Valentine: Sox' balks 'like an epidemic'


Valentine: Sox' balks 'like an epidemic'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Two balks were charged to Daniel Bard in Kansas City last week. Then came one in the second inning with Clay Buchholz. Finally, there were two more called on reliever Franklin Morales one in the seventh, one in the eighth.

"I don't get it," said Bobby Valentine Wednesday following the Red Sox' 21 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. "It's like an epidemic."

The Sox have been called for six balks this season five in the last eight games alone which are the most for any team in the American League.

Buchholz was called when he stumbled attempting to make a fake-to-third-throw-to-first pickoff move; his cleat stuck in the dirt on the mound.

"He kind of tripped off the mound," said Valentine. "It was a balk. I was watching the runner and I kind of caught it out of the corner of my eye. It looked like a balk to me. I don't get it.

"I don't know if he caught his foot in his pants or what. I didn't bother to ask because I don't think I'll ever see it again. Crazy."

As for Morales, Valentine thought he detected a double-stop in his delivery with runners on base.

"It's a surprise, yeah," said pitching coach Bob McClure of the rash of balks being called on his staff. "But I'm not going to make a big deal out of it. We'll just take a deep breath with runners on base."

McClure said the six balks committed by the staff "have all been kind of different. We'll probably go two months and not have another one."

McClure saw Morales in Colorado, where his pickoff move was so good, opposing teams swore he was balking.

"It's not a balk," said McClure of the move. "We've looked at it on video many times and obviously, so have the umpires, and they don't call it because it's not a balk. It's just a good move."

"I don't think it's something we have to (work on)," said Valentine. "I mean, Bob (McClure) will address it, sure, but I haven't ever gotten gun shy about balks. But I don't know."

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.