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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Beckett (Josh)”

Suspended Aggravation

This team couldn’t win an extra innings game at home to save its life. Andrew Miller somehow got his tall frame out of the way of a comebacker off Eric Hosmer’s bat but the Red Sox could not avoid the Royals’ seventh inning comeback. Bobby Valentine relied on Miller longer than he would have liked because Alfredo Aceves was serving a three-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team after the reliever had a tantrum when Andrew Bailey was used as a closer instead of him. As the Red Sox once again fell in extra innings Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto arrived in Los Angeles. Gonzalez made an immediate impact with a three-run homer in the first inning. The Dodgers enjoy three-run circuit clouts while the Red Sox weather three-game suspensions. There’s two ways to rebuild a team and in Boston it will be the painful path. Game 127: August 25, 2012 ∙ 12 innings Kansas City Royals56-69 10 W: Francisley Bueno (1-0)S: Greg Holland (7)2B: Alex Gordon (41), Billy Butler (19), Eric Hosmer (19)3B: Mike Moustakas (1) Boston Red Sox60-67 9 BS: Craig Breslow (1)L: Junichi Tazawa (0-1) 2B: Dustin Pedroia (29), Jacoby Ellsbury (16)HR: Mauro Gomez...

Roller Coaster

Like the season this game was a roller coaster. Just look at the win probability chart for the contest from Baseball Reference. The graphic from FanGraphs reverses the teams’ halves so it is condensed mirror image. Such are my thoughts about the impending trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. I truly thought acquiring Gonzalez would complement David Ortiz much as Manny Ramirez did. I wasn’t as keen on Crawford, thinking that a smart organization like the Rays must be sensing his decline, but in no way did I think he was at the end of his run. Beckett helped win 2007 and called Joba Chamberlain a c*** but seemed to have gone astray when Mike Lowell retired. Nick Punto was signed as a good veteran clubhouse presence, but see how well that worked out this season. After 2004 I remember grinning along with Ramirez as he said that the team has to turn the page after that success so that they could achieve more. He mimed the action making it all the more memorable. With Theo Epstein at the helm I thought there was a chance at a Belichickean dynasty. Epstein resigned...

The Axeman Cometh

Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure was fired yesterday. Randy Niemann will replace McClure for the rest of the season, but it is unlikely that members of the coaching staff feel comfortable in their positions. This ouster could be a harbinger of the housecleaning to come. The timing of the dismissal seemed somewhat appropriate with Josh Beckett losing four of his last six outings, the other two being an injury-shortened showing on July 31 and the other an eight-run drubbing on August 8 that wasn’t a loss thanks to Will Middlebrooks tying the game with a three-run homer. But in this game Beckett wasn’t spectacularly awful, it’s just that Boston’s offense was woeful against Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano. They managed a mere five hits against the duo and did not work a single walk. Adrian Gonzalez lofted a solo shot into the right field stands in the seventh, but he was outshone by Ichiro Suzuki’s pair of circuit clouts. I commiserated with some Red Sox fans in Fire Brand of the American League’s live chat Sunday. Misery loves company. Game 122: August 19, 2012 Boston Red Sox59-63 1 L: Josh Beckett (5-11) HR: Adrian Gonzalez (15) New York Yankees72-49...

Weather With You

I’m glad this guy hit a home run, because no one else did in this game. When it rained the runs poured in for the local nine. In a storm of singles four runs scored off of reigning Cy Young award winner and MVP Justin Verlander. The Tigers ace at least received grudging respect from the Fenway crowd, unlike another hurler. Josh Beckett left the game in the third inning after loading the bases and walking in what would be Detroit’s only run. He departed to a chorus of boos, the fans apparently unaware that he left because of back spasms and that might have been the source of his poor performance. Wait, they weren’t booing, they were saying “boooooooo-ack spasms.” In the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and two out the grounds crew “took the tahp off the tahp,” or removed the covering of the tarp, for those who are rhotic speakers. Jim Leyland didn’t criticize the umpires’ decision but the Tigers organization filed a complaint. Who can blame them since they are a handful of games behind the White Sox in the AL Central and every game matters. But maybe Jerry Layne, Vic Carapazza,...

