Lackey done, Red Sox work to get Cameron

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Update: Rosenthal reports that a two-year contract worth $15.5 million is nearly done.
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According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox, who have already come to terms with John Lackey today, are working on a two-year deal with Mike Cameron.
It’d be nice to see the perpetually underrated Cameron finally get a chance to work in a true hitter’s park for the first time in his career. He’s still a strong defensive center fielder, and he’s been completely healthy the last three years after missing time each of the previous three seasons.
Still, he’s not a perfect fit for a Red Sox team in need of a Jason Bay replacement. Jacoby Ellsbury’s defensive statistics were well down last year, but it was probably more a fluke than anything. Besides a poor throwing arm, his only flaw is that he takes some bad routes to balls and that’s something he’ll continue to improve at with experience. The Red Sox would likely push him to left with Cameron in the fold. Considering that Cameron has the significantly better arm, it’d make no sense to stash him in front of the Green Monster and leave Ellsbury in center.
The Red Sox also have Jeremy Hermida in the fold. Now, Cameron has about 70 points of OPS on Hermida these last two years, but if the Red Sox really believed that Hermida was going to post another 740 OPS, they never would have acquired him in the first place. I’d say the two project pretty similarly as hitters next year, which means the Red Sox would be mostly paying Cameron for his defense, and that might not be the right strategy given that Boston’s left fielders have little ground to cover 81 times per season.
Cameron had previously been linked most frequently with the Cubs, under the assumption that they’d sign him once they traded Milton Bradley. It looks like they’ll miss out now, which might force them to turn to Marlon Byrd or Coco Crisp in center.

Kershaw-Sale anything but a pitcher’s duel

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World Series Game 1 was billed as a battle of aces, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw against Chris Sale of the Red Sox. Between them, they have 14 All-Star Game nominations. Kershaw has won three Cy Young Awards. Sale could his first Cy Young Award this year. Among his 10 seasons with at least 110 innings pitched, Kershaw has never posted a sub-2.92 ERA. Sale has been at 2.90 or below in each of the last two seasons. The two have combined for over 4,000 career strikeouts and both have averaged better than a strikeout per inning over their careers.

And yet Tuesday’s Game 1 was anything but a pitcher’s duel between Kershaw and Sale. Though a couple of fielding mistakes weren’t of any help to Kershaw in the first inning, Red Sox batters were squaring him up good. Of the five balls put in play in the first inning, three had exit velocities of 100 MPH or higher. Of the 12 total balls put in play against him overall, five reached triple digits in exit velo.

Kershaw gave up a pair of runs in the first, another run in the third on a J.D. Martinez double to straightaway center field, and another two in the fifth. Kershaw led off the fifth by walking Mookie Betts, then giving up a single to Andrew Benintendi, ending his night. Ryan Madson relieved Kershaw and proceeded to allow both inherited runners to score. All told, Kershaw yielded five runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts on 79 pitches in four-plus innings.

Sale, meanwhile, was on the hook for individual runs in the second, third, and fifth. Dodger hitters weren’t squaring him up quite as well as the Red Sox batters squared up Kershaw, but Sale was still more hittable than usual. Of the eight balls put in play against him, four were at least 90 MPH in exit velo. One of the runs was a no-doubt solo home run to Matt Kemp in the second. The Dodgers chased Sale in the fifth when he issued a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier. Matt Barnes relieved him allowed the inherited runner to score. Overall, Sale threw 91 pitches in four-plus innings, serving up three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

The game is now, as has been generally the case throughout this postseason, a battle of the bullpens.