Red Sox

Notes: Crawford not frustrated by slump

191542.jpg

Notes: Crawford not frustrated by slump

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Like everyone else, Carl Crawford -- who went 0-for-3 in the Red Sox' 3-2 loss to the Rays Tuesday night, dropping his average to .152 -- is surprised by the Red Sox' slow start.

Yes its a little shocking," he said. "We definitely didn't think wed be in this position right now, but since we are we just got to do what we have to do to get back on top.

In this situation its such a surprise that you didn't expect it so you worry about it a little bit. But we know its still uphill battle and were going keep working and try to get to the point where were winning games again.

Frustration, though, has not set in yet.

Not really, he said. Not as much as you would think. Theres a lot of guys in here that really care about whats going on and we understand what kind of team we have. We know its going to be an uphill battle but guys are up for the challenge.

For the fourth time in 11 games this year, the Red Sox failed to get more than five hits or two runs.

This is the only fourth time in their history that the Sox have started 2-9. The other seasons: 1996, 1927, and 1925.

After Tuesdays loss to the Rays, the Red Sox fell to 7-for-52 (.135) with runners in scoring position.

I think were struggling outside of just runners in scoring position, Jason Varitek said. I think guys are taking better at-bats, hitting balls hard. Take Monday night. Kevin Youkilis lined out three times and then he finally found a way to get one in. Those things can make a difference between somebody getting it going and for those things I believe they will.

Darnell McDonalds first hit of the season was a solo home run leading off the third inning. It is the second season in a row that his first hit was a home run. Last year he did so in his first at-bat.

Kevin Youkilis started as the designated hitter for the first time in his career, in his 802nd career game. Since Youkilis first career game, May 14, 2004, 21 other players have served as the Sox DH. He was also hit by a pitch for the 69th time in his career, by David Price in the eighth inning. He is two HBPs shy of Mo Vaughns team record.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia's wife delivered their third child at 6:23 Tuesdaymorning. The baby (to be named later) is the third girl for thecouple, weighing in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and 20 inches long.Saltalamacchia said his wife and daughter are fine, but he was prettytired after a night of no sleep and sat out Tuesday night's game.

Salty knew he'd be off Tuesday two days ago,Terry Francona said. His wife had the baby and he had his hands full. Heknew going in he wasnt going to catch tonight."

Francona had not had a chance to check in with Daisuke Matsuzaka afterthe right-handers disastrous outing Mondaynight.

I didn't see him yet, he said.Pitching coach Curt Young will talk to the pitchers every day. Thehard thing for me is I can't have a casual conversation with Dice. Itseasy to have one with anybody. John Lackey walks into the clubhouseor Jon Lester or whoever. You can't do that with Dice-K besidessaying hello. Thats frustrating. That doesnt mean he can't pitch butits hard to have that casual conversation where you can ask, Hey,what are you thinking? Everything has to go through atranslator.

Francona said Matsuzaka has beenworking on his English.

Hes done a good job,Francona said. Hes done a real good job. Its not like Spanish toEnglish where we could all pick a word and kind of fake your waythrough it a little bit. This is a completely different . . . No, hesactually done a real good job. And around the field especially theresa lot that he can understand, which reallyhelps.

He understands. He knows whats goingon.

Francona said Matsuzakas latest outing wouldnot change the managers perspective.

He had ahorrendous second inning. Francona said. I think if we do do thingslike that well set ourselves up for some really bad mistakes. It wastough to watch. But if you make decisions based on emotions and after abad start, we wouldnt have a team left. You cant dothat.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

mlb_rob_manfred_081414.jpg

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

cy_young_corey_kluber_chris_sale_111517.jpg

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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE