Red Sox

Notes: Lowrie back in the starting lineup for Sox


Notes: Lowrie back in the starting lineup for Sox

By SeanMcAdam

OAKLAND, Calif. -- For the fourth straight game, Jed Lowrie found himself in the starting lineup -- not surprising, perhaps, since the infielder carried a seven-game hitting streak and a .545 batting average into the opener of the team's nine-game road trip.

Terry Francona indicated that Marco Scutaro would still get some playing time at shortstop during the trip, with Lowrie perhaps fitting in at other positions.

One problem for Francona is, thanks to the composition of the Red Sox roster, he might have a tough time DHing Lowrie.

In some instances against a tough lefty, Francona might prefer to have Lowrie DH -- and bat righty -- but that leaves the Sox thin because they don't have another extra infielder.

If Lowrie were to DH and something happened to one of the other infielders, the Sox could move Lowrie into that infield spots but would lose the use of the DH for the night.

"That's why, I would imagine that on days that Jed plays another position (other than short),'' said Francona, "it would be a day game, like (Wednesday), where we could use it to our advantage.''

Though the Red Sox had won three in a row before Tuesday's game, they remained five games under .500 and the manager said the team would have to display some patience.

"I think we believe we're going to be good,'' said Francona. "But we had a horrendous first 10 days and it might take a while to dig out from it. That's the biggest thing we have to fight right now -- not continually looking (at the standings) because our record's not going to be what we want for a while.

"It's like a batting average and a guy hitting .150. You walk up to the plate and see that .150 and you kind of sag. We're going to have to fight that for a while. Sometimes, you lose six and win six. Sometimes you don't and you kind of have to chip away. We have to be willing to chip away and believe in what we're doing.''

Matt Albers (lat pull), who threw two innings of relief (one hit, one strikeout) for Pawtucket Tuesday night, will meet the Red Sox in Anaheim and presumably be activated for the start of the series Thursday.

It's likely that Alfredo Aceves will be returned to Pawtucket and placed in the Paw Sox starting rotation to get stretched out.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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


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


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

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.