Red Sox

It's a triumphant return to Puerto Rico for Cora with World Series trophy

It's a triumphant return to Puerto Rico for Cora with World Series trophy

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico - Red Sox manager Alex Cora arrived in his native Puerto Rico on Saturday as fans gathered under the rain to celebrate the first man from the island to lead a team to a World Series championship.

Cora was accompanied by pitchers David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez and catcher Christian Vazquez, among others including Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, six days after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one for their fourth championship since 2004.

The group joined a caravan headed to Cora's hometown of Caguas where fans dressed in red and blue clutched umbrellas as they talked about his arrival.

''He put us on the map,'' said 26-year-old Miguel Martinez, who was slow dancing to salsa with his girlfriend as they waited for Cora. ''My eyes filled with tears when he won the championship because this is something historic.''

Some fans had driven more than an hour to receive the manager and praised how he helped Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit more than a year ago amid a 12-year recession.

When Cora, 43, negotiated his contract last October, he asked his team to help with relief efforts, and they eagerly pitched in.

''Despite everything that has happened, we have a bit of happiness on the side,'' said Red Sox fan Arleen Cruz, who drove to Caguas with her husband from the southern town of Humacao to receive the players.

The two have been Red Sox fans since 1972.

''Puerto Rico's name couldn't be held up higher,'' said Cruz's husband, Ramon Reyes, who was clad in a Red Sox hat, T-shirt and towel slung over his shoulder.

They mingled with other fans stopping to buy food, beer and merchandise from roadside vendors as the smell of fried empanadillas and other local specialties wafted through the air.

Ronald Lopez-Cepero and his wife, both from Caguas, had already bought T-shirts last week that read ''PROUD for Puerto Rico.'' He recalled how he had about a dozen baseball cards featuring Cora and his older brother, Joey, a former big-league infielder.

''He's a tremendous person,'' said the lifelong fan. ''He's very humble and helpful.''

Cora, who spent 14 years as a major-league player, including a utility role with the 2007 champion Red Sox, steered Boston to a team-record 108 wins in the regular season before Boston topped the 100-win Yankees and Astros in the playoffs.

The Red Sox say they haven't decided whether they will visit the White House if invited by President Donald Trump.

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Ex-Red Sox star Mookie Betts has three-home run game for Dodgers

Ex-Red Sox star Mookie Betts has three-home run game for Dodgers

On the same night that the Boston Red Sox fell 17-8 to the Tampa Bay Rays and saw their losing streak extended to four games, their ex-star outfielder Mookie Betts made history with his new team.

Betts was simply on another level for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, crushing not one...

Not two...

But three home runs vs. the San Diego Padres to tie the MLB record for the most three-home run games ever (six).

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The 2018 American League MVP is still doing MVP things, much to the chagrin of Red Sox fans. It certainly doesn't help matters that it's been a disastrous 2020 campaign for Boston, who fell to 6-13 on the season after Thursday's loss.

For a look back at Betts' five 3-home run games with the Red Sox, you can take a trip down memory lane here.

It's a race to the bottom, and based on last four days, Red Sox are winning

It's a race to the bottom, and based on last four days, Red Sox are winning

Watching a team disintegrate as badly as the Red Sox, there's a temptation to say we've run out of words to describe their putrefaction. But that would be false. I mean, putrefaction is a pretty good word. There are plenty of words.

But why waste them?

It is becoming abundantly clear that, top to bottom, the Red Sox do not care about this season. Ownership never cared, which it proved not only by dumping Mookie Betts, but also with its complicity in the league's scheme to conduct as short a season as possible in order to limit the prorated salaries players could collect.

When fans are desperate for the return of sports and your collective goal isn't raising the country's spirits but crushing the union, then this maggoty dumpster of a season is what you deserve.

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The front office wasn't really allowed to care, since it was given a roll of quarters in November and told to make it last until the luxury tax reset. But even accepting the financial constraints under which Chaim Bloom and Co. have operated, urgency isn't the first word that springs to mind when evaluating their response to the worst starting staff in the majors. Even if Eduardo Rodriguez hadn't contracted COVID, we'd still be looking at Ryan Weber and an opener comprising 40 percent of the rotation.

Genial manager Ron Roenicke cares, but he's marching to his doom like a raggedy fife player. Not since Bobby Valentine in 2012 have the Red Sox been led by such an obvious one-and-done mark. At least Bobby V. deserved it. Roenicke never had a chance.

Given all of the above, can anyone blame the players for not caring? Ownership doesn't want to pay them. Management has done little to support them beyond signing every available pitcher with an ERA of 11.00. If they opted out en masse tomorrow, we should applaud their pragmatism.

There's no reason for them to care, which means there's no reason for us to care. And just in case that's unclear, we have dozens of 7:30 starts to remind us of how little we matter in all of this, unless you're one of those fans who likes their baseball played poorly, and at 11:28 p.m.

It all came to a head in Thursday's finale of a four-game sweep with Tampa that may end up being the defining moment of this miserable campaign.

The Rays entered the series hitting .208. They left hitting .246. Thursday's 17-8 defeat included a little bit of everything, none of it good.

A wayward drone interrupted play in the third inning and only qualified as about the eighth-weirdest occurrence. Two Red Sox pitchers faced six batters in an inning without recording an out. The starting second baseman began the ninth on the mound, only to leave when a line drive drilled him below the knee. He was replaced by the backup catcher, whose spot behind the plate was taken by the utility infielder, which made room at second base for the starting catcher.

Got all that? No? It doesn't matter.

Third baseman Rafael Devers made three brutal errors. Backup catcher Kevin Plawecki finished the day with a .474 average and 0.00 ERA. Former 19th round pick Kyle Hart made his debut and failed to retire a batter in the third. Reliever Marcus Walden duplicated the feat in the sixth. Jose Peraza took the line drive to the leg, Plawecki moved to the mound, Tzu-Wei Lin debuted at catcher, and Christian Vazquez finished his day off at second.

It was something you'd expect to see in a softball game between Jimmy's Pub and the Hannaford meat room. "I think once Peraza got smoked in the knee, that's about as bad as it gets," a weary Roenicke said.

If only that were the case. The Red Sox open a four-game series in New York on Friday with a bullpen day, followed by Nathan Eovaldi, followed by a mystery 4-A arm that's undoubtedly terrible, followed by Martin Perez, who's suddenly the ace. That sounds like a recipe for getting worse.

There are plenty more ways to describe this weeping sore of a season, but what's the point? The 2020 campaign can't end quickly enough, so allow me to speak for everyone -- from fans to players to cleaning crews to front office to media to ownership -- with the two words you've all been longing to hear:

We surrender.