Red Sox

Notes: Rays capitalize on Red Sox' mistakes

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Notes: Rays capitalize on Red Sox' mistakes

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

BOSTON -- The Red Sox had missed opportunities on Saturday. The Tampa Bay Rays also took advantage of their own. In a game where Jon Lester gave up four earned runs and the Red Sox left six men on base, four more than the Rays did, it could be easy to point out what the Red Sox should have done better. At the same time, there is a lot the Rays did do better.

Evan Longoria entered Saturdays game batting 4-for-8 with two homeruns and six RBIs in the series. He added to that with an RBI single in the fifth inning against Lester. Longoria has driven in 13 RBIs against the Red Sox this season and 57 over his career.

Hes a tremendous player, said Francona. Hes done that to us before. A couple years ago I think he drove in 30-something runs, at least hes not doing that. Good players, like thats how we feel about Pedey (Dustin Pedroia) and guys like (Jacoby) Ellsbury, thats what you have them for.

The Red Sox entered the game with limited success against Jeff Neimann. (Marco Scutaro had a team-high three hits against him.) The Sox were able to get four hits off of him in five innings, but failed to capitalize on many of them.

Hes a good pitcher and he pitches well against us, said Francona. We had some chances. We didnt cash in. Thats the way the game is.

In only his second Major League appearance, Matt Moore pitched three innings in relief of Neimann, giving up one run, two hits, and striking out a pair.

He has a very loose, live arm, said Francona. I can see why they like him so much. He didnt command probably like he can, but theres a lot to like. And the fact that through Double-A and Triple-A he got right handers out so dominating shows you that he has more than a fastball.

The Rays offense forced Lester into deep counts throughout the game, and their patience paid off at the plate.

I thought they did a good job of laying off some pitches that maybe some other teams dont, because if you dont eliminate a pitch with him, sometimes he can kind of have his way with you, said Francona. They got a lot of deep counts, and then once youve seen five or six pitches in that at bat, youve got to make a really good pitch. They fouled off some pitches that were good pitches, but because they had seen five or six, they were able to do that.

With a loss, the Red Sox American League Wild Card lead is three games over the Rays. They are now 4.5 games behind the New York Yankees in overall AL East standings. The Red Sox have lost 10 of their last 13 games and are 2-8 in their last 10 contests.

The Red Sox are 6-11 against the Rays this season, tying the most losses against the Rays in club history. Many of their troubles against Tampa Bay have come in Boston. The Red Sox are 2-6 against the Rays at Fenway Park this season and 4-12 against them at home since the start of 2010.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who has 37 stolen bases this season, was thrown out trying to steal third with no outs in the fifth inning. He was thrown out by Neimann. Ellsbury did not speak to the media after the game, but Francona shared his assessment of the attempt. Its a situation where hes probably trying to do too much that wasnt necessary, he said. His intentions are good. It was ill-advised. If youre going to run in that situation, its got to be one-hundred percent. He knows that.

On the topic of stolen bases, Joey Gathright stole his first base of the season in the ninth inning off of Joel Peralta.

Pregame notes by Maureen Mullen

Manager Terry Francona has still not named a pitcher for the first game of Mondays doubleheader against the Orioles. John Lackey will start the second game. Left-hander Erik Bedard, who was going to throw before Saturdays game remains a possibility.

He had a good day Friday so hes going to throw a side . . . and then well go from there, Francona said.

Weve got some moving parts obviously. Want to see how he comes through the side, and then we want to gauge where we think he is and then well make some decisions. We have some either-ors obviously.

Kevin Youkilis, hampered by a hernia and hip bursitis remains sore. His ability to play is unknown.

It is a little bit of a conundrum, Francona said. He had a two-week DL and he came back, so I really dont know. I think thats what hes hanging his hat on, and I think thats what we hope will be the case. Were certainly going to give him a chance, but we just dont know.

If a guys good, we want to play him. But right now thats not realistic. Where it goes from here we just dont know. We all hope he wakes up maybe tomorrow morning and says hey I really feel good today. OK, good, lets see how you do tomorrow. And then if you play, how do you bounce back. We just dont know.

The Sox announced their minor league award winners.
Pitcher of the Year, right-hander Alex Wilson, Double-A PortlandTriple-A Pawtucket.
Offensive Co-Players of the Year: Right fielder Bryce Brentz, Single-A GreenvilleSingle-A Salem and catcher Ryan Lavarnway, Double-A PortlandTriple-A Pawtucket.
Defensive Player of the Year: Catcher Christian Vazquez, Single-A Greenville.
Base Runner of the Year: Center fielder Felix Sanchez, Single-A Greenville.
Minor League Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: Left-hander Pedro Reyes, Rookie-Level Dominican Summer League Red Sox.
Minor League Latin Program Player of the Year: Outfielder Ynoel Aguero, Rookie-Level Dominican Summer League Red Sox.
Left-hander Tommy Hottovy, Double-A PortlandTriple-A Pawtucket won the inaugural Lou Gorman Award, given in honor of the former Sox GM and executive who died in April. It will be presented annually to a Red Sox minor league player who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the major league team.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.

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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