McAdam: Road trip in rearview, Sox going strong

191542.jpg

McAdam: Road trip in rearview, Sox going strong

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Two and a half weeks ago, the Red Sox were staring into a scheduling abyss: They would rack up tends of thousands of miles, flying from the midwest to the Pacific Northwest, back to Boston (briefly), then back to the midwest and Texas.

The stretch was daunting. But the Red Sox survived, even thrived.

They went 10-7 in those 17 games, including a 9-5 run in the 14 road games. When the stretch began, the Sox led the Yankees by a game. Now that the demanding span of games is over, their lead is exactly the same: A full game over second-place New York.

That included a 6-2 finish in Kansas City and Texas, where the Red Sox had been winless earlier in the season and carried a five-game losing streak into Tuesday.

"We've been playing well," said Dustin Pedroia. "This part was tough and this last (bit of it) says a lot about our team. We came out here, lose the first game then played three great games."

Of the five series' that made up the 17-game segment of the schedule, the Sox won three and lost two. By winning each of the last two series, both on the road, the Sox can now claim eight winning road trips in the last nine and still boast the best road record in either league.

At 50-30, the Red Sox have 32 games remaining over the next 4 12 weeks. Of those 32, 19 are at home, with just 13 remaining away from Fenway.

Of course, the next two days won't feel like much of a reprieve. Following an early Friday morning touchdown in Boston, the Red Sox must play three games in the span of about 25 hours.

Then, they'll have two straight days off, which might interrupt any momentum they've built. But they're also at home for the next 10 days, with the full knowledge that just two road trips remain.

The worst is over.

The one-game lead over the Yankees is hardly secure and there are no guarantees that it will remain intact past next week, when the Yankees visit for three games.

More likely, the division -- for whatever that's worth for bragging rights, home field and a better first-round draw - won't be decided until the final weekend of the season when the Red Sox visit New York.

But for now, the toughest part of the summer is behind them. The test was passed.

"I don't think it's time to take a deep breath," cautioned manager Terry Francona. "But we're hanging in there."

Two and a half long weeks ago, tens of thousands of miles back, that was the goal.

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

cleveland-indians-andy-marte-killed-12217.jpg

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

kansas-city-royals-yordano-ventura-killed-12217.jpg

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.