Red Sox

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

cy_young_corey_kluber_chris_sale_111517.jpg

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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

How would Manny Machado feel playing for Yankees or Red Sox?

How would Manny Machado feel playing for Yankees or Red Sox?

WASHINGTON D.C. — It's an annual rite for any All-Star player who may be traded: on the media day ahead of the Midsummer Classic, face a bombardment of questions about that possibility, or in the case of Manny Machado, virtual inevitability. Destinations, desires and so forth.

In the case of Machado, the topics are so compelling because he’s a potential $300 million talent who could swing a pennant race. No one else so impactful is expected to be moved this year’s trade deadline.

Machado actually had a brief lull in that line of questioning Monday with reporters huddled around his table. Quickly, he was asked how the silence felt.

“Amazing,” he said.

He had just finished explaining how much of his life is up in the air.

“You just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Machado said. “There’s a lot of things — this game’s already hard enough as it is. To go out there and not know where you’re going to be tomorrow, it’s kind of tough.”

The chances of the Red Sox acquiring Machado are very slim, if not nonexistent. 

Reports make a National League landing seem more likely for Machado: the Phillies, Dodgers or Brewers.

But the bottom line is Machado would not fill Boston’s largest need. Relief help has been an area of interest for a while. Now, with Eduardo Rodriguez out until perhaps September, rotation help may be on the menu as well. Even if the Sox did for some reason crave another position player, Machado’s cost in prospects would probably be too high for the Sox’ thin farm system.

But we can play fantasy baseball for a moment. J.D. Martinez, sitting at his own table on Monday, played along.

 What would Machado bring, were he to land on the Red Sox?

“I mean any time you get a bat and a player like that in a lineup, I mean — it can’t hurt,” Martinez said, laughing.

Martinez was asked for a sales pitch.

“Come and hit balls off the Monster like he does against us all the time,” Martinez said.

On the chance Machado does end up in the AL East though — the Yankees certainly have the prospect wherewithal, if they so chose — Machado acknowledged that a transition to a rival would be weird.

“Weird? Who knows? Probably so, yeah,” Machado said. “But, you know, everyone knows that it’s just part of the business, part of everything. You just never know where things are going to happen.”

Machado and the Red Sox haven’t always been the best of friends. Asked if he was cool with the Sox after what transpired in 2017, Machado indicated the only time he harbors ill will towards them is on the field.

“Cool with them? Once I step on that field. I’m trying to beat ‘em,” Machado said. “I’m trying to beat ‘em. I’m just trying to go out there and play baseball.”

If Machado has a preference to be in a big market, he did not let on Monday.

“They’re a winning team,” Machado said when asked about the Brewers. “They want to win, they’re serious. They have a good group over there. They made a lot of pushes his offseason and they’re going to continue to do whatever they can to try to get a ring.”

“I mean I’m here to play baseball, I’m not here to sightsee. I’m here to play baseball, do my job and go home and sleep and get ready for tomorrow.”

He’ll do a form of sightseeing in D.C., though. Machado is batting behind Aaron Judge in Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

“I’m little like a mini-me going in there after that,” Machado said. “That guy’s a beast. But it’s going to be nice to actually see him from the other side. Be right behind him, see his swing. I know he has a great swing, see him from shortstop and this base.”

Machado made waves in New York because he “liked” a photoshopped image of himself in a Yankees uniform that was posted on Instagram. He told reporters Monday that was a mistake.

But has he thought about playing for the Yanks?

“You know honestly, I really don’t, to be honest,” Machado said. “I think about putting this uniform every day. I can’t think of anything else.

"Once I put on this jersey, I’m an Oriole man."

Not for long, likely.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

J.D. Martinez open to restructuring contract with Red Sox

J.D. Martinez open to restructuring contract with Red Sox

J.D. Martinez seems to like life as a member of the Red Sox.

After wrapping up an incredible first half to his inagural season in Boston, hitting .328 with 29 home runs and 82 RBI's, Martinez said he is open to restructuring his contract he signed in February. 

Martinez signed a five-year $110 million deal with Boston this past winter, including player opt-outs after the second and third years of the contract. 

Eliminating the opt-outs would secure the slugger for the entirety of his contract, something the Red Sox might want to consider given his production so far. 

Conversations on that front won't happen until after the season, so the league-best Red Sox can focus on winning another World Series with one of the hottest bats in baseball in their lineup. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE