Red Sox

Red Sox crushed by Rays in series opener, 16-5

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Red Sox crushed by Rays in series opener, 16-5

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Just when it seemed like the Red Sox had turned the corner on their poor start, they reversed field again Monday night and suffered their most lopsided loss of the season -- to the only team who entered the night with a worse record than their own.

The Tampa Bay Rays chased starter Daisuke Matsuzaka with seven runs in the first two innings, and kept adding on against reliever Tim Wakefield, posting a 16-5 victory over the Red Sox.

The defeat dropped the Sox to 2-8, equal with the Rays in the American League East standings.

The 16 runs for Tampa were more than they had scored in all of their nine losses (11) cobined this season. Tampa bashed out 20 hits as five different Rays collected multiple RBIs. Sam Fuld had a career-high four hits, falling a single short of the cycle.

David Ortiz knocked in two runs with a single and sacrfice fly. Adrian Gonzalez (triple), J.D. Drew (single) and Jacoby Ellsbury (solo homer) each accounted for an RBI.

Matsuzaka, 0-2, sports a 12.86 ERA for the season. The Red Sox have just two quality starts in the first 10 games.

STAR OF THE GAME: Sam Fuld
The Cubs castoff banged out a homer, triple and two doubles while knocking in three runs.

Fuld, a New Hampshire native, is one of several players the Rays are looking at to help them replace Carl Crawford in the outfield.

So far this season, Fuld is hitting .324 and has turned in a handful of standout defensive plays, including one last night to rob Dustin Pedroia of a run-scoring double in the third.

HONORABLE MENTION: Johnny Damon
Damon, who did not appear in a game at Fenway last season while with Detroit, returned this season with a vengeance, homering on the first pitch he saw in the top of the first and later adding two more hits and two more RBI.

Prior to his first at-bat, he was greeted with a mixed reception, though a more favorable one than he got as a member of the Yankees. After homering, though, the boos quickly outnumbered the cheers.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Daisuke Matsuzaka
Matsuzaka turned in his second stinker in as many starts this season, blasted for seven runs on eight hits in just two-plus innings.

So far, Matsuzaka's ERA stands at 12.86. With Tim Wakefield, Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront waiting in the wings, he can't afford many more starts like that if he wishes to keep his spot in the Boston rotation.

TURNING POINT
Fuld's three-run homer in the second upped the Tampa lead to 7-0 before an out could be recorded in that inning.

BY THE NUMBERS
The Rays managed to score more runs in the first six innings (12) than they had managed to score in their previous nine eight losses combined (11) this season.

QUOTE OF NOTE
"Managers like to see a lot of strikes, but tonight, (Matsuzaka) threw a lot right down the middle of the plate and they squared up a lot of balls in a hurry.'' -- Terry Francona on Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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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