Crawford's bat makes up for lost time


Crawford's bat makes up for lost time

Two games do not a season make, but this much is clear: Carl Crawford, his season delayed by injuries for 3 12 months, is off to a good start.

After collecting a hit and walk and scoring two runs Monday night in his debut, Crawford picked up three hits, scored two bases and stole three bases in the Red Sox' 7-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox Tuesday night.

"Carl's playing with a real fire,'' said Bobby Valentine, "and that's a good thing to see.''

Indeed, with his three steals, Crawford accomplished something he didn't do all of last season. In 2012, he twice had two steals in a game, but never three.

Add in two infield hits -- one on a chopper to second, the other on a roller to third -- and Crawford is playing with an aggressiveness that he seldom displayed last year.

"It feels good,'' said Crawford. "It's best to get off to a hot start around here and so far I've been successful at it. It's definitely easier to relax once you do the things you're trying to.''

It helps that Crawford is again hitting at the top of the order, where, teamed with Jacoby Ellsbury, the Sox boast some speed.

Ellsbury stole a base in the first and rode home on Crawford's single to right. Then, in the third, Ellsbury tagged up and moved to second when Crawford hit a fly ball to the warning track in center.

"It's part of our game,'' said Crawford of the aggressive style, "and it's something we can attack teams with. It's something we have to use, especially with Big Papi (David Ortiz) being out. When you're doing it all the time, it becomes fun and you enjoy doing it.

"Being aggressive is my style of play, so that's something I've been wanting to do.''

A year ago, Crawford found himself lodged in the sixth or seventh spot, which limited what he could do. Now, as the No. 2 hitter, he's free to play the game the way he did in Tampa.

"This is my game,'' said Crawford. "It's been my game my whole career. I really didn't get a chance to show that last year. I'm thankful for the opportunity this year to have a few games to be able to show what I can do out there. Hopefully, it's a spot where they'd like to see me stay.''

Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists


Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists

Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Mookie Betts in right and Dustin Pedroia at second base are the Red Sox' finalists for the American League Gold Glove awards.

The Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar and the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier are the other A.L. center field finalists. The White Sox’ Adam Eaton and Astros’ George Springer are A.L. right field finalists. Joining Pedroia as second base finalists are the Mariners’ Robinson Cano and Tigers’ Ian Kinsler.

Peoria has won four Gold Gloves. Bradley and Betts have yet to win one.

The full list of finalists is here.  The awards will be presented on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. on ESPN

The Red Sox sent out a series of tweets backing each player’s candidacy.

Betts is also a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player.


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.