Red Sox

Notes: Bard takes another loss

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Notes: Bard takes another loss

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Daniel Bard stood in front of his locker, surrounded by reporters. Again.

Bard was answering questions about another tough, late-inning loss. Again.

Bard had been the loser Wednesday night in Toronto when the Sox saw a two-run deficit frittered away in the eighth. On Saturday, he had entered a tie game in the 11th, only to give up a leadoff triple to Desmond Jennings and, one out later, a game-winning single to Evan Longoria, giving the Rays a 6-5 win.

The pitching to Longoria, 0-and-2, was "exactly where we wanted it. Chest high . . . 98 mph . . . ''

The loss was Bard's seventh of the season -- three more than Bard accumulated in his first two seasons combined. The back-to-back losses were the first for Bard in his career.

"Tonight would have been a good one to win,'' said Bard, "a come-from-behind win. Unfortunately, we couldn't do it.''

Bard actually followed closer Jonathan Papelbon to the mound after Papelbon was brought in for the ninth inning. After a lot of work Thursday night, Terry Francona wanted to limit Bard to a single inning, while Papelbon was rested enough for two.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who hit a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth, went sliding in the right-center gap, hoping to catch a ball off the bat of Desmond Jennings.

Darnell McDonald, in right field, went after the ball, too, though Ellsbury called for it.

The ball fell between them for a triple, leading to the winning run.

"I felt like I got a good read on it,'' said McDonald. "The ball fell, so it was in a perfect spot. We got there at the same time. I heard him call the ball. I tried to get out of the way and the ball dropped. That's about how it's going for us right now.''

"We're trying to catch the ball,'' said Ellsbury. "I feel like we should catch everything out there.''

Making his third major league start, Kyle Weiland lasted just four innings, allowing three runs.

But considering the trouble he sometimes got himself into, that wasn't bad.

Weiland was able to limit the damage to a solo run in the first after loading the bases with no out in the first. It was more of the same in the third when he filled the bases with one out and kept the Rays to a single run.

"I dug myself a little bit into a hole,'' acknoweldged Weiland," and I made a few quality pitches and I Was able to get out of it with minimal damage. (But) it's tough to get out of those when you keep digging a hole like that.

Kevin Youkilis didn't return from Boston after getting an injection for his sore hip and will re-join the Red Sox when they return home from their current trip.

"He's a little sore,'' said Terry Francona, "which wasn't unexpected. We'll see where he's at on Tuesday.''

Francona confirmed that Youkilis has "the onset of the sports hernia,'' while adding that the term is general and means only that Youkilis "had a weakening of an area, which we already knew.''

Francona said Youkilis will be examined further at the conclusion of the Red Sox' season to determine whether any surgical procedure is needed in the offseason.

"For now, he can play as tolerated,'' said Francona, "and I think they believe he can play. And if he needs a day off, we can certainly do that.''

With Youkilis out Saturday and Sunday, Jed Lowrie will continue to man third base, with Mike Aviles also available.

Erik Bedard, who had a left lat pull examined in Boston Friday, rejoined the club and, according to Francona, "is improving.

"We don't want to rush him back,'' added the manager. "It's so easy to make mistakes when you're getting thin (with pitching), when in reality, you're messing up. I think we're just going to do the best we can in the meantime.''

Bedard was going to be skipped this weekend anyway because his left knee was tender, but the lat issue may be push that back further.

Francona said Bedard taking his next turn, which would be Thursday or so, "is not realistic. Again, the timetable isn't set in stone. It's more like how he feels.''

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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