Red Sox hope days off serve as relief


Red Sox hope days off serve as relief

By MaureenMullen

BOSTON Perhaps Wednesdays rain-out combined with Thursdays scheduled off-day will be the elixir for what has been ailing the Red Sox.

Definitely, turn the page, you know, said David Ortiz in the Red Sox clubhouse, shortly after the announcement that Wednesdays game against the Rays had been postponed because of the weather. Make things better and start winning ballgames.

Ortiz has seen signs of his team coming out of its 2-9 quagmire to start the season.

Oh yeah, better swinging and better contact, he said. The things that you want to see. Its just a matter of time things are going get better. They cant get no worse.

What has surprised him most about the Sox start?

Not winning, he said. We expect to win and its not happening. Its ugly because at one point you want to start winning. We had a good series against the Yankees and then we got Tampa that were playing . . . theyre probably worse than us . . . We got to change things and make sure they get better.

With the offense hitting a combined .230, going 7-for-52 (.134) with runners in scoring position, and the pitching staff posting a combined ERA of 6.77, theres plenty of blame to be shared. Ortiz said its on the players, and not the manager or coaches.

Its the players, man, Ortiz said. Its us. Fans and everybody got our back. We need to bounce back and try to win some games. We can't ask more than the fans being great and I know its depressing and I know that its early in the season, but this is the Red Sox, man. Im not used to that. Ive been here nine years and Im not used to that. I mean I look at it and its frustrating. I never used that word but I have to now.

But, manager Terry Francona sees it differently. The staff and players are one unit, he said.

I think its up to us, Francona said. I think thats the biggest thing is its up to us. I mean, I appreciate what Davids saying but as a staff I dont think we want to point fingers. Its our job to certainly to understand where we need to play better. But I dont ever want them to feel like its us against them. Its easy to stand up here and pat them on the back, and we got to do that a lot. When things arent going well I think its important to be there for them. I want them to feel that way.

Its highly unusual to have consecutive days without a game on the baseball calendar. Francona hopes his team can use the down time to its advantage.

Were not going to win, were not going to lose, he said. That would be the hope. I dont think theres anything that happens that we dont try to have be our benefit. If youre going to sit around, OK, guysll hit in the cage, theyll lift, youll get the bullpens, guys that get a chance to not throw. But anything, we always try to look to take advantage of.

The mental break can also be beneficial.

I dont think thatll hurt, Francona said. I dont think thatll hurt one bit. Justifiably, were all answering questions, but you have to. To be able to step away for a day, hopefully thatll help.

Having a mostly veteran team can help. Most of them have been through something like this at some point in their careers.

It needs to be helpful, Francona said We know where were at. Were very aware of that. Weve been through a lot with these guys, with a lot of them. And the new guys we like. So, rather than bail on them we just want to help, help make it better. We created a nine-game fiasco early in the season. Now weve got to figure out a way to make it.

But hes not going to manufacture gimmicks to get his team out of its slump.

I dont think were trying to come up with stuff, he said. Everything we do we try to come up with common-sense reasons. When you start coming up with stuff its probably not going to be based on common sense and going against things you believe in. The biggest thing is to go with things you believe in and keep doing it and have a good reason for it.

He hopes his team can stay loose. But, he knows that perception can misguided.

Its a lot easier to play loose and aggressive and confident when you're winning, he said. Theres a fine line there. When the media walks in and youre not having a party they say youre tight. If you lost and theyre loud, OK, theyre not tight, they dont care. What we need to do is win.

And that will be the best elixir of all.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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


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


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.