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Orioles' Zach Britton not named as a Cy Young award finalist

Orioles' Zach Britton not named as a Cy Young award finalist

Orioles reliever Zach Britton had a sensational 2016 campaign.

The 28-year-old LHP finished a perfect 47-for-47 in save situations and ended the season with a 0.54 ERA in 57 innings of work. Britton's 2016 season was one of the best in the history of relief pitching.

But when the Baseball Writers Association of America unveiled its ballot for the 2016 A.L. Cy Young award, Britton's name was nowhere to be found. Instead, the BBWAA tabbed three starting pitchers: Cleveland's Corey Kluber, Boston's Rick Porcello and Detroit's Justin Verlander as the top three finalists.

Manager Buck Showalter was one of the many dumbfounded by the decision. “It’s shocking,” Showalter said, via MASN's Roch Kubatko. “That’s a real poor reflection on the people who are evaluating him. God bless the three guys in front of him. They were doing it every fifth day and he’s doing it every day. I’m not so sure any of those guys could do what Zach does." 

“This guy had maybe the best year in the history of relief pitching. He should have finished in the top three in MVP, OK? He should. There’s nobody in baseball who’s more valuable to their team than Zach Britton is to the Orioles."

Showalter himself is up for the A.L. Manager of the Year award, but Britton not being tabbed as one of the three finalists is the biggest news from the unveiling of the finalists.

Relievers are often left out off Cy Young award ballots because voters do not believe specialists, specifically one-inning specialists, to not play a big enough role in the entire 162-gamer season, in the same fashion as pitchers often being left off of MVP award ballots.

The last A.L. reliever to win the Cy Young award was Oakland's Dennis Eckersley, who saved 51 games in 1992, not only winning the Cy Young award, but the A.L. MVP award as well. Dodgers' closer Eric Gagne was the last ninth-inning specialist to win the award regardless of league, doing so in 2003. 

RELATED: ORIOLES RELEASE SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

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Matt Barnes tossed for nearly beaning Manny Machado as Red Sox beat Orioles

Matt Barnes tossed for nearly beaning Manny Machado as Red Sox beat Orioles

BALTIMORE (AP) -- A spikes-high slide. A near beanball. Harsh talk in the clubhouse.

The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles soared to a new level over the weekend, and there's no telling what might happen when they soon meet again.

A tempestuous three-game series between these AL East foes wound up with Orioles star Manny Machado seeing a fastball sail behind his head and Matt Barnes getting ejected for throwing it Sunday in Boston's 6-2 victory.

The high, very inside pitch came two days after Machado spiked Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia with an aggressive slide.

Pedroia watched from the dugout for a second straight day with knee and ankle injuries. Machado apologized with a text message on Friday night, but that evidently wasn't the end of it.

"That's on them," Machado said. "Whatever happened today, I'm going to keep (being) me."

When Machado batted in the sixth inning, Eduardo Rodriguez threw three pitches down and in near the knees. Machado came up again in the eighth and Barnes' fastball whizzed behind Machado and hit his bat. The ball hit Machado and rolled foul, and plate umpire Andy Fletcher tossed Barnes.

"I would never intentionally throw at someone's head. That's kind of a line you don't cross," Barnes said.

Boston manager John Farrell -- who on Saturday called the league office to discuss about what he called "an illegal slide" by Machado -- insisted Barnes' wayward pitch was nothing more than an accident.

"He was trying to take a four-seamer in and above his hands and the pitch got away from him," Farrell said.

But Orioles first baseman Chris Davis thought the fastball was intentionally directed at Machado's head.

"I think it was completely obvious," Davis said. "I haven't seen a guy miss that bad in a while -- behind a guy's head."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter appeared reluctant to criticize the Red Sox, but said, "The courage it takes not to retaliate a lot of times in life is a lot more challenging than doing what ended up happening today."

During Farrell's argument with Fletcher, Pedroia was standing on the top step in the dugout and whistled to catch Machado's attention. He mouthed the words "It's not me," evidently trying to show he was not seeking revenge. Machado acknowledged Pedroia and later pointed to his head.

"I had nothing to do with that. That's not how you do that, man," Pedroia said afterward. "I'm sorry to him and his team. If you're going to protect guys, you do it right away."

After the game resumed, Machado hit Joe Kelly's first pitch for an RBI double to make it 6-1.

Machado ended up making the last out, hitting a popup on a pitch from Craig Kimbrel, who got his seventh save.

The Red Sox and Orioles play again May 1 at Fenway Park. Asked whether the teams will put this behind them by then, Davis said, "Honestly, if you ask anybody in here, we're already past it. We didn't agree with what happened, we didn't appreciate it but we can't let those things dwell."

Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez homered on successive pitches in a four-run first inning, and Andrew Benintendi had a career-high five hits to help Boston avert a three-game sweep.

Mitch Moreland also homered for the Red Sox, who came in with a major-league low eight home runs. All the long balls were off Kevin Gausman (1-2), who found himself in a 4-0 hole after throwing only seven pitches.

Rodriguez (1-1) allowed one hit over six innings, walking five and striking out seven. Obtained in the 2014 trade that sent Andrew Miller to the Orioles, Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA in six career starts at Camden Yards.

Not only did the Red Sox play a second straight game without Pedroia, but third baseman Pablo Sandoval left with a sprained right knee.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Farrell says because there's still some swelling in Pedroia's knee and ankle areas, he will "go through some imaging" Monday in Boston. "At this point, it warrants a further look," Farrell said. ... LHP David Price (elbow) participated in a long-toss session Sunday and will pitch a few simulated innings at Fenway Park on Monday.

Orioles: Closer Zach Britton (forearm strain) will start throwing Monday after having his hand examined.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: After an off day Monday, Boston opens a season-high, 10-game homestand Tuesday night in a matchup with the Yankees.

Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 5.51 ERA) goes up the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series. The Rays are 1-6 on the road.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles prospects 4/22: Chris Tillman’s rehab continues

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Homers by Mancini and Schoop carry Orioles past Red Sox 4-2

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Homers by Mancini and Schoop carry Orioles past Red Sox 4-2

BALTIMORE -- Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop homered in succession off knuckleballer Steven Wright, Jayson Aquino won his first big league start and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.

Baltimore will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday. The Orioles have not lost a series this year and own the best record in the majors (12-4).

Aquino (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings to earn his first career victory. The 24-year-old lefty previously pitched three times in relief, all last year with Baltimore.

Mychal Givens followed with two perfect innings, Donnie Hart got two outs in the ninth and Darren O'Day finished for his first save.

Jackie Bradley Jr. homered for the Red Sox, who were without injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Wright (1-2) gave up four runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. Just 10 days earlier, the right-hander got only four outs and yielded eight runs against Baltimore at Fenway Park.

Bradley put the Red Sox up 2-0 in the third with his first home run, a shot onto Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard. Boston came in with only seven home runs, fewest in the big leagues.

Limited to three singles over the first three innings, Baltimore hit two singles, two doubles and two homers in a four-run fourth.

Chris Davis doubled and Mancini and Schoop homered before Adam Jones chased Wright with an RBI single.

It was Mancini's team-high fifth long ball of the year. He has eight homers in 17 big league games over two seasons.

More Orioles: WAS MANNY MACHADO'S SLIDE INTO DUSTIN PEDROIA DIRTY?​