Red Sox

No World Series hangover, Alex Cora insists, just bad Red Sox starts

No World Series hangover, Alex Cora insists, just bad Red Sox starts

Where to put your finger on what's troubling the Red Sox, off to their worst start than even Bobby Valentine's crew in 2012 (they were 4-5 after nine games, not 2-7)?

A World Series hangover? Alex Cora isn't buying it.

“I don’t believe in hangovers,” Cora told reporters, including's Christoper Smith, after the latest loss, 15-8 to the Diamondbacks in Phoenix on Friday night. "The only hangover is when you go out drinking and the next day you’ve got a headache. We’ve all been there.”

So, while some look for the team's leaders to step up, one thing that would help is not necessarily leaders, but a LEAD.

NESN'S Tom Caron points out that the 2019 Red Sox have held a lead in exactly six innings out of 81.

Though shut out in back-to-back games in Oakland earlier this week, the offense hasn't been the biggest issue. For the second time in nine games, the Sox scored eight runs Friday and lost.

He got Alex Avila to swing and miss at his curveball before allowing Avila's home run that capped the Dbacks' scoring.

Rick Porcello's second clunker this season made it 0-7 with a 9.60 ERA for Sox starters with a whopping 16 home runs allowed. 

"This one's on me," said Porcello, whose own ERA ballooned to 13.50 after allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3.  "I take full responsibility for the first two starts.  I'm not throwing the ball the way I need to."

This is essentially the same team that started 17-2 last season on its way to a franchise record 108 wins and a World Series title. Now,  off to the worst start for a defending champ since the 1998 Marlins (with Dave Dombrowski as their GM) went 1-8. Cora insists, "I'm going to be the same guy."

“I’m not going to change,” he told reporters, including the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham, after the game. “I’m going to be the same guy. For how great it was last year, I understand what a big league season is. You’re going to have ups and downs. You’ve got to stay calm. The same way we did things last year, we’re going to do it again.

"At one point we’re going to get hot and we’re going to start playing good baseball.”

It's David Price's turn tonight in Arizona.

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Latest reports on MLB negotiations don't bode well for 2020 season

Latest reports on MLB negotiations don't bode well for 2020 season

While the NBA gears up for a reported return in late July, Major League Baseball is still stuck in neutral.

MLB has rejected the MLB Players Association's proposal for a 114-game season in 2020 and doesn't plan to make a counter-offer, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported Wednesday.

The sticking point appears to be around player pay: The players agreed to prorated 2020 salaries in March but called for no additional salary cuts in their latest proposal, per The Athletic. MLB's proposal to the union last month, meanwhile, called for a "50-50 revenue split" between owners and players in an 82-game season.

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According to The Athletic, MLB is considering a season with as few as 50 games in front of no fans as a potential option but has not proposed that scenario to the union.

Yet multiple players recently told ESPN's Jeff Passan they're opposed to a shorter season, with one telling Passan, "We want to play more games, and they want to play less. We want more baseball."

The New York Post's Joel Sherman summed up the current state of negotiations Wednesday in a rather depressing tweet.

All hope isn't completely lost for the 2020 MLB season to happen amid the coronavirus pandemic, however. SNY's Andy Martino suggested MLB declining to counter the players' proposal could just be a negotiating tactic as the sides attempt to find common ground.

Still, it doesn't appear the league and the players are close to finding that common ground. And considering the Boston Red Sox had already played 59 regular-season games by this point last year, time is running out.

UPDATE (4:23 p.m. ET): MLB Network's Jon Heyman is a bit more optimistic about the league and the players working things out:

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Part 3, Numbers 50-26

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Part 3, Numbers 50-26

With MLB players and owners struggling to come to terms on a return-to-play strategy for 2020, we're focusing on the actual players who will take the field when games eventually get back underway.

Over the next several weeks, NBC Sports Boston is counting down the Top 100 players for 2020. While our list won't include several aces who will definitely not play this season — Noah Syndergaard of the Mets, Luis Severino of the Yankees, and Chris Sale of the Red Sox — our countdown includes many other All-Stars.

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Red Sox closer Brandon Workman kicked off our list at No. 100, and our next group of 25 players included Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.

As we continue our countdown and move into the Top 50, we find J.D. Martinez, who has broken out into a feared hitter after a slow start to his career. Released by the Astros before the 2014 season, he remade his approach, flourished with the Tigers and now has made back-to-back All-Star teams with the Sox. 

Now 32, he's an established veteran, but it's also possible the late bloomer is only early in his prime years. So where does he land on our Top 100?

Click here for Part 3 of our countdown of MLB's Top 100 players.