Red Sox

Notes: Reyes having control problems for Sox


Notes: Reyes having control problems for Sox

By SeanMcAdam

CLEVELAND -- Dennys Reyes wasn't assured of a spot on the Red Sox' Opening Day roster until the day before the team left Florida. If he doesn't start pitching better soon, he may be the first player out the door.

Reyes had made three appearances before Tuesday night and though he was unscored upon, he had allowed the leadoff batter to reach in two of them.

For a lefty specialist, utilized mostly to get a key hitter or two, that's a recipe for disaster.

But Wednesday night was a new low for the veteran lefty. He entered the game in the bottom of the sixth, hit two batters and walked a third. Of the 12 pitches he threw, 11 were balls.

"He's not commanding,'' said Fracona. "We're all looking for that two-seam movement down in the zone, get some ground balls. But everything seems like it's up to his arm side. He's missing by a lot. He's just not commanding.''

"I couldn't command anything,'' said Reyes. "I was throwing behind my body. My mechanics were gone today. I take the fault for today's game. They gave me the game with the game close and I let it get away.''

The Sox have at least two other left-handed options at Pawtucket: Rich Hill and Hideki Okajima.

Outfielder Carl Crawford had his second two-hit game in the last three, but what stood out was his aggressive style when he got on base.

Crawford, hitting second for the second straight game, singled off pitcher Mitch Talbot's glove with one out in the second, then stole second.

In the fifth, he walked, stole second and took third on a groundout to the right side. Finally, in the seventh, he had an infield single to short and scored on Adrian Gonzalez's first homer as a member of the Red Sox.

The two steals were his first with the Red Sox. It marked the 57th time in his career that Crawford had a multi-steal game.

"When he gets on,'' said Francona, "he'll start using his legs and hopefully create some havoc. That's what he used to do against us.''

Daisuke Matsuzaka was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on six hits. Like Josh Beckett the night before, Matsuzaka's night was cut short because of a high pitch count.

In five innings, Matsuzaka threw 96 pitches, nearly matching the 106 thrown over five frames by Beckett Tuesday night in the series opener.

''It took him until about the fifth inning before he was actually throwing more strikes than balls,'' said Francona. "That's just a hard way to pitch successfully. He didn't give up a ton of runs, but again, he's almost at 100 pitches after five. That's a hard way to stay out there.''

The loss was the first in Matsuzaka's career in Cleveland during the regular season. Before Tuesday night, he had made two starts, won them both and held the Indians scoreless over 15 innings.

Adrian Gonzalez hit his first homer as a member of the Sox, a two-run shot in the seventh off Frank Hermann. Gonzalez also had a double. Of the 10 extra-base hits the Sox have collected over the first five games, Gonzalez has three of them . . . Dustin Pedroia was 0-for-3 and saw his hitting streak snapped at four games.

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.