Red Sox

Miller's 'poor performance' dooms Red Sox

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Miller's 'poor performance' dooms Red Sox

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Andrew Miller didnt waste words. This was not what he had been expecting, and certainly not what he was hoping for.

After two strong outings, during which he gave up just one run over 11 23 combined innings in Kansas City and Texas, his outing against the Rangers Friday night at Fenway Park was, in his words, a pretty poor performance. He lasted just 1 13 innings, giving up six runs on five hits and four walks, with one strikeout and a balk. After a three-run homer to Kinsler in the second, he departed, leaving the bases loaded for Michael Bowden.

He faced 13 batters, throwing 52 pitches (26 strikes). Millers record fell to 6-2, while his ERA jumped to 5.27. He threw 30 pitches in the first inning, just 16 for strikes.

We fell behind some guys and we couldnt really zone in, said catcher Jason Varitek. Not to make excuses, but its been a while (Miller's last appearance was Aug. 25) since hes been on the mound. They didnt really give him much room and once that happened they stepped on the gas pedal pretty good.

In the first inning, after walking Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, Miller committed a balk before striking out Josh Hamilton, looking at a slider. But Michael Youngs single scored Kinsler, and Adrian Beltres sacrifice fly scored Andrus before Mike Napoli grounded out to end the inning.

In the second, after Yorvit Torrrealba and David Murphy led off with singles, Craig Gentry moved them over with a sacrifice bunt, which would prove to be the only out Miller could get in the inning. Kinsler followed with a three-run blast over the Monster. Andrus walked for the second time, and Hamiltons single and walk to Michael Young loaded the bases, ending Millers night.

Michael Bowden entered in the unenviable position. After getting Beltre to fly out, Bowden walked in Andrus, before getting Torrealba to popout to Dustin Pedroia. All the runs were charged to Miller, giving the Sox' woeful offense (two hits) a hole it couldnt remedy.

He started out on the first couple of hitters not commanding and it turned into a couple of runs in the first inning, fortunately just a couple, manager Terry Francona said. Second inning, ball to shortstop Jed Lowries left and couldnt get to, and a ball, kind of a roller gets by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Then he leaves a ball over the middle and it goes a long way. They spread it out and then we couldnt stop it from there. so it was kind of a bad night all the way around. They did a lot offensively. We did very little. Just a tough night.

it was not the kind of outing Francona was expecting from Miller after his two previous outings.

We got awfully excited about Miller after his last couple of starts, Francona said, "and then today coming out of the chute, he was just leaving a lot of balls up, especially arm side, and then when he did bring it in to the plate it was in the middle and got hit.

Facing the Rangers in back-to-back starts -- his Aug. 25 appearance was in Texas -- was not an issue, Miller said.

No, it was one of those times I went out and walked the first two guys and kind of put us back on our heels and never really made the correction, he said. I certainly thought after getting through the first not the way I wanted to go felt like I still had plenty to go to be able to keep us in the game long enough. A couple of ground ball hits to start the inning . . . Pitch was supposed to be in to Kinsler. Im assuming it wasnt. Things snowballed from there. Just never made the correct adjustment.

His pregame warmup gave him no hint of what was to come.

Felt great in the bullpen, he said. Felt good in my warmup pitches right before the game, just kind of came out and didnt have the zone right away. Ended up costing.

His inconsistencies from his previous two starts to this, though, are not completely unexpected. He has had similar stretches in his 13 starts with the Sox since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket in June. But, given his previous two outings -- allowing just six hits and four walks with nine strikeouts this one is even more frustrating.

Disappointing, he said. Felt like I had been throwing the ball well. I had gotten opportunities, certainly didnt do that tonight. From here you kind of dust yourself off and Ill be prepared the next time I get an opportunity. But pretty poor performance tonight.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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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