Another Sox anniversary: Four years since last playoff win

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Another Sox anniversary: Four years since last playoff win

This season was all about anniversaries for the Red Sox. It was the 100th anniversary of the first game played at Fenway Park, the 10-year anniversary of John Henry and friends buying the team, the unforgettable eight-year anniversary of the 2004 World Series, and, of course, the six-year anniversary of Larry Lucchino having his heart replaced with a crab apple.

With that, heres another anniversary for Larry and Dr. Charles Steinberg to run up their marketing flagpole. Today is the four-year anniversary of the last time the Red Sox won a playoff game! (Cue the music, rolling rally and Wally the Green Monster dance routine.)

The victory came on October 18, 2008, at Tropicana Field, in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Rays. And while we all know how much things have changed since that last playoff win, here's a frying-pan-in-the-face reminder: Of the 25 players on the 2008 playoff roster, only three Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester are still with the team. Although David Ortiz lingers as a potential fourth, and Clay Buchholz was on the team but not on the playoff roster.

Can you name the other 21 active Red Sox that day?

If so, you not only deserve a prize, but I'd say you're more qualified than Lucchino to run baseball ops. Here they are: David Ross, Kevin Cash, Jason Varitek, Jed Lowrie, Alex Cora, Kevin Youkilis, Sean Casey, JD Drew, Coco Crisp, Mark Kotsay, Jason Bay, Manny Delcarmen, Dice-K, Josh Beckett, Paul Byrd, Hideki Okajima, Javier Lopez, Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin, Jonathan Papelbon and Justin Masterson.

Anyway, back to Game 6: Josh Beckett was on the mound and was so-so for the Sox giving up two runs over five innings but the bullpen (Okajima, Masterson and Papelbon) pitch four scoreless inning in relief as the Sox held on for a 4-2 victory. The Sox runs came on solo home runs by Varitek and Youkilis, an Ortiz single and a Youkilis RBI ground out. Jamie Shields up four runs (three earned) over five and two-thirds innings for Tampa, while Carl Crawford went 1-4 in the fifth spot.

All in all, it was a fantastic night for the Sox as they fought back from a 3-1 series deficit to force Game 7. But it was all downhill from there and it's been four years since we've tasted the sweet juices of a playoff victory.

But hey, nothing a few more pointless anniversary celebrations can't fix.
Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.