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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Astros”

Texas Throwdown

Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew have been names often mentioned in come-from-behind victories and last night was no exception. In the top of the seventh Gomes sent the ball over the mini-monster that inhabits Minute Maid Park’s left field. Drew smacked a three-run circuit clout into the right field stand in the ninth. Koji Uehara preserved the lead by striking out the side in the bottom of the frame. And there was much rejoicing. I think Jerry and Don enjoyed Texas more than they wanted to let on. Howdy, pardners! Mike Napoli even got friendly with Orbit. I’m not sure why Orbit would like Napoli as the fuzzy alien lists black holes as something he dislikes. I liken Napoli to black holes in a good way, as in he sucks up everything at first! This has nothing to do with his recent penchant to strike out or ground into double plays with the score close and runners in scoring position, nosirree. Shane Victorino had a frustrating evening with a single hit and three left on base. In the top of the sixth he struck out to end the inning the the bases loaded on Brian Knight’s ruling that he went...

Lackey’s Back

John Lackey returned to baseball on Sunday with a rehab stint against the Triple A Houston Astros. Oh, wait. As the Red Sox taunted the Astros so did Jerry Remy harass the radio duo with Don Orsillo’s fishing rod. Can you hit this? No? How ’bout this? Two baseball munchkins converged at the keystone sack in the fifth inning. Dustin Pedroia knocked the ball past Matt Dominguez’s glove. Fernando Martinez gathered the grounder and came up firing. Pedroia slid to the outside of the bag in anticipation of Jose Altuve’s tag. With their arms stretched out like that they are as tall as your average major league baseball player. Now that the weather is turning it’s time for lobster rolls. If you are okay with not being cool with Crusher, the Maine Red Claws mascot, that is. Game 25: April 28, 2013 Houston Astros7-18 1 L: Bud Norris (3-3) 2B: Rick Ankiel (3) Boston Red Sox18-7 6 W: John Lackey (1-1) 2B: Daniel Nava (4), Dustin Pedroia (6), Mike Carp (5), David Ortiz (5)3B: Stephen Drew (2)...

Allowed by a Peacock

Despite his name Brad Peacock did not have much to strut about. He lasted 3⅓ innings with a poor line: 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 5 bases on balls, and 3 strikeouts. Will Middlebrooks missed a home run in the second inning by just a few feet. Jonny Gomes demonstrated the distance. Gomes jumped about that height when he made a lunging grab of Robbie Grossman’s line drive to left in the eighth. I wouldn’t say his defense is stellar but he is better than Kevin Youkilis in left. I’m not sure if Royal Sorell, the Balloongineer, created these fans’ hats, but I wouldn’t be surprised. The Red Sox batter and mermaid creations look great on television but probably didn’t endear these fans to any spectators behind them. A picture of Don Orsillo with Vin Scully from many moons ago surfaced. The moss! The manscaping! The lighthearted banter that is enjoyable when your team has the best record in the majors! Game 24: April 27, 2013 Houston Astros7-17 4 L: Brad Peacock (1-3) 2B: Marwin Gonzalez (4) Boston Red Sox17-7 8 W: Felix Doubront (3-0)H: Junichi Tazawa (8) 2B: Will Middlebrooks (4), David Ortiz (4), Daniel Nava (3), Jarrod Saltalamacchia...

Fast as Molasses

It was 10 PM when Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo noted how slow the pace of this game was. At that point the game was about two-thirds of the way finished, rivaling the duration of matches the against the Yankees. They amused themselves with closeups of Don’s head. Oh, wait, that is one of the big head signs. David Ross had a career night (4-of-4 with two four-baggers) and called a game that led to Ryan Dempster’s first win. Call him Maximus Decimus Meridius, catcher of the Shepherd of Scotland, backstop of the Carmine Hose, and loyal servant to the true emperor, John Henry. He does fear spiders, however, so don’t expect him to verbally duel with Varys. My only explanation for this man wearing a viking helmet is because Erik Bedard uses a Scandinavian spelling of his first name. It does give me the chance to quote Hávamál. From the “Wisdom for Wanderers and Counsel for Guests” in the Elder Edda: Less good than they say for the sons of men is the drinking oft of ale: for the more they drink, the less can they think and keep a watch o’er their wits. This fan tried to use...

Houston Homecoming

While there was much consternation about Adrian Gonzalez playing in the outfield to get David Ortiz at bats during interleague, the thing I find far more troubling is a pitcher on the basepaths. Josh Beckett reached on a bunt in the third inning and proceeded from first to third with Jacoby Ellsbury’s single to center. I held my breath expecting a ruptured hamstring or pulled groin. Dustin Pedroia walked to load the bases and Gonzalez flied out to center to end both the scoring threat and the risk to Beckett’s body. It is amusing to watch Fausto Carmona lumber down the first base line and trip over the sack, but such a scene could easily be recast with any American League pitcher unused to baserunning. Carmona will miss at least one start because of the mishap. The first score of the game came in the fourth inning. Kevin Youkilis led off with a rope to center. J.D. Drew followed up with a base on balls. Josh Reddick sported the Trot Nixon pine tar helmet look and also echoed the former outfielder’s proclivity for chasing offspeed pitches to strike out. Yamaico Navarro’s bloop single to shallow to right loaded the bases....

