Red Sox

Notes: Aceves strong in second start

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Notes: Aceves strong in second start

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT Alfredo Aceves had one reason to join the Red Sox, which he did as a free agent in February.

They have a huge, huge, huge opportunity to win the World Series, he said after Thursdays game in Detroit.

The Red Sox had one main reason to sign him.

We got him as a depth starter, said manager Terry Francona. He can certainly pitch out of the bullpen because he can pitch. But this was the main reason he was signed.

Whether or not the Sox win the World Series this year remains to be seen. But Aceves, in his last two outings, has given them what they were looking for: A chance to win when he pitches.

In his second start since Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey went on the disabled list, Aceves went six innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts to earn the win as the Sox pummeled the Tigers, 14-1. In his two fill-in starts he has gone a combined 11 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and five walks with six strikeouts.

With the win, improving to 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA. (He did not factor in the decision in his first start, May 21 against the Cubs. He left after the fifth with the Sox leading, 2-1, only to have the bullpen implode in the eighth for eight runs.)

He threw strikes. He changed speeds. I thought he followed catcher Jason Varitek real well, Francona said. Looked to me like he only shook him off one time, which to me, when 'Teks catching is always a good thing. And they were on the same page. His pitches are good slider, fastball, changeup. But I thought he followed Tek real well.

Aceves and Varitek appeared to be in sync better in this game, with the right-hander shaking off his catcher much less.

Hes real good, Aceves said of Varitek. Hes been in the league for . . . a long time. I trust him.

Aceves and Varitek are still getting used to each other.

It was much better and we were in a much better rhythm than the start against the Cubs, Varitek said. It helps the people behind you play better when that happens.

But theres a combo. Hes been successful for a reason because of his stuff, and today was a day that we took some steps in that learning process.

Making his seventh career start Thursday, Aceves was staked to a five-run lead after the second inning, cruising through his outing. The first time through the Tigers lineup, the most he fell behind was a two-ball count to Don Kelly in the first inning before striking out the Tigers No. 2 hitter on an 89-mph cutter.

The lone run he allowed came in the fourth inning. Aceves opened the inning hitting Brennan Boesch with a pitch. Miguel Cabrera followed that with a single before Victor Martinez grounded into a fielders choice, erasing Cabrera. After Jhonny Peralta popped out to Drew Sutton for the second out, Alex Avila singled to left, scoring Boesch.

Three of Aceves six strikeouts ended innings with runners on base.

Yeah, and with a lot of different pitches, Varitek said. And different tilts on his fastball. His curveball. We used his changeup. But he did a real god job today.

With the win, Aceves extended his streak major league-best streak of wins in his last 12 decisions. This was Aceves first win in that streak that came as a starter. His 11 wins as a reliever was the longest in the American League since Jesse Crain had 11 in a row for the Twins from Sept. 1, 2004 July 1, 2005.

Aceves is pleased with his two starts. But thats only part of it.

Im happy every day, he said. Im happy every day. If Im alive Im happy. Im going to start with that.

David Ortiz went 2-for-3, extending his hit streak to eight games. He is hitting .457 (16-for-35) in that stretch.

Jason Varitek went 1-for-5, extending his hit streak to six games. He is batting .318 (7-for-22) in that stretch. It is his longest streak since he hit in nine straight games from April 21May 4, 2006.

Before Crawfords two-triple game, Jacoby Ellsbury was the last Sox batter to do so, on June 23, 2009.

Before Crawfords back-to-back four-hit games, Dustin Pedroia was the last Sox player to do so, on Aug. 29 and 30, 2008.

Outfielder Daniel Nava cleared waivers and was out righted to Pawtucket.

Right-hander BobbyJenks, sidelined since May 2 because of a right biceps strain, isscheduled to throw an inning with about 20-25 pitches for PawtucketFriday in the game against Indianapolis at McCoy Stadium. If the outinggoes well, he will pitch another inning Sunday and is likely to beactivated early next week.

Lackey, on the DL since May 12 with a right elbowstrain, is scheduled to throw a simulated game Friday before his rehabstart with Pawtucket on Tuesday.

Matsuzaka, on the DL with a right elbow strain since May 17, isstill on schedule to see Dr. Lewis Yokum in Los Angeles on May 31 onhis way back from Japan, where he is for personalreasons.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp: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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