Red Sox

McAdam at the World Series: Giants youth serves

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McAdam at the World Series: Giants youth serves

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The last time the San Francisco Giants were this close to a World Series championship, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey were barely out of middle school.

And the previous World Series appearance before that? Posey was all of 2 12 and Bumgarner was two months old.

History may be lost on them. They're too busy making it to worry about it.

Sunday night, Bumgarner, 21, was brilliant, limiting the Texas Rangers to three measly hits and Posey, 23, was helping to call his second shutout in the last four games while adding a solo homer.

Together, they led the Giants to a 4-0 victory over Texas, and to within a game of the Giants' first title since 1954. Together, they also represented the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since 1947.

Neither began this season in the major leagues. Posey was brought up in the final week of May and spent his first month with the Giants playing first base. Bumgarner wasn't summoned until the last weekend of June, making his 2010 debut against the Red Sox.

Sunday, they were linked, pushing the Rangers to the edge and positioning the Giants to within a victory of the title which has eluded the franchise for so long.

"I didn't expect this in my wildest dreams,'' gushed Bumgarner, who became the fifth-youngest pitcher in history to start a World Series game.

Posey, as perhaps befits someone two whole years older than his starting pitcher, seemed a little less overwhelmed by the historical nature of the battery, but nonetheless labeled it "pretty cool.''

"I think it's probably a little bit harder for some people to believe rather than us,'' he said.

Count the Giants general manager, Brian Sabean, among that group.

"I get choked up,'' said Sabean of watching his newbies thrive on the big stage. "I still have butterflies and a lump in my throat. It's something to behold if you're a purist. It's very unusual. It's humbling because they're amazing people. They're aware of the gravity of all this. I don't know how they balance it. I really don't.

"I've never seen composure like this.''

Bumgarner walked the first hitter he faced, Elvis Andrus, and issued another walk with two out in the second, then didn't walk anyone else over the next six innings.

He faced the minimum number of hitters six times in his eight innings and it wasn't until Mitch Moreland's single to right in the sixth that he allowed a base hit out of the infield.

Posey, his team's cleanup hitter, greeted Texas reliever Darren O'Day by slamming a slider out to center, accounting for the fourth run of the night.

Together, they were as calm as could be, unshaken by the circumstances or the setting, though under some questioning, Bumgarner allowed that, yes, this might be slightly more nerve-wracking than the North Carolina state championship which he referenced recently.

While Bumgarner and Posey took questions, Giants' special assistant Felipe Alou stood off to the side and spoke with reporters about what it would mean if Giants could win Monday night. Or Wednesday or Thursday night back in San Francisco.

Alou, of course, brings a different, deeper perspective, having been in the game for longer than Bumgarner and Posey, combined, have been alive.

He was part of 1962 National League champion Giants who came up one run short against the New York Yankees. Alou attempted to move his brother, Matty, over, but failed so that Matty had to stop at third on a double by Willie Mays. He was stranded there when Willie McCovey's liner was caught by second baseman Bobby Richardson.

"Sometimes, we had great Giants,'' said the sage Alou, recalling past clubs. "But sometimes the team was not as great. A team is not necessarily a bunch of great players together. But this team is a team.''

Alou has said that he still feels haunted by the Giants' inability to win in 1962. McCovey said recently that a win by these Giants would make him feel better.

"Me, too,'' acknowledged Alou. "Matty was still at first base when Willie Mays hit that double that didn't score him. It's a rather sore spot in my career, my life, really.

"But if this team wins, maybe I would forgive me a little bit.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

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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