Red Sox

Weiland learns the hard way in MLB debut

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Weiland learns the hard way in MLB debut

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- Kyle Weiland sat in silence at his locker on Sunday morning with his headphones on. The music coming through the speakers drowned out any noise going on around him in the Red Sox clubhouse.

The quiet was temporary, though. It wouldnt be long before he was surrounded by a stadium packed with over 37,000 fans, cheering and reacting to every pitch he threw in his Major League debut at Fenway Park.

The outing didnt go exactly as planned.

Weiland, 24, was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill-in in an injury-stricken starting rotation. (He was 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA for the PawSox this season.) Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before the game that he looked excited and confident -- and it showed in his 1-2-3 first inning.

But the Orioles bats would not be so quiet in the second. They scored six runs off seven hits, including a home run by Derrek Lee. The Red Sox two-run lead quickly became a four-run deficit. Francona kept Weiland in the game, however, as the Red Sox fought back to tie the game at six apiece by the end of the second inning.

Second inning was a difficult inning, said Francona following the Red Sox 8-6 win. A couple of bleeders, a couple of balls hit really hard, a lot of hits and a lot of runs. Saying that, he stayed composed and gave us some more. At a point, you cant go too far. Alfredo Aceves (who began warming up in the bullpen) is pitching as much as he is down in the bullpen.

"Stuff was good, just didnt locate a couple and really paid for it. Hes probably not used to paying for it that much . . . in the minor leagues, maybe you get away with some of those. You throw it to Derrek Lee over the heart of the plate and it goes a long way.

While the runs stopped coming from the Orioles, Weiland faced a new set of difficulties. He hit Mark Reynolds with a pitch in the third inning, and after Jeremy Guthrie hit Kevin Youkilis in the fourth, both teams were warned. Weiland missed on a pitch to Vladimir Guerrero the following inning and hit him on the hand, leading to an automatic ejection of both him and Francona.

Not really the way Weiland pictured leaving the mound in his debut (13.50 ERA, 4.0 IP, 8H, 6ER, 2BB, 2K).

Its not exactly what you have written out and planned for, but it is what it is and it was a great experience, he said. I got the first one under my belt. Obviously I would have liked a few things to go different, got a little ahead of myself, things kind of snowballed on me in the second inning. But obviously having this Red Sox lineup supporting me is a luxury, so it got us right back into the game. After that I felt like I started to calm down and control the adrenaline a little bit more.

Aceves entered the game in place of Weiland, whom Francona said would not have continued to pitch much longer even if he had not been ejected, and helped keep the game under control for the Red Sox in their victory.

The debut -- ejection and all -- was a learning experience for Weiland. Later in the game Orioles reliever Michael Gonzalez and manager Buck Showalter were also thrown out as a result of the warning issued earlier in the game. It capped off a heated series between the two games that included a brawl on Friday night.

Obviously everything up here at this point is all new to me, Weiland said. So when the ejection happened I was like, well, thats the rules I guess. I didnt think the warnings were really warranted. Youkilis got hit on a changeup, so that was a little confusing that we got warned, but if thats the way the rules go, I know with the past few games you cant really do much about it and had to take a walk.

With his big-league debut in the books, Weiland can look back on it and grow. The Red Sox can also looked toward him in the future.

I thought he threw the ball much better than his results, said Jason Varitek, who caught Weiland. He learned a lot, hes come a long way from the last time I got to see him.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

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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