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)...

Wedge Shot

I’m not the first to point out the similarities between Eric Wedge and Ron Swanson, the burly man’s man from “Parks and Recreation.” Wedge drove home the resemblance by taking his team to the mat for their poor offensive performance in Saturday’s game. “You’ve got to play every day like it’s your last, and some of the people out here need to be playing every day like it’s their last,” he said ominously. The Mariners are last in their division so it is likely that the team will be sellers as the trade deadline approaches. Wedge is likely getting together a list for general manager Jack Zduriencik about who upholds the principles of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness and who does not. Wedge continued, “There’s just a certain way we’re going to go about things here. I didn’t bring my butt all the way out here to do it any other way. And we are going to be a championship team. Whether it’s with all these guys or some of these guys is yet to be determined. But there’s a vision here.” The vision probably isn’t being 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position, but at least Chone Figgins got enough...

You’ve Been Burned

“Someone needs your help, Michael,” croaked Christine Cagney, I mean, Madeline Westen. Josh Beckett, a country-born yokel swindled by big city beer distributors, tries to get the money he invested back from a scam. But can even Michael Westen help the befuddled bumpkin when up against a cadre of deep pockets? The good Josh is helped by his buddy Dustin Pedroia. If no one helps Dustin get past second after he doubles, will he just go back to feckless barhopping? Up against Michael, Fiona, and Sam (a.k.a. Chuck Finley) is the evil Josh Johnson. His bewildering arsenal has the neighborhood (and the Red Sox lineup) in hiding. Game 61: June 11, 2012 Boston Red Sox29-32 1 L: Josh Beckett (4-7) 2B: Dustin Pedroia (15) Miami Marlins32-29 4 W: Josh Johnson (4-4)H: Steve Cishek (7)S: Heath Bell (13) 2B: Logan Morrison (8)3B: Jose Reyes (4)...

Good Job, Good Effort

The Red Sox fell back to a .500 record. Good job, good effort! Josh Beckett lasted 8 innings with 5 hits, 2 earned runs, no bases on balls, and 5 strikeouts. The Orioles didn’t have any extra base hits off of the starter but scored two runs on a smattering of singles in the sixth. Good job, good effort! The Red Sox left 16 on base and were 1-9 with runners in scoring position. Good job, good effort! Game 56: June 6, 2012 Baltimore Orioles32-24 2 W: Wei-Yin Chen (5-2)H: Pedro Strop (11)S: Jim Johnson (18) No extra base hits Boston Red Sox28-28 1 L: Josh Beckett (4-6) 2B: Darnell McDonald (5)...

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...

Finer Forty-Niner

Josh Beckett didn’t spoil his own birthday nor “Thanks, Wake Day” with his outstanding outing: 7 innings, 4 hits, no earned runs, 2 walks, and 9 strikeouts. Even New England weather was forgiving on Tim Wakefield’s day of tribute, providing a mostly clear day of baseball. The gentle showers were like the fans’ eyes misting over at the sight of people pouring out of the center field door, all beneficiaries of Wakefield’s charities. It was a touch of Steinbergian genius to have Doug Mirabelli enter the field in a police car, reenacting his 2006 return to the Red Sox as Wakefield’s personal catcher. Before his ceremonial first pitch Wakefield swung his arm back and forth to shake off the rust. He looked as if he could don the spikes in a minute and step in if Beckett failed. Mirabelli — not so much. Hopefully after his speech David Ortiz spent a few minutes with Mirabelli for some fitness tips. Ortiz broke the scoreless tie in the third with a blast into the visitors’ bullpen. How must that make a reliever feel to be assailed by a harbinger of their impending doom? If a rookie reliever were posed with the quandary...

