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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Aviles (Mike)”

Slim Win

Clay Buchholz used to win games in which he pitched badly but in this start and his previous one he pitched well and the game was won by late-inning hitting heroics. Buchholz lasted seven innings and turned in a respectable line: 4 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks, and 1 strikeout. The Red Sox capitalized on a leadoff walk by Cody Ross in the fourth. Two batters couldn’t advance Ross but Kelly Shoppach arced the ball to right field. David Murphy wandered an unsure path to the ball and couldn’t connect with the ball, resulting in a 1-0 lead for the visitors. Adrian Beltre had an adventurous evening. He stretched a hit into a double by seemingly evading Will Middlebroooks’s tag, but the replay showed he was out. Vicente Padilla knocked Beltre out of the game in the eighth with a pitch in the ear. Beltre tried to talk the coaching staff to keep him in the game but thankfully players don’t have a say in such matters. Elvis Andrus tied the game in the sixth. He laced a double to right field and scored on Josh Hamilton’s tap out to Mike Aviles. Aviles turned the tables on his counterpart...

Beckett Blues

The Red Sox fell behind early behind Josh Beckett’s tepid pitching performance. Beckett was booed but his performance wasn’t the only reason last night’s game ended in defeat for the local nine. Offensively the Boston bats fell silent with no extra base hits and collectively they were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. To add the home squad’s shortcomings home plate umpire Sam Holbrook missed a key call at home, but even without the ill-gotten run Toronto’s offensive outplayed the opposition. Cody Ross’s misplay of Colby Rasmus’s liner off the right field wall with one down in the first turned a double into a triple. Rasmus dashed home on Edwin Encarnacion’s grounder to Will Middlebrooks. The third baseman threw perfectly to Kelly Shoppach, who immaculately blocked the dish from any incursion by Rasmus. After a moment’s hesitation Holbrook called Rasmus safe. Bobby Valentine popped out of the dugout to question the call, and rightfully so as replays showed the Blue Jays outfielder didn’t touch home. While Ross had a part to play in the Rasmus debacle he ended the visitors’ half of the ninth nimbly. With runners at first and second and a run already in Ross charged Rasmus’s liner...

True Flu

Like a latter-day Michael Jordan circa 1997 Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Josh Beckett battled through the effects of flu to secure a remarkable triumph against a key divisional rival. In the likeness of Kirk Gibson in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Mike Aviles clubbed a two-run home run. The only differences were that wasn’t the World Series and Aviles wasn’t injured in both legs nor rundown with a stomach virus. Otherwise, totally like Gibson. With the grim determination of Mariano Rivera in every postseason (except 2001 and 2004, now that I think about it), Alfred Aceves retired the Rays batters in the ninth with surgical precision. He walked three batters to load the bases just to keep it interesting. Boston Red Sox 2012: standing on the shoulders of greatness. Game 89: July 15, 2012 Boston Red Sox45-44 7 W: Josh Beckett (5-7) 2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (4), Will Middlebrooks (12)HR: Mike Aviles (10), Daniel Nava (4) Tampa Bay Rays46-43 3 L: James Shields (8-6) 2B: Ben Zobrist (21), Elliot Johnson (8)...

Silent Treatment

I think that Hit Tracker is credible, but how is it possible that Nick Punto’s ninth-inning second-decker and Miguel Cabrera’s moonshot to the camera hut in dead center at Comerica both be 444 feet? How is it possible that I could even be comparing home runs by Punto and Cabrera? The only possible sentence would be something like, “Nick Punto has hit 15 home runs in his career, which is as many as Miguel Cabrera hits in half a season.” After Punto’s Ortizian blast to right field he got the silent treatment in the dugout. Bobby Valentine posed as if here engrossed in a binder of statistics. Dave Magadan couldn’t help himself and smiled in the infielder’s direction as he made his way down the steps. Ortiz acknowledged the circuit clout boisterously, “I didn’t know you could do that, you m—f—.” It was an exclamation point on another statement game by Felix Doubront. While other starters have had their question marks, Doubront has emerged as the most consistent hurler of the rotation. His line: 6⅓ innings pitched, 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 walks, and 7 strikeouts. He is not as flashy in stuff, temperament, or dollars as fellow...

