McAdam: N.L. clubs out of Sox' league

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McAdam: N.L. clubs out of Sox' league

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BOSTON -- Under a realignment plan being discussed by Major League Baseball, two 15-team leagues would be created, creating the mathmatical need for interleague series be played throughout the season.

Surely, this has caught the eye of Red Sox ownership and given them ideas: Wouldn't it be great to play National League teams all the time?

For the Red Sox, indeed it would.

Facing the National League is tantamount to an exhibition game for the Sox, like playing their Triple-A affiliate.

That much was evident again Monday night, when the Red Sox had their way with the San Diego Padres, 14-5. Ho-hum.

Another N.L. opponent, another lopsided win. So what else is new?

The Sox have now played seven games against opponents from the N.L. and won five. In four of those five wins, the Red Sox have scored double figures. In five games, they're averaging a hair over 11 runs per game.

That's not competition; it's a vacation.

The current homestand has featured two teams from the National League, the Brewers and Padres. The Red Sox have had at least 10 hits in four of the five.

And while the Cubs -- an earlier interleague opponent -- and Padres aren't anyone's ideas of a good team, there's the distinct feeling that, other than the Phillies, Giants and perhaps one or two other clubs, it wouldn't matter much.

A huge gulf still remains between the two leagues.

True, the National League has won two of the last three World Series. But the senior circuit's improvement is top-heavy and limited to, at most, a handful of teams.

The average N.L. team is no match for an average A.L. club, and the numbers bear it out, to say nothing of the circumstantial evidence playing out at Fenway. Since the start of 2006, the American League boasts a winning percentage of .567 against its National League brethren; this season, AL teams are 56-40.

The Brewers, as an example, are in the thick of the N.L. Central race, a mere half-game out of first place in their division.

At Fenway, however, they were exposed. Though they managed a win behind crafty lefty Randy Wolf in the middle game of the series, they lost the other two games by a combined scored of 22-7. Starter Shaun Marcum, who pitched in the American League just last year, looked terrified of the Red Sox lineup in the first inning, needing 42 pitches to get the first three outs.

It was more of the same Monday when San Diego's Wade LeBlanc used up 39 pitches in the top of the first.

The astounding thing about the Red Sox' 14-run outburst Monday is the fact that San Diego's pitching staff came into the game ranked third in staff ERA in the N.L. Naturally, that number is influenced by the fact that the Padres play half their home games in cavernous Petco Park, which is slightly smaller in dimensions than Yosemite.

Yet in the seventh inning, the parade of Padres pitchers looked -- sorry, there's no other word to describe this -- scared. What else do you call it when back-to-back bases-loaded situations resulted in hit batsmen?

In all, the Padres issued nine walks, in addition to allowing the Sox to hit .389 (14-for-36) for the game.

This kind of domination isn't anything new for the Red Sox. Since the start of 2010, the Red Sox are 18-6 (.750) against the N.L. Since 2003, the year before Terry Francona was hired, the Sox are an astounding 100-51, one loss shy of a .667 pace.

And yet, there's hope yet for National League opponents. This weekend, the Red Sox will have play in National League cities, where the DH is not available to them. That means, except for a game or two, when the Sox might stick Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield, the Sox will be without David Ortiz.

From an offensive standpoint, it's the baseball equivalent of playing with one hand tied behind their backs. Maybe that will help level what is, for now, a very uneven playing field.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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.