Red Sox

Wakeup call: A turning point for the U.S.?; 'no deal' between Vilma, NFL

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Wakeup call: A turning point for the U.S.?; 'no deal' between Vilma, NFL

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, August 7:

BASEBALL
If he'd been this honest and approachable during his career, people might actually like Barry Bonds. (CSN Bay Area)

Just a little too much Justin Verlander for the Yankees last night. (AP)

The O'Malleys are back in baseball: Peter O'Malley and golfer Phil Mickelson head a group that's reached agreement to buy the Padres. (AP)

Long time no see, Evan Longoria. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
A little thing like a hip fracture won't keep Jim Calhoun off UConn's bench. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Penn State has lost nine players since the NCAA announced its sanctions against the program, but Bill O'Brien thinks that'll be it. (AP)

Meanwhile, one of the school's trustees is appealing the penalty. (AP)

All those years that his father hung with Bill Belichick apparently rubbed off on Hud Mellancamp, who's trying to make the Duke team as a walk-on. (AP)

HOCKEY
Deadline? What deadline? Donald Fehr says there's plenty of time for the NHL and NHLPA to reach a labor agreement. (AP)

Looks like Manny Malhotra and Jason Garrison won't be spotted in any Vancouver Chick-Fil-A's anytime soon. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
The "Regime Team" found its stride in the second half against Argentina -- turning a 60-59 halftime lead into a 126-97 rout -- and Jack McCallum thinks we may look back on this as the turning point. (NBC)

Pro Soccer Talk's Jenna Pei explains why Alex Morgan's game-winning goal Monday, which lifted the U.S. women into the gold-medal game, was just another case of "Alex being Alex". (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

Mystery solved: We know, at last, the identity of Michael Phelps' girlfriend. (NBC's Off The Bench)

And because contrived controversies aren't limited to politics in Fox Land . . . (Off The Bench)

PRO BASKETBALL
Relax, Bulls fans. Luol Deng says he's fine. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
As everyone feared, the family confirmed Monday that the death of Garrett Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, was drug related. (CSN Philly)

Rumors are flying of a "settlement" between the NFL and Jonathan Vilma, in which the Saints' lineman will have his season-long suspension for his participation in Bountygate reduced in return for his dropping his lawsuit against commissioner Roger Goodell. The league, however, calls the reports "completely inaccurate". (AP)

The Ravens' Bryant McKinnie a) apparently borrowed 4.5 million from a lending agency during last year's lockout, and b) then didn't pay it back. So the Ravens will pay it for him by withholding half his salary and sending it to a company called Pro Player Funding. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Another thing you'd probably never have seen if the NFL hadn't locked out the officials: A woman will serve as line judge in Thursday's Packers-Chargers exhibition. (AP)

"Congratulations, Seahawks fans. Or, as the case may be, condolences." Mike Florio said it better than anything I might come up with. (Pro Football Talk)

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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