Sandoval used to occupy. The media gathered there for the first significant comments from anyone on the club about the David Price-Dennis Eckersley airplane fiesta.

“We’re moving past this,” Pedroia said. “This was a month ago. We all love each other. We’re in here together. Nothing is going to divide this team. For whatever people say from the outside: ‘We don’t have a leader.’ I’m standing right here. I’ve been here for a long time.”

“We’re in first place. That’s it. Write what you guys want. Here I am. See anybody else standing here doing this? Do you? Nope. That’s a fact. There’s your source. From the mouth.”

Better late than never.

When he referred to himself as a “source,” Pedroia was seemingly making a reference to the sourced reports from this week that he was clapping when Eckersley was verbally attacked by Price. 

Pedroia said he expects Price will speak to Eckersley, but said Price has yet to have a chance.

That’s fishy, considering as Pedroia himself noted, it’s been about a month since the incident. But the fact that Pedroia did address the matter with the player and the public as well is net-positive progress.

Pedroia’s always been a spunky, sarcastic character. He can come off as something of a jerk, too. He has bravado. But he doesn’t have the programming that naturally makes him want to be the go-to-guy to answer questions.

Perhaps this episode showed Pedroia the problem that arises when that role is left ambiguous. A controversy can grow like a wildfire in this media and fan environment if explanations aren't given. He’s seen those dust-ups before, playing here for a decade. But he’s rarely had to bat them down.

Pedroia's stand-up attitude Friday was a reminder of what had not done previously this season, and what needs to continue. 

Someone needs to set the record straight on what’s going on, even if behind the scenes, the clubhouse is in good order without others knowing — even if Pedroia doesn't think something's worth addressing.

The distraction created by something that morphs and evolves in the public without proper information probably isn’t worth it.

“Is there usually this many of you guys in here? Come on,” Pedroia said when asked about the distraction of the Eckersely-Price confab. “We want to focus on our job and winning baseball games. That’s what we’re here to try to do. I wish you guys were asking me how we’re going to try to beat the Royals [Friday] instead of talking about this. I enjoy talking about that more, obviously.”

More often, now, Pedroia has to take on the unenjoyable. He’ll make his clubhouse better for it.

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.