Lackey enjoys rare warm reception from fans

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Lackey enjoys rare warm reception from fans

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Athletes in general, and baseball players in particular, are very good at closing the book on their last game, turning the page on their previous outing, good or bad. It sounds like a clich, but its what they have to do to be successful.

Still, going into the All-Star break after the outing that John Lackey posted Saturday night against the Orioles has to be encouraging. Lackey went 6 23 scoreless innings against the Orioles, allowing just three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, along with two hit batters, and two wild pitches. The Red Sox won their fifth in a row and ninth of 10, shutting out the Os, 4-0, Saturday night at Fenway Park.

That was good, said manager Terry Francona. It was fun to watch.

Lackeys outing was drastically different and improved from his previous outing, when he got shellacked by the Blue Jays for seven runs in 2 13 innings on the 4th of July. This has been a trying season for Lackey. He has missed 21 games while on the disabled list with a right elbow strain. He has dealt with personal issues. And its been nearly impossible to predict from one start to the next what his performance will be.

While his season, though, has been nothing if not inconsistent, Lackey said there was not a big difference from a pitching standpoint to his last outing.

Theres a fine line between being good and bad, said Lackey, who improved to 6-8, lowering his ERA to 6.84. I guess I was locating a little better. Honestly, there wasnt a whole lot (of difference). My velocity was good.

As Lackey walked off the mound he was treated to a rousing ovation. In his departure in the Toronto game, he was given a chorus of boos. It was nice, Lackey said of the cheers

The main difference was command of the strike zone, locating his pitches. He threw 106 pitches, 69 for strikes, a 65 percent strike ratio, considerably above the 60 percent threshold that is considered acceptable. In his previous outing, the mark was 57 percent.

I was locating a little bit better, Lackey said. But not a whole lot.

Lackey, who threw his fifth quality start in 14 outings this season, was able to use all his pitches for strikes, including his curveball. Its huge, said Jarrod Saltalamacchia when Lackey is able to get swings and misses with the curveball.

Perhaps Lackey was primed for this kind of outing. In each of his last 15 outings against the Os he has pitched a quality starting, going at least 6 23 innings, as he did Saturday night. Since Aug. 3, 2005, while with the Angels, he is 9-3 with a 2.41 ERA against the Os.

Hopefully I can keep it going, he said.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.