Red Sox

Lester: 'A win's, a win, I'm not going to overanalyze'


Lester: 'A win's, a win, I'm not going to overanalyze'

BOSTON After his last outing his ninth quality start in 15 outings, but the Red Sox third loss in his last four starts Jon Lesters frustration with himself was obvious.
"I'm getting tired of the same old stuff," Lester said. "I'm making good pitches and they're getting hit. I don't know what else to do. The process is there. I'm still not getting results. It's the same book, different chapter for me."
Lester changed books Wednesday afternoon in the homestand finale against the Blue Jays. He went seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits with no walks, four strikeouts, and two home runs. He earned the win as the Sox trounced the Jays, 10-4, to even his record at 5-5. This, despite snapping his string of four consecutive starts, and seeing his ERA creep up from 4.48 to 4.53.I wouldnt say I was searching for answers. I think its just more or less when it comes down to making a pitch when I have to they hit it, Lester said. And a win always takes away the questioning in the back of your mind. A wins a win. Im not going to overanalyze anything, just get ready to go in five days.Lester gave up a lead-off double to Brett Lawrie, who scored Colby Rasmus single. After that, he retired the next nine batters, before Jose Bautistas 25th home run of the season leading off the fourth. He then retired the next eight batters before Bautistas two-out double in the sixth and Edwin Encarnacions 22nd home run of the season, followed by a Ben Francisco single, before getting Yunel Escobar to fly out, ending the inning.I thought he was very good, did exactly what we need to win a ballgame, said manager Bobby Valentine. His 100 pitches were all quality. I think he might have got to the middle of the plate on a couple of pitches where he had a big lead, gave up some home runs. But you got to like what you saw today.Six runs from the Sox offense in the first inning, erasing a one-run deficit, also helped. Lester entered the game with an average run support of 4.29, the lowest among the eight starters used this season, other than Daisuke Matsuzakas 1.23.Absolutely. Run support takes the pressure of you, especially after they come out in the first and put one on the board, Lester said. Its big to have our offense go out there and do that for you. You cant ask from more from those guys.Lester threw 100 pitches, 64 for strikes. It was his third outing this season, and first since a May 30 win over the Tigers, in which he has not allowed a walk.Throwing strikes, not giving in. I think its more or less just trusting the fact that Ive got better stuff and see what happens, he said. Id rather give up a hit and make him earn it than walk him.He was pleased with his changeup.I was getting outs with it, he said. You can always second-guess when something bad happens, but I may have thrown one too many to Edwin Encarnacion. We had gotten him out a couple of times with it before but we were ahead in the count so we figured behind in the count, give it a try. It wasnt a bad pitch, just put a good swing on it, got the good part of the bat on it and hit it out. So but yeah getting early outs with it, early contact and thats all you can ask for with that pitch for me.Lester, though, didnt want to get too deep about the win. Asked if he was more satisfied with the win or his performance, he replied:I think were overanalyzing now. A wins a win no matter how you look at it.

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.