Crawford hopes to snap slump with big day


Crawford hopes to snap slump with big day

By MaureenMullen

CLEVELAND - Carl Crawford has struggled mightily in his first season with the Red Sox. He entered Wednesday's series finale against the Indians hitting .212 with two home runs. To say it's been a tough start for him would certainly be an understatement.

"I think so," said manager Terry Francona. "I think he, obviously he cares so much. I don't know if it's so much pats on the back as it is trying to be consistent. Sometimes you start patting them too much, they get scared. But I just think, just be consistent, because we all believe in him and I know he believes in himself. It's nice to see him swing the bat like he did, that's for sure."

After going 4-for-4 in Wednesday's 14-2 thumping of the Indians, with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored, and four RBI, Crawford has raised his average to .229, a season high for him. In May he is hitting .276, going 24-for-87, with two home runs.

"I'm just trying to have good at-bats," he said. "I definitely feel better than what I did before. I just have to take that for what it is.

"Just feels good to win a game, to help contribute. I don't really know what to say about myself personally. We won the game -- it feels nice to help do something in the game where I can contribute."

While he is still well off his career average of .293, he is hoping a game like this -- falling a triple shy of the cycle -- can kickstart his season.

"I hope," Crawford said. "Anything positive will help do something. I just try to look for anything positive to help get to the next day. It's definitely a game I can build off of."

Crawford has mostly hit in the bottom third of the order, with a handful of games at the top of the lineup. It doesn't matter to him, he said, where he hits -- as long as he hits. There might be less pressure, though, in the lower part of the lineup.

"I don't know," he said. "I don't have an answer for that. I just have to go out and play. I've been playing with pressure my whole career. So I can't say it's helped me."

Crawford has never hit for the cycle before -- not in Little League, not in high school, not in the minors.

"No, never," he said. "It's not easy."

The possibility crossed his mind briefly Wednesday.

"I thought about it at my last at-bat, not early on," he said.

While he didn't get the cycle, he does feel that his swing is getting to where he wants it to be.

"I don't know, I just feel a little bit better," he said. "I just don't like dissecting it too much because that's what got me in trouble earlier. Just trying not to give every little detail of my swing. I just feel better."

For his teammates, it's just a matter of time before Crawford is back to his customary level.

"Yeah, he swung the bat great," Dustin Pedroia said. "We still got a lot of games to go. So there'll be a time in the year where he's got plenty to carry us. We're counting on him."

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.