On owning a Major League pitcher

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On owning a Major League pitcher

Last night at Fenway, Kelly Shoppach hit a home run.

This was naturally a little weird, because Kelly Shoppach is Kelly Shoppach. The second inning blast was only his fourth of the season and the 63rd of his eight-year career.

But what wasn't weird is that Shoppach's homer came against Mark Buehrle, a typically-solid pitcher who the typically scant-hitting catcher has absolutely owned over his career. How owned? This owned: After last night, Shoppach's a lifetime 8-18 with four home runs against Buehrle.

Anyway, it got me thinking: How rare is it to see one batter so ruthlessly dominate a particular pitcher?

Answer: It would take much longer than one afternoon to figure out.

So instead and with a little (OK, a lot) of help from Baseball-Reference I went through the hitting history of the Red Sox should-be starting nine (only with Youkilis in for Middlebrooks for history's sake) and picked out the pitchers who each guy has dominated the most during his career.

Does anyone hold a candle to Shoppach?

The answer lies ahead (with a helping hand from Drunk Chris Berman):

Jarrod Saltalamacchia has 51 career homers, and there are only three pitchers against whom he's hit more than one. But it's interesting to note that in all three cases, Salty's two homers have come in a tiny, dominating span of at-bats. He's 4-4 with two homers and a double against Arizona's Jensen Lewis Can't Lose. He's 3-5 with two homers against the White Sox Philip Humb and Humber and 2-3 with two homers against now-retired Mike Bacsik Instinct, who's much better known as the guy who served up Barry Bonds' record 756th homer.

Going around the infield, Adrian Gonzalez is 4-5 with two homers against Rich Jean Claude van den Hurk. For a large sample size, Gonzalez is 7-10 with two homers and three RBI against Colby College Lewis and 7-10 with with two homers and five RBI against Ramon A the Pest Ortiz.

Dustin Pedroia has four homers in 17 at-bats against David "I'm Keith Hernandez" Hernandez, but those are his only hits. He's also 4-7 with two homers and seven RBI against Rafael Betancourt Room Drama and 11-21 with one homer and four RBI against Joba the Hut Chamberlain.

Mike Aviles is 9-16 with a home run against Freddy Got Fingered Garcia.

Like Salty, Kevin Youkilis has had his way with Jensen Lewis Can't Lose to the tune of 7-10 with a homer and three RBI. He's also 5-7 against now-retired Todd Williams-Sonoma and is an impressive 4-7 with two homers against current Red Sox teammate Alfredo "I'm not going to give him a nickname for fear of him devouring my unborn children" Aceves.

In the outfield, Jacoby Ellsbury's 8-16 with three homers and eight RBI against Brandon Just Thinking Aout To Morrow and 2-5 with two homers against Orioles hurler Jake Arrieta Huffington. For pure average, Jacoby is a perfect 5-5 against Detroit's Rich Porcello Pudding Pop and 5-7 against Toronto's Scott Brand Paper Towels Richmond.

Carl Crawford hasn't been especially dominant of any pitcher, but he does have two homers in three at-bats against retired-Royal Shawn Sedlacek Eye Surgery. As far as guys who are still active, Crawford greatest success has come equally against Brad Take a Penny Leave a Penny and Livan La Vida Loca Hernandez. CC is 7-11 with a homer and three RBI against each. (He's also 21-69 against CC).

For the third Sox outfielder, let's go with Cody Ross, who's a ridiculous 6-6 with a homer and seven RBI against Mark St. John's Redman.

Lastly, the DH. David Ortiz loves him some Seth Mayor McClung. Ortiz is 4-8 with four homers and seven RBI against the former Raycurrent Brewer. In terms of average, Papi has two favorites (although both have since retired): He was 8-12 against former Indian Chuck Nagy Bragy Heart and 11-18 with a homer and three doubles against former White Sox left Jim Parque Floor.

And that's a wrap.

I'd like to thank Kelly Shoppach and Mark Buehrle for inspiring this post. Baseball-Reference for all the awesome info. And of course, Drunk Chris Berman for his valuable time and effort.

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.