Red Sox

Red Sox notes: One inning dooms Wakefield

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Red Sox notes: One inning dooms Wakefield

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH One inning proved to be Tim Wakefields undoing Saturday night, as the Red Sox fell to the Pirates, 6-4, for the second straight game.

With a two-run lead in the fourth, Wakefield faced eight Pirates hitters, with four scoring. Lyle Overbay's three-run homer scoring Andrew McCutchen, who singled, and Neil Walker, who walked -- in the inning was the big blow, followed by an RBI single by Jeff Karstens, scoring Ronny Cedeno, who doubled. It was Karstens first RBI of the season.

Before the fourth, Wakefield had managed to keep the Pirates at bay, retiring them in order in the first and second, and working out of a jam in the third, when he threw two wild pitches, had two runners on base, but managed to hold Pittsburgh off the scoreboard.

Then came the fourth inning.

It was one of those innings where I just fell out of rhythm and gave up a three run homer and that pretty much cost us the game, Wakefield said.

I was just trying to be too quick to the plate. The guys that got on were really fast runners, and I was trying to give catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, in case of a steal, a chance to throw guys out. Lost a little feel and lost a little rhythm.

I think Wake battled his butt off tonight, Saltalamacchia said. He fell behind. Didnt have the consistent strikes that he had the last time. They were putting the ball in play. They got some infield hits. The Overbay home run hurt us but theres nothing you can do about it, 3-2 count, we threw the knuckle. Overbay did a good job.

As he usually does against the Red Sox. For Overbay, who is hitting .307 against the Sox, the home run was his 13th against the Red Sox, more than he has against any other team. He entered the game batting .333 (9-for-27) with one home run and five RBI in his career against Wakefield, while hitting just .231 this season.

Its definitely a tough matchup, Wakefield said. Especially when I feel behind him 2-0. Trying to get back in, throwing fastballs in that situation and I got to 3-2 and I threw a knuckleball that just didnt have anything on it at the end and he hit it out.

In the eighth inning, the Sox had the tying runs on base with two outs and Marco Scutaro at the plate to face lefty Tony Watson. Manager Terry Francona was asked if he considered using David Ortiz to pinch-hit in that situation.

No. I was hoping theyd bring in a righty. Then we would have, he said. We want to hit David next. If they brought in a righty we would have had David hit for Scoot and have Drew Sutton hit next and put him in at short.

Dustin Pedroias fourth error of the season, on Andrew McCutchens fifth-inning grounder allowed the Pirates to score their fifth run, as Chase dArnaud scored from second.

I put my head up to see if the runner was going, to see if the guy that was on second was going to go to third, Pedroia said. And I took my eye off the ball. Thats basically it. I missed it.

The crowd of 49,483 was the largest ever at PNC Park.

Right-hander Bobby Jenks threw one inning in a rehab appearance for Double-A Portland. He went one scoreless inning, giving up one hit, no walks, with one strikeout, throwing 13 pitches, eight for strikes.

Pittsburghs relievers have held the Sox scoreless over a combined 5 13 innings in the first two games of the series.

They got a good staff, Saltalamacchia said. I think Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is doing a great job just mixing them up, putting lefties on lefties, righties on righties, something that the American League's not too used to. But we got to do a better job putting some runs on the board, and just playing solid defense.

Were not familiar with their guys, Pedroia said. Weve seen them once in spring training but thats basically it.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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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