Officious Officials

Jim Leyland and Doc Rivers should start a support group for managers and coaches aggrieved by incompetence by game officials. Mark Cuban would be president, Bill Simmons vice president, and Dennis Eckersley sergeant-at-arms. Leyland watched with growing anger as his team slipped further below .500, a defining loss that could be attributed to a blown call by the officials in the second inning. Home plate umpire Jeff Nelson maintained that Mike Aviles swung and missed Doug Fister’s 0-2 pitch and that Gerald Laird caught the ball for the final strike and therefore the final out of the frame. Nelson was overruled by first base umpire Bill Welke, however, who thought that Aviles fouled off the pitch and Laird didn’t catch it. After the call it seemed like each batted ball was fueled by Leyland’s rage. Aviles proceeded to line a single to center to plate the go-ahead run. Daniel Nava doubled over Quintin Berry’s head to the base of the wall in center field, deep enough to score Aviles from first. Dustin Pedroia scorched a grounder to Prince Fielder that the rotund first baseman couldn’t glove, allowing Nava to score and Pedroia to reach second. All told the Red Sox...

Beasts of the East

When spotted a two-run lead Clay Buchholz seemed to seize up with insecurity rather than face his opposition with fortitude. In the bottom of the third Buchholz walked two batters with the bases loaded for half the runs scored in the second half of the frame. The two other runs were scored on weak ground balls. J.J. Hardy smacked an infield single up the middle that exposed miscommunication between Mike Aviles and Dustin Pedroia. Aviles thought he would flip the ball to his double play partner but Pedroia assumed Aviles would tag second himself and then fire to first. By the time the runners advanced to the next station Hardy was safe at first and the game was tied 2-2. Aviles and Pedroia were in perfect coordination for Adam Jones’s batted ball. The 6-4-3 double play plated Xavier Avery to give the Orioles a two-run advantage, but the additional run was worth the two outs. Matt Wieters ended the stanza with a ground out to second. Rather than knuckle under when the pitching went sour the batters stepped up. David Ortiz led the charge in the sixth with a massive blast that bounced about Eutaw Street. The Orioles haven’t updated...

Cliff’s Edge

Two disappointing teams that were supposed to be at or near the top of their respective divisions wrapped up their three-game series. Two aces who have underperformed along with their clubs faced off in what most assumed would be a pitchers’ duel. Mike Aviles had other ideas. The shortstop took Cliff Lee’s third pitch of the game, a cut fastball, high over Juan Pierre’s reach into the left field stands. The Red Sox had a prototypical National League scoring scenario play out in the second. With one man down Daniel Nava patiently (and amazingly, given the pitcher he was facing) drew a walk. Marlon Byrd sneaked a single through the left side of the infield and Nava got into scoring position. Neither the bunting and hitting practice Bobby Valentine required nor Josh Beckett’s years in the senior circuit helped the hurler get down a proper bunt. Nava was erased from the equation when Beckett’s bunt went right back to Lee. Beckett ran hard to first and beat out what could have been an inning-ending double play. Aviles swatted a turf-scorching ground ball to left field and Byrd scored. Presenting the argument for the Earl Weaver School of Management in the...

Angry Aviles

Mike Aviles was ejected for the first time in his major league career in last night’s game. The shortstop argued with home plate umpire Dan Bellino’s strike that ended Aviles’s at bat and the top half of the seventh inning. I found myself agreeing with Aviles: the pitch seemed to be a shade too far outside. According to the strikezone plot at Brooks Baseball, however, Aviles did let a strike go by; it seems he was fooled because the balls he took were very close to the final strike. Nothing like a painstakingly accurate chart to cool one’s righteous indignation. I don’t think I was the only one who got a little misty when Don Orsillo recounted an anecdote featuring former manager Terry Francona. The Tropicana clubhouse is known for a wall of headshots of major league managers that would be updated with frightening efficiency. Francona said he would check if he still had a job by checking out the photos to see if his shiny pate was still present. That prompted Jerry Remy to recall how he told Francona that his meetings were boring. From that point forward Francona had a magazine waiting for Remy. Orsillo and Remy didn’t...

