Mark Shapiro likes the Nate McLouth trade

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The GM of team with 25 wins and which sits seven games out of first place praises the GM of team with 26 wins that sits six and a half games out of first place:

[Indians’ GM Mark Shapiro] had read and heard of the public backlash
in Pittsburgh regarding the trading of All-Star outfielder Nate McLouth
to the Atlanta Braves for three prospects, and he made known in an
interview with the Post-Gazette his strong backing of Neal Huntington,
the Pirates’ general manager, as well as his longtime friend and former
front-office employee in Cleveland.

“As another general manager in a very similar market with similar
challenges, I can say that the move was not only understandable but
also wise,” Shapiro said.

Feel better, Pirates fans?

OK, that’s not fair of me. No matter where the Indians sit today,
Shapiro has done a pretty good job of putting a nucleus of talent
together, the best of which came in an All-Star for prospects deal akin
to this one. Sure, it would be silly to expect the dudes Atlanta sent
to Pittsburgh to turn into Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon
Phillips, but they aren’t chopped liver either. The move was the right
one to make, even if Pirates fans don’t think so at the moment.

Now, if Shapiro starts praising the moves Huntington makes with his bullpen . . .

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.