Derek and the Domino Effect

In honor of Carl Beane’s passing there was no public address announcer for this game. Sadly the team didn’t play well enough to honor Carl’s memory. Josh Beckett probably wished it were as silent during his departure in the third inning. He was serenaded by a chorus of jeers. Even if he hadn’t made the news recently for golfing two days before his scratched start he still deserved the taunting given his line: 2⅓ innings pitched, 7 hits, 7 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, and 2 home runs. Meanwhile Derek Lowe induced 12 ground outs and posted a quality start: 6 innings pitched, 9 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 base on balls, and 3 strikeouts. So far this season Lowe has a ERA+ of 157. It made me think that perhaps Lowe would have been a better option than John Lackey, but comparing the two pitchers across 2010-11 there wasn’t a significant improvement. Lowe’s WAR was 2.7 and 2.5 while Lackey started promisingly at 4.1 but plummeted to 1.5. But in September, as we well remember, all the Red Sox needed was one more win. Game 31: May 10, 2012 Cleveland Indians18-13 8 W: Derek Lowe (5-1) 2B: Asdrubal...

Josh Beckett Departs in the Third

Early, but not early enough for a tee time. He could make his way to a driving range, however....

Red Red Lines

I kept on thinking that the Red Sox were playing the Phillies or Nationals, but the White Sox were in genuine throwbacks from the 1970s. In 2012 Paul Konerko wasn’t juggling balls in the dugout with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth but rather watching Gavin Floyd flirt with a perfect game until the fifth and a no-hitter up to the seventh. Cody Ross, balaclava free, broke up the perfecto after Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz harmlessly grounded out to the middle infielders. Ross worked a base on balls on seven pitches and refrained from flipping his bat when he took first. Dustin Pedroia, who wore one of the four shared balaclavas, broke up the no-hitter with a sharp grounder past his diving counterpart, Eduardo Escobar. David Ortiz powered Pedroia to third with a line drive double to right. With runners in scoring position Ross came through again and drove in Boston’s only run with a single past shortstop Alexei Ramirez to plate Pedroia. Getting a closer look at Pedroia he wasn’t wearing an accessory on his head — that was his facial hair. Josh Beckett didn’t pitch badly but merely was out-played by Floyd, a hurler who has...

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...

Brick by Brick

The Red Sox attempted to rebuild their championship franchise with a successful home opener. Josh Beckett contributed by not grooving fastballs down Broadway and every batter but Cody Ross had at least one hit. The lineup batted around in the eight-run eighth inning, only the second time Boston has done so this season. Kelly Shoppach stole a base for the first time in his career in the sixth inning with the score 4-2 in favor of the Red Sox, Mike Aviles at third, two out, and Ryan Sweeney (who is batting .429 and has an OBP of .478). I forgive Bobby Valentine for sending Shoppach in this situation because it resulted in the most hilarious slide ever. I thought I was watching a trailer for the upcoming Three Stooges movie rather than a baseball play. As the Bruins are busy defending their Stanley Cup championship other luminaries participated in this historic Opening Day ceremony. Recently retired Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek emerged from behind the left field wall-sized American flag to throw the first pitch out to Dwight Evans and Jim Rice. Johnny Pesky, who had to be assisted onto the field, opened the game with the customary shout of...

Detroit Jock City

Detroit showcased its prodigious offense, a slugging lineup that was bolstered by Prince Fielder when Victor Martinez suffered a season-ending injury this past January. Fielder joined Miguel Cabrera in swatting two homers in yesterday’s rout of the visiting Red Sox. The Tigers duo of Fielder and Cabrera not only torment ace pitchers with their bats, their combined appetites could easily revitalize Detroit’s restaurant scene. Josh Beckett did nothing to allay doubts about his commitment to the game after the end of the season fiasco of which he is considered a primary author. He had thumb discomfort that had him seeking the advice of physicians but Beckett’s atrociousness was not due to injury. His command of the strike zone wasn’t a match for Cabrera and Fielder’s power strokes. Even Alex Avila, a catcher with moderate power, got to Boston’s right-handed starter. Beckett’s shakiness was not the only sign of playing off the offseason rust. In the bottom of the sixth Jacoby Ellsbury ran down Jhonny Peralta’s liner to shallow center, displaying his typical speed but failing to hold onto the ball once it was in his glove. With the bases loaded and one out in seventh Peralta grounded out to third....