Feeling Minnesota

Now that the Red Sox aren’t playing the best teams of the American League they actually don’t seem like the catastrophic club that was so maligned since the beginning of the season. They outshined the local nine, “so now you know who gets mystified / show me the power child.” David Ortiz dispelled doubts about his value to the team by continuing his torrid start. The practically svelte designated hitter is .444 in batting average, .486 for on-base percentage, and .714 in slugging percentage. His third-inning circuit clout flew up and over the limestone walls of Target Field; he didn’t need the protruding porch in right to render the score 5-1. Mike Aviles has been spectacular in the leadoff spot. Where some players shy from that spotlight, Aviles has rocketed from a utility role in a mediocre team to the the starting shortstop on a perennial contender. I would have never guessed that someone who never played in Boston’s unceasing media glare would not just play competently but blossom. Home plate umpire Adrian Johnson exchanged words with Josh Beckett in the first inning, many of which would be grounds for FCC fines. Beckett walked three batters consecutively which led to...

A Salt and Battery

Kelly Shoppach isn’t the only catcher whose surname can be contorted into puns. Shoppach, perpetrator of the most comical slide into second in history, selected “The Stop, Shop, and Roll” as the name of his historic tumble towards the keystone sack. Jarrod Saltalamacchia avoided any potential indignity the basepaths by depositing Jeremy Hellickson’s 3-1 change-up into the batter’s eye. The second inning two-run shot, Saltalamacchia’s first home run of the season, brought the Red Sox within two runs of the Rays. Clay Buchholz was roughed up in the first inning for four runs but settled down for most of the rest of his seven innings. Luke Scott, who was lustily booed whenever he appeared, doubled off the wall to plate Matt Joyce in the third, but Buchholz along with relievers Franklin Morales and Alfredo Aceves stifled the Tampa Bay lineup. Morales and Aceves had breathing room from late inning scoring barrages. Mike Aviles has all but erased Jed Lowrie from the memory of fans with his timely hitting and versatility but can he replace Jacoby Ellsbury in the one spot? Bobby Valentine was in need of a leadoff hitter with Ellsbury on the disabled list due to a subluxation of...

When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears

I knew that I would miss Jonathan Papelbon but I didn’t know it would be this hard and this soon. How I’ll miss hearing “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” The way the pitchers tapped to replace Andrew Bailey have been pitching Ken Casey probably won’t let them use his song. My suggestions? Alfredo Aceves’s entry song should be Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” and Mark Melancon’s “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by the Smashing Pumpkins. Things are falling apart; the center is not holding. Around the pitcher’s mound swirls a maelstrom of uncertainty. Clay Buchholz didn’t give up the longball like Josh Beckett did but in the four innings Buchholz pitched he allowed 8 hits and 7 runs. The best relief arm on the Red Sox roster, Daniel Bard, is starting this Tuesday night’s game against the Blue Jays. As disappointing as the pitching has been, the Red Sox offense finally came to life. Mike Aviles knocked in key hits in the second and third innings to chip away at the Tigers’ lead, executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to add to his team’s lead in the ninth, and singled and scored in the eleventh. Adrian Gonzalez swatted his first home run...

Winning Came at a Price

Mike Aviles has been one of the few players making any impact in the lineup of late. His home run in the second game of the series proved to be the game-winning run, and he kept his team in the game today (and in the series) with a three-run bomb in the seventh inning. He went above and beyond the call of duty by knocking out David Price in the third inning with a screaming comebacker that struck Price in the chest before bounding to Evan Longoria for the second out of the inning. That’s how good it’s going for Tampa Bay: their southpaw ace seems to suffer a severe injury but won’t miss time, the relief corps banded together to maintain the lead against one of the top offenses in the league, and they are within two games of the wild card. Don Orsillo’s tie looked like the sort of abstract pattern Patrick Nagel would occasionally incorporate in his prints. The 1980s weren’t the best decade for the Red Sox, so anything invoking nostalgia about that era must be avoided. Game 152: September 18, 2011 Tampa Bay Rays85-67 8 W: Jake McGee (3-1)H: Brandon Gomes (3)S: Joel Peralta (5)2B:...

