For the Red Sox, is this rock bottom?


For the Red Sox, is this rock bottom?

From Comcast SportsNetBOSTON (AP) -- Josh Hamilton started trotting around the bases rather than trying to catch a glimpse of where his home run landed in the right field seats at Fenway Park.It may have been too far for him to really see.Hamilton's three-run shot in the eighth was one of six homers the Texas Rangers hit in an 18-3 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.Mike Napoli hit a pair of two-run shots to lead the home run derby for the Rangers, who increased their winning streak to five straight."The ball was carrying pretty good tonight," Hamilton said.Only for the visiting club.For the Red Sox and fans hoping to get an early start on Fenway Park's 100th birthday, all celebrating ceased in the top of the second when the Rangers batted around and were well on their way to chasing starter Jon Lester in the third.The Rangers topped their four-run second and three more in the third by scoring eight in the eighth. Hamilton started it with a blast that landed about a third of the way up the seats in right. It wasn't quite as far as the red chair commemorating Ted Williams' 502-foot shots, but it was a lot closer than most others."Obviously I don't stand and watch it so I don't exactly where it hit," Hamilton said. "It felt good when it came off the bat."Hamilton matched his career high with five RBIs and finished with three hits. He was coming off a three RBI game at Minnesota, which included the winning homer in the eighth."He's a talented baseball player. That's how you describe him. He's a very talented baseball player," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Nothing he does out there surprises me, at no time, because he's capable of doing it. It's not like that's something (where) he just gets hot and that's going to happen."Adrian Beltre followed him with a solo homer in the eighth Nelson Cruz added another later in the inning, all off of Boston reliever Mark Melancon.Michael Young was the other Texas player to homer."We're really good all the way up and down," said leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler, who had two hits and walked twice. "One through nine, we're capable of scoring runs. Tonight we were able to put all together and string a bunch of quality at-bats back-to-back."Texas finished with a season-high 21 hits, tagging Lester for eight of them before the Boston ace was pulled in the third inning."It was one of those nights where I flat out stunk," Lester said. "When I did make the adjustment and try and get back into the zone, it wasn't good enough. It wasn't a good night for me."Lester had pitched well in his first two starts, but didn't have much run support.The Rangers provided more than offense for Colby Lewis (2-0), who settled down after a shaky start and finished pitched seven solid innings.It was the most home runs for the Rangers in a game since they hit six against Detroit in August 2008."I can't describe this one," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said, adding to what has already been a difficult week.Boston star Kevin Youkilis struck out in all four of his at-bats. He did not play Monday because of a minor groin injury on a tense day at Fenway Park -- Valentine had apologized for remarks that criticized Youkilis.The Rangers scored four times in the second and added three more in the third for a 7-2 lead.They broke it open with an eight-run eighth that included a three-run homer by Hamilton and shots by Beltre and Cruz. The big inning came to an end when Beltre flied out and Boston fans gave the Red Sox a series of mock cheers.Texas chased Lester (0-2) in the third after his control struggles left the bases loaded and nobody out. Lester threw 49 pitches in the second and allowed seven runs on eight hits and walked four. His ERA more than doubled, going from 2.40 to 5.82 by the time the Rangers were done with him.The night had a promising start for Boston when the first three Red Sox got hits off Lewis. Mike Aviles led off with a single, then Dustin Pedroia homered.It was a short-lived lead.Cruz doubled with one out in the second and Napoli homered over the Green Monster. The Rangers added two more before Young, who led off the inning by striking out, ended it with a grounder to first. Young was the only Texas player not to reach base in the inning.Lewis was starting in place of rookie Yu Darvish, who was pushed back a spot in the rotation in so he could have four days of rest between starts. He allowed just the two runs on Pedroia's homer, struck out seven and didn't walk anybody."He started keeping the ball down and changing speeds and really kept them off balance," Washington said. "To recover from that first inning the way it went just goes to show you the type of pitcher that Colby Lewis is."Adrian Gonzalez added a solo homer for Boston in the eighth.NOTES:Texas 1B Mitch Moreland returned to the club after having surgery on an infected abscessed tooth, causing him to miss two games. ... Darvish (1-0) is scheduled to start Wednesday against Boston RHP Josh Beckett (1-1). ... Boston OF Carl Crawford had four at-bats Tuesday in an extended spring training game in Florida for his first playing time since having surgery on his left wrist. Valentine said Crawford walked once, made contact the other three times and felt good afterward. ... Valentine said there is no timetable for the return of CF Jacoby Ellsbury, who is out with a partially separated right shoulder. ... Valentine let it slip that the Red Sox will be wearing throwback uniforms on Friday night when they host the Yankees on the 100th anniversary of the first game major league game played at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have not announced anything about the uniforms. ... Hamilton hasn't walked in his 46 at-bats this season and Young hasn't walked yet in 45.

