McAdam: Red Sox play the blame game

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McAdam: Red Sox play the blame game

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

TORONTO -- There's more than one reason why the Red Sox have yet to reach .500 this season, and on Tuesday night, the start of their five-game road trip, there was more than one reason why they failed again.

There was the oversized pothole dug for them by starter Jon Lester, who lost both command and control of his emotions in a first inning that saw the lefty walk three, including one with the bases loaded.

There was the by-now standard inability to deliver the big hit when it was needed most. The Sox stranded 12 and in one particularly frustrating inning, the seventh, couldn't get a run after putting the first two hitters on base.

There was the home run allowed by DanielBard with the score tied in the eighth,which meant Adrian Gonzalez' ninth-inning homer tied, and didn't win, the game.

But ultimately, as the Sox slipped back to 17-19 with a 7-6, 10-inning defeat to the Toronto Blue Jays, it was the team's helplessness in the bottom of the final inning which sealed their fate and left them 0-for-3 in games which could have brought them back to the break-even point.

The Red Sox knew that Rajai Davis was going to run. What was left of the undersized crowd at Rogers Centre knew it, too. But the Red Sox could do nothing to stop Davis, ultimately, from stealing this game from them.

Matt Albers had worked an efficient ninth inning, but quickly fell behind Davis 3-and-1 with one out in the bottom of the 10th.

"In that situation,'' said Albers, "I'm not going to walk him. I'm going to make him hit the ball. He hit a chopper to the right spot which got into center field."

But Davis was just getting started.

The Red Sox called for a pitchout as Davis broke for second. But even with that, catcher Jason Varitek one-hopped his throw and Davis slid in safely.

"We had the pitchout,'' recounted Varitek. "We had the right thing. I wasn't able to gain as much as ground as I would have liked in making the throw. It ended up bang-bang."

"If we get the ball in the air to second,'' said Terry Francona, "we've got him.''

Davis wasn't done, however.

Francona said infield coach Tim Bogar tried to get rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias's attention to hold Davis closer to the second-base bag, but couldn't.

"Maybe a little bit of inexperience on Iggy's part,'' said Francona, "just not getting tight enough. It certainly changed the way we had to defense the Jays the rest of the inning."

Albers, however, took the blame for not doing a better job in keeping Davis anchored.

"I shouldn't have let him steal third,'' he said. "That was on me. I've got to keep him closer and keep him at second. It's unfortunate. You know he's going to go.''

"Third . . . it was . . . no contest," recounted Varitek. "Hindsight, you can always say that you could have done this or that. But I wasn't able to make a throw."

Not that the Sox were surrpised by Davis's decision to take off for third, even though he was already in scoring position.

"Not in the least bit,'' said Varitek. "He was that way in Oakland. He's got accelerated speed. By no means were we surprised.''

From there, all the Blue Jays needed was a simple sacrifice fly, which they got from rookie David Cooper. A routine flyout to center, which would have been the second out had David been kept at second, instead Sox sent the Sox to their second extra-inning loss in the last six days.

Plenty of blame, indeed. But not enough answers for a team which has found merely getting back to even much harder than it ever could have imagined.

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.