Red Sox

Not the ending Buchholz, or Red Sox, wanted


Not the ending Buchholz, or Red Sox, wanted

NEW YORK -- Clay Buchholz's season began with some wins which he probably didn't deserve. It ended with an eight-game winless streak.

Somewhere in the middle, there was a decent season. But that didn't extend to Monday night, when Buchholz was rocked for eight runs in just an inning and two-thirds of work.

Buchholz gave up three homers in the span of five batters in the nine-run New York second, part of a 10-2 pasting of the Red Sox by the Yankees.

Buchholz retired the first three hitters in a row in the first, then faced 10 hitters in the second and retired only two of them -- one on a sacrifice fly.

"They didn't miss any of his mistakes,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "He was out there giving everything he had. But that's a tough lineup to make some mistakes to and they were able to hit him hard. It looked like pitches were coming back to the middle a little.''

Buchholz didn't contradict his manager, noting "it's tough when you leave pitches out over the middle of the plate and every one of them gets hit. That's what this team's known for -- they hit mistakes. And they did that tonight.

"I felt good with a bunch of pitches that I threw. Just the ones that were in the zone, they barreled them up and hit hard.''

Again and again, in the second inning it seemed. The inning began with a solo homer by Robinson Cano. After a called third strike on Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher singled and Curtis Granderson homered.

A solo homer by Russell Martin followed, then two straight walks, a a single to load the bases by Ichiro Suzuki and a hard-hit line drive to left for a sacrifice fly from Alex Rodriguez.

Finally, Cano, hitting for the second time that inning, doubled to score two more and Buchholz's night was over as he tied his career-high for most runs allowed.

The start gave Buchholz 189 13 innings, also a career high. But he rejected a suggestion that he was fatigued.

"I felt as good today as I've felt all year in the second half of the season,'' said Buchholz. "The ball was coming out fine. I feel strong. It's definitely not a fatigue problem. I felt pretty good pretty much all season.''

Buchholz missed a month-long stretch in the middle of the year with a stomach issue, but still recorded 29 starts and nearly 190 innings.

"It's a step right in the direction, '' he said, "but not a big enough one, I guess.''

"He's given us a heck of a season,'' said Valentine. "He pitched his heart out. It's hard to have it end like that.''

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.