Red Sox

Time for Crawford to go under

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Time for Crawford to go under

Hey now. Hope everyone had a great weekend, or at the very least, a better weekend than the Red Sox. Then again, even poor Tony Scott had a better weekend than Bobby V's boys; the bar isn't set very high.

But on the brightside, with 38 games left and the Sox 7.5 games back in the Wild Card, David Ortiz is finally seeing the light! And not to be outdone, John Lackey's progressing in his rehab from Tommy John surgery! The front office is currently deciding whether to have Lackey make a couple starts in September or just individually kick every Red Sox fan in the groin. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Tommy John, the big story today will no doubt be Carl Crawford, who's set to meet with the Sox this afternoon and decide once and for all whether to have surgery on his ailing elbow. According to the reports, Crawford probably will elect to have surgery (most likely tomorrow), and in the process close the curtain on his 2012 season.

The final tally: 31 games, .282 AVG, .785 OPS, three homers, 19 RBI, 22 Ks, three walks and five stolen bases. Or if you want to break it down another way, that's roughly 161K per game, 1.7M per home run and 2M per stolen base.

Not a bad deal, Carl.

But despite his latest wildly disappointing season, I don't think anyone has an issue with Crawford going under the knife. In fact, most of us wonder why it took so long. I mean, you can understand why Crawford wanted to delay things a little bit; you admire the fact that he genuinely feels bad about how his time with the Sox has gone and wants to do everything he can to make up for it. But it's obvious that we've reached the point where the best way for Crawford to make up for these last two seasons is to do everything he can to be ready for next season. To get this elbow taken care of and once again try to start fresh.

According to Sean McAdam, Tommy John recovery times for position players range from 7-9 months, which would put Crawford on track to be ready right around April. Actually, it puts Crawford on track to be ready by next August, but hopefully this time around he'll recover at a more reasonable rate. Either way, I don't think you'll hear anyone make a stink about Crawford shutting it down.

I don't think there'd be a problem if anyone wanted to shut it down. Papi? Beckett? Ellsbury? A-Gon? I don't care who it is. If you don't feel like playing, take a seat, and let's unleash the farm on Fenway for the rest of the year. Bring up Jackie Bradley, Jose Iglesias and Matt Barnes. I know Xander Boegarts is all of seven years old but bring him up, too.

I know the owners might be worried about people losing interest, but I guarantee fans would be more interested than they are right now. And who cares? After all, no matter how many people show up to Fenway, you know it still counts as a sell out.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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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