Red Sox

Mike from Attleboro: Place the blame where it belongs

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Mike from Attleboro: Place the blame where it belongs

Mike from Attleboro -- the leading contributor to Michael Felger's old mailbag and one of Felger's favorite callers to his radio show -- is now contributing occasional pieces to CSNNE.com. Today he gives his take on Josh Beckett.

Last weeks revelation from 98.5 The Sports Hub's Rob Hardy Poole that Josh Beckett was rehabbing his wounded lat muscle by hacking through 27 holes of golf with Clay Buchholz shouldnt have surprised anyone.

Why should the rotund and recalcitrant Beckett care about being an elite athlete and take care of his body? He didnt last year and it not only cost the team down the stretch, it also cost Terry Francona, and strength and conditioning coach Dave Page, their jobs. But thats not his problem.

He certainly didnt use last seasons failings to motivate him this offseason. While David Ortiz found the time to come into camp looking noticeably leaner, Beckett simply wasnt going to let getting into shape and being professional interfere with his time off. After all, the Sox only had 141 days to themselves this offseason.

So skipping a start due to an apparent injury was never going to keep Beckett from doing what he does best: Whatever he feels like.

Of course this has driven fans to Sopranos Finale levels of outrage. They want Beckett gone, and gone now. But unfortunately for the fans, the focus of their anger, and the anger itself, is woefully misplaced.

Why should we as fans expect any sort of behavior modification from Beckett if the front office didnt already demand it? Beckett was never made responsible for his part in last seasons collapse by the team. Beckett was never held accountable for his level of fitness going into the offseason and, as recently mentioned by CSNNEs Gary Tanguay, he still is treating the weight room like a PETA meeting.

If all of Josh Becketts crimes against professionalism, which we know about, arent enough to spur Larry Lucchino and Jim Hensons Ben Cherington into action, nothing will.

Josh Beckett is allowed to do as he pleases while this team slowly sinks in the standings because the current owners of the Boston Red Sox are only concerned with counting sellouts, hawking their wares and counting their money. John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Warner care more about the Red Sox finishing the season in the black than they do about finishing in contention. They wave the championship banners of 2004 and 2007 as they reprogram Carmine to calculate how much cash they can charge for Josh Beckett divot tools and ball markers.

Why else would the team put up with Josh Becketts Roger Dorn impersonation? Because its easier to simply do nothing as a Josh Beckett begs out of starts only to hit the links at Bushwood for 27 with the Haverkamps. Its easier to allow your celebrity manager to twist in the wind as his supposed staff ace and leader undermines the clubhouse one stroke at a time. Its easier to let your PR and security staff work triple time enforcing a paper bag ban to mask the growing dissent of the fan base. Those costs are all preferable to actually trying to change a team and a culture that putrefies more and more with each passing game.

The Texas Doughboy still has a job on this team because getting rid of him will hurt team profitability. Net profits are now the only advanced metrics that matter on Yawkey Way and its too expensive to try and move a player so slothful and truculent. Forget trying to improve the team. Simply getting rid of a team saboteur, like Beckett, takes capital that this ownership group is not prepared to surrender. Instead, they are content to field a team with a leader who is more than willing to surrender his season if it interferes with hitting the links, Miller Time or a finger licking good snack.

If the Red Sox dont care enough to do something about Beckett, this team and its attitude why should you? Take a page out of Josh Becketts rehab program. Forget about the team and go golfing. I think we deserve a little time to ourselves.

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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