3 Up, 3 Down: Who's helping & hurting Sox?

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3 Up, 3 Down: Who's helping & hurting Sox?

Jessica Moran tries to find the silver lining among a disappointing Red Sox team, identifying the three hottest Red Sox right now.

Adrian Gonzalez gets top honors. After a rough first half of the season, in which many questioned whether he was able to produce in Boston, Gonzalez has been on a roll. He's currently riding a 9-game hitting streak, and is hitting .471 in the month of August.

Pedro Ciriaco deserves some recognition as well, hitting .341 this season with 4 hits in last 9 at-bats.

Will Middlebrooks has re-discovered his power stroke this week with two homers and six RBI.

As you can imagine, there wasn't much trouble finding three disappointments.

Bobby Valentine drew the ire of management after making a sarcastic remark to Middlebrooks after the rookie had a tough inning in the field.

Everyone's favorite whipping boy is on the "Down" list as well. Josh Beckett was nothing short of terrible in his last outing, allowing 8 earned runs against the Rangers, including three home runs. It's just another in a series of poor performances from a pitcher who seems to have checked out.

And finally. The Red Sox. Yes, the entire team. The final spot on the "Down" list goes to the whole team. The Sox have a 55-58 record and have lost 7-of-9. But hey, the Patriots are back in action...

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.