Red Sox

Notes: Beckett done in by a couple of pitches

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Notes: Beckett done in by a couple of pitches

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHILADELPHIA - For someone who had been felled by the flu and hadn't pitched for 13 days, Josh Beckett didn't pitch horribly Tuesday night.

He made two bad pitches that resulted in four runs, however, and that was way more than Cliff Lee, the opposing starter, needed to beat the Red Sox.

"You can't give that guy two runs in the second inning," said Beckett. "That just lets him go to his whole deal. I've got to battle a little better than that."

Asked if the pitches that Domonic Brown and Shane Victorino smacked for two-run homers were where he wanted him, Beckett, self-effacing as always, cracked: "They were where they wanted them."

Allowing himself some credit, Beckett added: "I felt like I made a couple of nice pitches when I needed to."

Beckett, whose last outing saw him allow just one baserunner in a win over Tampa Bay, "just didn't feel as strong," said Terry Francona. "But I thought he felt like he had to pitch and I thought he did. But the two pitches, that's four runs."

"He made two mistakes," agreed catcher Jason Varitek, "and they got us for two big home runs. Other than that, I thought he did a real good job of trying to get himself back on the mound."

Bobby Jenks and Franklin Morales, both fresh off the disabled list, got an inning each of work Tuesday.

In the eighth, Jenks, activated after missing a few weeks with a strained intercostal, allowed an infield hit and a walk, but also struck out two.

Jenks made a one-inning appearance for Portland (Double A) over the weekend and was eager to contribute after having his first season in Boston interrupted twice by injury twice in the first three months.

"I'm just excited to be back," said Jenks. "I think I might be the most frustrated one here. When I came back from the DL the first time, I was throwing the ball extremely well and then this happened.

"Nobody could be more frustrated than I am or more happy to be back. Hopefully, this will be the last time (he's sidelined with an ailment) and I can just roll into September and the playoffs extremely happy."

Asked how he was dealing with the frustration, Jenks joked: "Lots of Nicorette gum."

To make room for Jenks, the Sox sent Scott Atchison back to Pawtucket.

Morales looked sharp in the seventh inning, getting a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.

The Red Sox swapped out lefty Tommy Hottovy for lefty Morales, who had been on the DL with elbow inflammation.

Outfielder Carl Crawford tested his pulled hamstring by running six 90-feet sprints at about half-speed.

Crawford is eligible to come off the DL Sunday in his hometown of Houston, but that looks like a long shot.

Francona had Darnell McDonald hitting fifth, despite the fact that the outfielder was hitting just .103 with a homer and three RBI.

"We thought about moving (Jason Varitek) up one," said Francona. "I thought about a few things, but I didn't think there
was a better lineup."

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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