Red Sox

Notes: Bullpen falls flat, rested for Yankees series

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Notes: Bullpen falls flat, rested for Yankees series

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard

BOSTON Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that entering the sixth inning, with Erik Bedard out of the game, and left-handed reliever Franklin Morales coming in to face the big lefty Travis Hafner, the team was feeling pretty good.

That feeling didnt last long, as Hafner scorched a double off the top of the wall in deep center field. On the very next pitch, Carlos Santana blasted a go-ahead two-run home run over the center-field wall to give the Cleveland Indians a 5-3 lead which they never lost in their 7-3 win over the Red Sox on Thursday night at Fenway Park.

Morales picked up his first loss of the season while recording only one out, but after Alfredo Aceves got two outs in the sixth to end the inning, the Red Sox were able to use Andrew Miller for 2.2 innings.

Those 2.2 innings werent great innings by any means, as Miller allowed two more runs. But if Boston takes anything positive out of its bullpen experience on Thursday night, its that Millers 71 pitches saved the rest of the arms for the weekend series against New York.

A lot of pitches, said Francona on Millers relief appearance. The one good thing is that he kept our bullpen in order. We didnt use Aceves very much. We didnt go to Albers, we didnt go to Pap, we didnt go to Bard. So we go into the weekend against New York kind of caught up.

Its trying to pound the strike zone with his stuff. When he does that consistently, theres a lot to like about him.

Jacoby Ellsbury was the only Red Sox player to have a multi-hit night on Thursday. He finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout, and a run scored. Ellsbury has now reached base safely in each of his last 17 games.

Speaking of streaks, Adrian Gonzalez extended his season-high hit streak to 14 games, going 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.

Meanwhile, Dustin Pedroia snapped his 25-game Fenway park hit streak with an 0-for-4 night.

He said after the game that it had nothing to do with the apparent shoulder injury he suffered in the third inning, as Jason Kipnis went in on him hard at second base to break up a double play.

Pedroia was slow to get up, forcing Francona to run out. But Pedroia stayed in the game, and afterwards said, Ya Im alright. I just landed on my shoulder. Im alright.

Thursday nights paid attendance of 38,477 was the largest at Fenway Park in the post-World War II era.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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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