No-brainer: Cubs rolling with Jon Lester again in World Series Game 1

No-brainer: Cubs rolling with Jon Lester again in World Series Game 1

CLEVELAND - The Cubs are undefeated in the 2016 postseason when Jon Lester takes the mound, including two Game 1 appearances.

So the Cubs are going to stick with what works.

The team announced Lester as the starter for Game 1 of the World Series at Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland Tuesday night.

"We win when he pitches," Anthony Rizzo said. "It's our mentality with all our pitchers but with him, it feels different."

Lester - the co-MVP of the National League Championship Series - is 2-0 this postseason with a 0.86 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in three starts spanning 21 innings. He has thrown at least six innings in each outing, including a gritty Game 5 performance against the Dodgers in the NLCS, allowing only one run in seven innings to send the series back to Chicago on a high note.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon believes Lester is cementing his name in franchise history with his playoff dominance.

"There is an incredible amount of calm that I'm seeing from the dugout when I'm watching him out there right now," Maddon said. "He's really, really in the moment. He's calm. Gosh, he's just eager to get out and pitch."

With his success this October, Lester now has a 2.50 ERA in 19 career postseason games (17 starts) and 119 innings. 

This is exactly what the Cubs signed up for when they handed the veteran southpaw a megadeal before the 2015 season - one of the best postseason pitchers of this generation.

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Lester has been asked several times over the last couple weeks what he can attribute his playoff dominance to and he always shrugs it off and deflects credit to the team.

"I had good fastball command. It wasn't erratic," he said. "It was missing to the side of the plate that I wanted to be on. I think when I'm able to do that, it makes the other pitches better.

"I guess that's kind of like your cooke-cutter answer, but I mean, for me, that's what it comes down to. ... The well-executed fastball in October is just the same as it is in June."

After Lester, Jake Arrieta said Monday he would be set to go in Game 2 in Cleveland.

That lines up Kyle Hendricks for Game 3 and another opportunity at Wrigley Field, where he has a 1.38 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 111.2 innings (including three postseason starts).

During the regular season, the Cubs had the best starting rotation in the big leagues, in part because they kept feeding off each other and competed within the pitching staff.

"I can specifically remember several times when Kyle would have a nice outing and go six or seven and give up one or two and I'd be like, 'You can't be giving up two runs, man,'" Arrieta joked. "It'd be after I went out and pitched eight scoreless or something like that.

"We'd just mess with each other like that. It's a friendly competition that most rotations have. ... To have that, to feed off each other, to fire each other up, it's one of the reasons we've pitched so well and why we're here."

The Indians are starting ace Corey Kluber - the 2014 American League Cy Young winner - in Game 1 and will slot in some combination of Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin for Games 2 and 3.

The Indians also aren't ruling out utilizng Kluber on short rest in Game 4 Saturday in Chicago and possibly even Game 7 if the series gets that far.

Indians' Trevor Bauer hopes to face Cubs in Game 2 of World Series

Indians' Trevor Bauer hopes to face Cubs in Game 2 of World Series

CLEVELAND — Trevor Bauer is back on his normal schedule and aims to pitch in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday.

Whether or not the Cleveland Indians will opt for Bauer, who left his last outing on Oct. 17 when a wound on his right hand began to bleed uncontrollably, remains to be seen. The status of Bauer’s mangled right pinky is still in question after he suffered a drone-related injury that required several stitches and resulted in a bloody mess during Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. Bauer threw off the mound as scheduled during Monday’s pre-World Series workout at Progressive Field. The Cubs and Indians open the 112th World Series on Tuesday night and Bauer could pitch the following night if all is well, though manager Terry Francona hasn’t committed to any plan thus far.

“When he gets through that, we'll know a lot more,” Francona said. “The hope is that he's ready to pitch on Wednesday. But if there's any ambiguity or any questions, we'll bump him back to Game 3.”

Bauer suffered the injury several days before the Game 3 start at the Rogers Centre. Bauer thought he could pitch anyway despite the injury after he successfully navigated his pre-start routine. Not only did he throw a bullpen and play long toss, Bauer humped his fastball up to 95 mph and felt as if he had good stuff when he faced the Toronto Blue Jays. But 21 pitches into his start, Bauer began to bleed uncontrollably and was ultimately pulled from the start.

“It was a big letdown for me because I felt like I had a good chance to go out and be successful and help the team,” Bauer said.

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The Indians won Game 3 as the bullpen delivered 8 1/3 strong innings after Bauer exited. He has since worked closely with the training staff and has prepared like he normally does. Bauer requested Monday’s round of live batting practice to shake off some of the rust and is hopeful Francona calls upon him on Wednesday.

“I’m preparing how I normally prepare for a start and they’ll tell me when I’m going to go out there and pitch,” Bauer said. “We’re targeting (Game) 2, but again, it’s Terry’s decision and we’ll know more as game time approaches.

“Everything is going good.”

The Indians have Josh Tomlin waiting in the wings if Bauer isn’t ready. If that were the case, Tomlin would start Game 2 and Bauer would receive the nod in Game 3 in Chicago on Friday night.