Red Sox

Astros-Rangers series shifted from Houston to Florida because of flooding

astros_jose_altuve_072315.jpg

Astros-Rangers series shifted from Houston to Florida because of flooding

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros will play their series against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, this week, the biggest change yet forced by Hurricane Harvey and widespread flooding that spread more misery across Texas on Monday.

Both the Astros and Rangers flew to Dallas after games in California on Sunday to await news of where the series would be held. After an off day Monday, they will now head to St. Petersburg, where the Astros will have "home" games far away from home, just like they did in the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008 when they played two scheduled home games in Milwaukee. The three-game set begins Tuesday.

The team also said a three-game series against the New York Mets that begins on Friday may also be played at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. A person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press that the decision has already been made and shared with the players, though there was no word from the team or Major League Baseball. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move was not disclosed.

If the Astros play both series in Florida, they will end up playing 19 straight games away from Houston, where the AL Central leaders last played on Aug. 24. A 10-game road trip begins after the Mets series.

"The safety of our fans, players and staff remain our main priority," Astros President Reid Ryan said. "We are extremely grateful to the Tampa Bay Rays organization for allowing us to use their facility."

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team was open to hosting the series in Arlington this week, but had no interest in swapping a series against the Astros later in the season to accommodate the change. He said the Rangers declined partially because of thoughts for the fans, but also because that change would have left the Rangers with a 12-game road trip late in the season.

"Just the competitive challenge of having our guys' last road trip of the year, (a) four-city trip was not something that we wanted to do," he said. "We were prepared, we offered to host the series, but the decision was made to go to Tampa instead."

With 106 wins, Alex Cora shows he's the anti-Bill Belichick

With 106 wins, Alex Cora shows he's the anti-Bill Belichick

BOSTON — A day after Bill Belichick did not grasp the moment, Alex Cora did.

In front of a relatively small pack of media on Monday at Fenway Park, Cora was reflective when asked about the meaning of 106 wins. 

He did not secure a world championship with a 6-2 win over the hapless Orioles in late September. But in 106 victories, a franchise record, he found not only meaning, but the presence of mind to share that meaning. 

He showed an appreciation for steps in a journey, even if — in this bottom-line driven business — he's not yet at the pinnacle.

“It’s something that is all over the place,” Cora said when asked if he’s been able to reflect, “and everybody is talking about it. It's a historic franchise. For me, personally, coming from where I come, being able to manage at the big-league level, I'm the second Puerto Rican to ever manage in the big leagues. You guys know how I feel — that's why I have this [shirt representing Puerto Rico]. For this to happen is very special. 

“We sit down at home and sometimes we're in awe, like, ‘This is really happening?’ It's been great. It's been fun. We're going to call time out and enjoy this one, and we're going to get back to business tomorrow. But we should enjoy this one.”

Call "time out" and reflect for a few minutes? What?

Actually, it's OK to act like a human in the public eye.

Belichick could have done the same Sunday. When asked about his employee of 14 years, Lions head coach Matt Patricia, Belichick did the opposite.

“Look, my job is my football team and that’s what I’m worried about,” Belichick said when asked if he was happy Patricia got his first win, albeit against the Pats. “That’s what I’m concerned about, that’s what my job is.”

No one is owed anything at a podium, to be clear. Belichick, Cora — no one has to say anything of substance publicly. 

But there is a choice made. And those choices create looks, give impressions, and even send messages. Some just make more sense than others.

Belichick’s answer indicates he thinks he'd be stepping out of line after a loss to address a basic human emotion, such as pride in an understudy.

Mentorship and friendship are not viable topics after a loss, apparently. But why?

Somewhere along the way in the world of sport, it became taboo to express any interest outside the ultimate prize, any sentimentality towards anything but What Matters Most.

Based on his public comments, Belichick is the modern day leader in this ideology. Perhaps, in his world, he thinks he would be doing his football team or himself a disservice by publicly congratulating Patricia after a loss.

No one would take it that way. No one thinking logically, anyway. Even a God among mortals on a football field is capable of mixed feelings.

Ignoring the obvious doesn't help a football team. If anything, Belichick sent a message that the result on the field for one day mattered more than a relationship of a decade and a half.

There's no better look than embracing reality, even if it means stepping away from old norms. Cora did that, to his credit. Belichick did not.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Highlights from Red Sox' 6-2 win over Orioles

Highlights from Red Sox' 6-2 win over Orioles

Score: Red Sox 6, Orioles 2 

In Brief: The Red Sox have won a franchise-record 106 games this year, with five games left still to play. The record-clinching victory came with the help of a two-run home run from Mookie Betts, his 32nd of the year (a career high), and ten strikeouts from Nathan Eovaldi. 

Red Sox Record: 106-51

Where They Stand: By virtue of their win and the Astros' loss, have clinched the best record in baseball and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Highlights: 

Betts home run

Clinching out for the franchise record

What's Next:

TUESDAY: Orioles (Jimmy Yacabonis, 0-2, 6.34) at Red Sox (David Price, 15-7, 3.53), 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday: Orioles (Yefry Ramirez, 1-7, 6.07 ERA) at Red Sox  (Chris Sale, 12-4, 2.00 ERA), 7:10 p.m.