Please Don’t Be Long

Well it only goes to showAnd I told them where to goAsk a policeman on the streetThere’s so many there to meetPlease don’t be long, please don’t you be very longPlease don’t be long or I may be asleep“Blue Jay Way” — The Beatles Pitchers’ duels are like a dining experience at a Michelin four-star restaurant where they don’t monitor ingredients that patrons have severe allergic reactions to. Most people can revel in the glory of skilled professionals plying their trade, but a number of the participants may find themselves writhing in potentially lethal agony due to anaphylactic shock. Such was the case for Red Sox fans who through nearly four hours of baseball on their Labor Day holiday only to have their hope for victory fly away with Brett Lawrie’s two-out home run in the bottom of the 11th inning. The emerging third baseman has all the makings of a Red Sox killer: dazzling, rally-killing defensive plays, smart, aggressive baserunning, and a knack for a timely hit. Marco Scutaro played like an embedded Blue Jay. In the fifth the shortstop doubled to center field with one down. He tripped while trying to advance to third on Jacoby Ellsbury’s tapper...

Bottles and Cans and Just Clap Your Hands

Did Alex Rodriguez call 912 (911 for rich people) when he sprained his left thumb? David Ortiz defiantly flipped his bat after his fifth-inning longball cleared the center field wall. He didn’t clap at home plate but he did play up his usual heavenward gesture. A player of Ortiz’s caliber (377 career home runs) may have earned some clout to Cadillac compared to someone like Francisco Cervelli, the Yankee Clapper. Josh Beckett held the Yankees to a single run until the sixth inning. Mark Teixeira led off and got hit in the foot by a curveball. Despite the tense atmosphere the unintentional plunking didn’t lead to the umpiring crew to overreact and warn the benches. The Yankees first baseman advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Robinson Cano’s gap double. Nick Swisher walked and Eric Chavez displayed a flash of his former Silver Slugger self with a line drive double to right. Reddick chased the bounding ball all the way from Pesky’s Pole to the door of the Yankees bullpen as Chavez dashed to third. The Yankees scored the fourth run of the inning with Eduardo Nunez’s sacrifice fly to center. Jacoby Ellsbury clapped his hands as he rounded...

You Got What I Need

Kevin Youkilis found a profitable way to spend his time during his disabled list stint. A-list movie stars only let such commercials run on continents other than North America. Perhaps the MLBPA should intervene. While Youk still has what the Red Sox need, Jacoby Ellsbury’s return was like a spark that lit the Red Sox lineup like a string of firecrackers. All along the batting order bats were cracking: Carl Crawford went 2-for-3 with a two-run double, a sacrifice fly, and a two-run home run. Adding to the Red Sox pyrotechnics were Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez’s eighth inning shot was particularly methodical. Darren O’Day thought he evaded the slugger’s implacable bat when Gonzalez pulled the ball foul. Gonzalez converted the very next four-seamer into a four-bagger, causing the Rangers reliever to bellow a four-letter word. Texas native Josh Beckett, like Abilene-born John Lackey the night before, enjoyed embarrassingly extravagant run support. The Red Sox scored in every inning but the third and ninth. As in Lackey’s start, every starting position player had at least one hit. Tim Wakefield was seen desperately trying to bottle the excess runs, like Henry Ford capturing Thomas Edison’s last breath in a test tube....

Aces Wild

Felix Hernandez’s alter ego Larry Bernandez took over in the sixth inning. The Red Sox touched up Bernandez for four runs in that inning when Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia both homered with a runner on base. The quartet of runs were not enough to overcome the lead that Josh Beckett’s doppelganger Henry Reckett gave up in the first inning. The local nine scored five runs in the first, led by Ichiro Suzuki’s first-pitch four-bagger. Franklin Gutierrez and Dustin Ackley singled and doubled respectively and both scored on Mike Carp’s single up the middle. Reckett didn’t notch an out until he faced former Red Sox outfielder Wily Mo Pena. Casper Wells homered to plate the fourth and fifth runs of the inning and game. Besides the two innings of offense the only other highlight was Terry Francona’s ejection in the fourth. Home plate umpire, fill-in official, and teacher at the Wendelstedt Umpire School Mark Ripperger initially ruled Ellsbury safe at home but he was overruled by first base umpire and crew chief Brian O’Nora. Ellsbury did say the crew did make the correct call after the game but that didn’t undo Francona’s tossing and classic “you’re throwing me out, I’ll...


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