We Have Liftoff

Yamaico Navarro launched his first major league home run in his seventh-inning pinch-hitting appearance. He acted like he had been there before, if by being there before one means he had hit 366 career homers like David Ortiz. Navarro’s bat flip wasn’t Papiesque by any means and his brief admiration of his home run’s trajectory wasn’t exceptionally egregious. But a rookie should know better. Payback likely won’t come in this series, but somewhere down the line Navarro may face J.A. Happ or one of Happ’s friends. When that happens and if the circumstances are aligned, Navarro might find himself with a pitch in the ribs or dropping into the dirt to duck a high and tight pitch. In the next inning Darnell McDonald clouted a three-run homer to the train tracks to make the score 9-3, a lead that was Bobby Jenks-proof. McDonald homered off Fernando Abad, whose last name isn’t pronounced in a way that would provide commentary on his pitching ability. Or at least Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy said Abad’s name in such a way so as to save him embarrassment. Adrian Gonzalez played in right field for the second time this season and the world didn’t...


Yesterday the Red Sox released something with more impact than a fourth outfielder or middle reliever. Terry Francona, Kevin Youkilis, and Jason Varitek took part in a public service announcement for the It Gets Better Project, started by Dan Savage in response to the rash of suicides by LGBT youth who had decided they would rather die than face bullying. The Red Sox were not alone in the major leagues: the Giants and the Cubs also produced videos for this initiative. When mainstream sports franchises lend their imprimatur upon such a cause my hope that the tide against intolerance will continue to surge over the forces of bigotry and hate, washing them away forever. What’s stopping all of the teams from the MLB and any of the teams from the other major team sports to make a statement against bullying? The Boston baseball squad added to that off-field win with an on-field victory against hapless Houston. It was difficult to enjoy last night’s win as the Astros bullpen was so execrable. Bud Norris saw his solid start eliminated by Sergio Escalona and Wilton Lopez, a duo as capable at relieving as Laurel and Hardy were at keeping their Model T...


Game 84: June 29, 2008 Red Sox 2 L: David Aardsma (2-2) 50-34, 2 game losing streak Astros 3 H: Wesley Wright (7)BS: Oscar Villareal (1)W: Doug Brocail (4-3)S: Jose Valverde (21) 39-43, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Ruh roh, Rito! Rai rhope ru ron’t ret rired rike Rirrie Ranrolf! Eep opp ork ah-ah, that means I love you. I don’t love interleague. Just too much of good (?) thing. I can’t tell the difference between the Astros and Diamondbacks’ uniforms any longer. In the words of George Jetson, “Stop this crazy thing!”As with any game there was an instance of brilliance that should be remembered but won’t show up in the box score. Dustin Pedroia smacked a single to left field and then swiped second not on the basis of speed but by superior reaction time. As the infielder slid into second he avoided a sweep tag by raising his arm above the arc of the mitt and touching the second base sack at the end of his evasive maneuver.It was a perfect example of what sets Pedroia apart from other hitters. He doesn’t need the stature of a power hitter as his hand-eye coordination compensates for his...


Game 83: June 28, 2008 Red Sox 10 H: David Aardsma (4)H: Craig Hansen (6)BS, L: Manny Delcarmen (2, 0-2) 50-33, 1 game losing streak Astros 11 BS: Geoff Geary (1)W: Doug Brocail (3-3)S: Jose Valverde (20) 38-43, 1 game winning streak Highlights: Michael Bourn time and again got the better of the Red Sox infield when at the dish by successfully executing two bunts for base hits. But when the speedy outfielder tried to come home on Carlos Lee’s single in the first the Boston Juggling Troupe of Pedroia, Varitek, Lowell, and Lugo stopped him from scoring. The home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski could have and should have called Bourn out for running outside of the basepath. Muchlinski appears to have been brought up from the minors as the replacement for Brian O’Nora, who was slashed by a shattered maple bat. Muchlinski and O’Nora are now on the same squad. A brutal back-and-forth game, the antithesis of a pitchers’ duel. The Red Sox frittered away two massive leads to come up short in the middle game of the series.Remarkable offensive performances by Dustin Pedroia (4-5, 1 RBI), Mike Lowell (4-4, 3 RBIs, solo HR), Kevin Youkilis (2-5, 3...

Ippatsu [一発]

Game 82: June 27, 2008 Red Sox 6 W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-1)H: Craig Hansen (5)S: Jonathan Papelbon (24) 50-32, 3 game winning streak Astros 1 L: Runelvys Hernandez (0-1) 37-43, 1 game losing streak Highlights: Matsuzaka looked more himself last night. The righty lasted the minimum innings for a decision while putting up a line of two hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. J.D. provided a three-run advantage with his shot that caromed off the facing of the second deck. In Japanese it would be called ippatsu, an absolute shot. Minute Maid Park is one of the standout ballparks in the league. With Tal’s Hill and its attendant flagpole in center, a train with a cargo of oversize oranges in left, the Crawford Boxes in left field penned in by a 19-foot tall wall, and a retractable roof that enables the entire structure to be air conditioned, the field is instantly recognizable.The placement of the stadium in relation to the sun’s path could probably be improved. Coco Crisp batted left-handed to lead off the game and seemed to be blinded by sunlight.Unfortunately, the Astros organization is not as well put together as its venue. Baseball America has ranked the...


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