Hole in O

Mike Aviles’s fourth-inning home run with two out broke the 3-3 tie and the Sports Authority sign. Of all the batters that have taken the box the utility infielder was not at the top of the list of people that could rip a hole in one of the signs over the Green Monster. In every game at Fenway all I can picture is Dustin Pedroia trying to whack the cover off the ball to duplicate the feat. Daniel Bard came through in the eighth with his first hold in his last three attempts. The relief showed his ace abilities by striking out the side while only allowing Ben Zobrist to reach on a base on base on balls. Joe Maddon was ejected by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt in the sixth for disputing balls and strikes. The strike zone map of last night’s contest shows that Bard and other Boston hurlers did indeed benefit from Wendelstedt’s judgment. I couldn’t help but pass judgment on Johnny Damon’s comments in his interview with Heidi Watney about how this current Rays team reminds him of the 2004 Red Sox. Damon can say that when his eyes are stinging with champion champagne and no...

Trader Woes

I went to bed thinking about what I would write about Rich Harden coming to the Red Sox only to wake up to discover that the deal fell through overnight. Rich Soften, as I have taken to call him, was to have come to Boston at the price of Lars Anderson and a player to be named later. With Adrian Gonzalez signed through 2018 Anderson is largely superfluous to the Red Sox’s future, but it doesn’t mean that he should be moved for an injury-prone starter. The Red Sox finally won a game against their alabaster counterparts with one of their signature double-digit run games. The visitors burned Philip Humber for four runs in the fifth, sparked by Carl Crawford’s leadoff ground ball single to right. Crawford’s presence on the basepaths disrupted the rapport between Humber and A.J. Pierzynski. The left fielder stole second and advanced to third on Pierzynski’s galley-west throw to second. Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove Crawford in with a humpback double to right-center. Josh Reddick dropped a perfect bunt that Humber reached but was unable to get in first in time for an out. Saltalamacchia advanced on the bunt single and scored on Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice fly. Jacoby...

Sink Floyd

Perhaps in thanks to their respective battery mates for pitching so briskly catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski were the only players to clout extra base hits. The Red Sox backstop clubbed a solo shot in the third to give his team the lead and Pierzynski countered with a two-run home run in the seventh to snatch the advantage. Tim Wakefield and Gavin Floyd pitching against each other is a nightmare for advertisers. They both go to work quickly with few pauses in between pitches or batters. Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy must have been out of breath from trying to get in whatever promotional announcements they had to make over the course of this two hour and 10-minute game. Both starters pitched excellently Ozzie Guillen and Dustin Pedroia ribbed each other prior to the game. Guillen threatened to intentionally walk Pedroia if he came to the dish 0-3. Pedroia led off the ninth without a hit and flied out harmlessly to Alejandro De Aza, who drifted into the right-center gap to end Pedroia’s hitting streak at 25 games. Odds are that Pedroia’s best friend Andre Ethier, holder of a 30-game streak this season, immediately texted the Red Sox keystone...

Cycle Killer

Qu’est-ce que c’est? Fa fa fa fa fa fa how the fa was Dustin Pedroia’s eighth inning fly ball to left not a home run? The second baseman fell a four-bagger short of hitting for the cycle. Someone needs to refresh the franchise feat list and replace John Valentin, who remains the most recent Red Sox batter with this achievement thanks to his June 6, 1996 performance. Who will break this 15-year drought? Terry Francona’s pinch hitting substitutions in the fifth broke open the game. The home team went into the bottom of the inning trailing six runs to seven; it was one of those games where it seemed the last team batting was going to prevail. Josh Reddick lofted a leadoff single to center and advanced to second when pinch-hitter Jacoby Ellsbury lined a single to the opposite field. Drew Sutton (who? Yes, I did just make a joke about Anglo-Saxon burial grounds) replaced Darnell McDonald and attempted to sacrifice the runners along. The Royals, perhaps motivated by noblesse oblige, refused the out the Red Sox handed to them. Nathan Adcock charged the ball and fired to first. Mike Aviles, a middle infielder covering the first base sack, missed...


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