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Essential Empy

Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Bradley Jr. (Jackie)”

Playing the Spoiler

The Red Sox indirectly helped former teammates Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes by defeating the second-place Angels 4-2 in their series opener. Jered Weaver lasted six innings but seemed like he could be chased from the game much earlier. Meanwhile Allen Webster gutted out 6⅔ innings and gave up only two runs against a solid lineup. Yoenis Cespedes was obviously most familiar with the Angels and their stadium but had a bit of a mishap on Chris Iannetta’s liner to left field in the third inning. He over-pursued the ball into the corner allowing Efren Navarro to score. Cespedes had doubled in two runs in the top half of the frame so it could be argued that he was a net positive force in the game. Josh Hamilton also had some issues in left field but still managed to rob Xander Bogaerts of a base hit. The divot he created reminded me a little of Manny Ramirez’s World Series Game 1 clod but Hamilton made the play. Cespedes and Hamilton need only to look over to center field to see grace and power in the outfield. Mike Trout didn’t make a highlight reel-quality grab in this game but Jackie Bradley,...

Gomes Away From Gomes

Jonny Gomes didn’t have the best evening in left field on Saturday. In the fourth he and Brock Holt collided as they attempted to catch Mike Moustakas’s can of corn. It was especially frustrating as Rubby De La Rosa had just induced a double play ball off Billy Butler’s bat. At the time of the collision Gary Striewski was interviewing Steve Carell. Carell’s reaction was slightly more subdued than his character’s response to a distasteful suggestion. In the fifth inning Gomes couldn’t find Omar Infante’s fly ball in the dusky sky. Again De La Rosa had two outs under his belt and had to face another batter to get out of the inning. The starter dispatched Eric Hosmer in five pitches. Mookie Betts’s cup of coffee emptied when Shane Victorino became healthy. The rookie’s call-up gave the Red Sox a shot of energy but that spirit didn’t depart with Betts. Victorino went 1-for-3 in his return to Fenway. I don’t know which was more impressive: Mike Napoli’s sixth-inning moonshot. Your browser does not support iframes. Or Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s display of his powerful arm during warm-ups. Your browser does not support iframes. Game 97: July 19, 2014 Kansas City Royals48-48...

Love for Sale

Who’s prepared to pay the price for a trip to paradise? Grass- and blood-stained Jonny Gomes is. The green smears are from his diving grab of Alexei Ramirez’s sinking line drive in the fourth inning. In the seventh Gomes was hit in the face by Tyler Flowers’s fly ball but still recovered in time to get Alejandro De Aza out at home. Love that’s only slightly soiled, love for sale. It is not coincidence that A.J. PIerzynski’s departure has altered the attitude in the clubhouse. Rob Bradford’s report stated that players went to management about Pierzynski’s lack of engagement with his pitchers. Pierzynski’s approach at the plate was in opposition to the Red Sox philosophy of seeing as many pitches as possible. His impatience at the plate, deteriorated offensive production, and lack of camaraderie are not missed. Being a catcher requires levels of sacrifice. You submit your body to countless hours crouching, ricochets, and, prior to the rule change, collisions. You spend time with your battery mates learning their strengths and the opposition’s weaknesses. Pierzynski wasn’t up for that commitment any longer. Old love, new love, every love but true love. Pierzynski’s replacement Christian Vazquez went 0-for-3 in his major...

Lasting Impression

With this loss and the Rays’ victory over the Tigers the Red Sox fell to last place in the AL East. Orioles starter Kevin Gausman was impressive over 5⅓ innings: 4 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, mid to high 90s heat, and a 10 MPH difference between his fastball and his change-up. He looks as if he has yet to get his learner’s permit but he’s 23 years old. Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s mission seemed to be to frustrate Manny Machado. In the seventh inning Bradley caught Caleb Joseph’s can of corn with momentum and fired to home plate. Machado tried to tag up from third base but was out. Your browser does not support iframes. The Red Sox looked like their 2013 selves in the bottom of the seventh. Perhaps they were motivated by Brian Butterfield’s ejection. He was trying to get Hunter Wendelstedt’s attention because Butterfield thought Ryan Webb was not coming to a set position prior to pitching. Instead of hearing Butterfield out the umpire ejected the third base coach. The local nine tied the game with a rare offensive onslaught. Koji Uehara surrendered an unusual walk in the ninth inning with two out, made...

All Betts Are In

Mookie Betts made his much-anticipated major league debut Sunday night. Like this team’s performance Betts’s first game was a mixed bag. He grounded into a double play in his first at bat. The second-inning twin killing ended a scoring opportunity. In the fourth inning Betts singled up the middle with two out. But again he ended the inning. This time he was caught stealing by Brian McCann and Derek Jeter. The team made sure to retrieve the ball he sent to Jacoby Ellsbury as a souvenir. Betts led the sixth off with a base on balls. He made reliever David Huff throw nine pitches in the effort. Huff ended up loading the bases, which prompted Joe Girardi to call Dellin Betances to the mound. Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly to center field plated Betts, giving the rookie his first major league run. Betts isn’t quite yet accustomed to the outfield. He sold out on Ichiro Suzuki’s line drive to right field in the fifth, resulting in a triple. Jackie Bradley, Jr. showed Betts how it was done in the bottom of the sixth. Carlos Beltran, who looks like he is getting dieting tips from Bartolo Colon, tried to score on Kelly...

Aaron Harangued

Steve Lyons reminds me of that uncle that tells the same stories and hackneyed jokes at every family gathering. Granted the anecdotes were amusing… the first time you heard them. Lyons shoots for Bob Uecker but misses the target, not unlike 50 Cent’s first pitch at Citi Field. The Red Sox finally won a series after four straight series losses. John Farrell was aggressive in his game plan. Trailing 2-1 in the fourth he sent Grady Sizemore to steal third base with one out and David Ross at the dish. Fredi Gonzalez challenged the safe call by John Tumpane but the call stood. Ross shot a single to the left-center gap to tie the game 2-2. The Braves responded in the fifth with Freddie Freman’s leadoff triple. Justin Upton followed with a walk and Chris Johnson dropped a single between Jonny Gomes and Dustin Pedroia. But on Johnson’s bloop single Gomes deked Upton into thinking he was going to catch the ball. Upton’s hesitation allowed Gomes to throw the left fielder out at second. Anthony Varvaro and Luis Avilan conspired to wipe away Aaron Harang’s chance at his fifth win in the seventh inning. Varvaro allowed singles to Xander Bogaerts...

Rougned & Martin’s Laugh-In

Jon Lester sat nine batters in order until the fourth frame. Shin-Soo Choo doubled over Jackie Bradley, Jr., who misread the ball off the bat. Elvis Andrus grounded out to second base to advance Choo and Adrian Beltre walked on four pitches. With runners at the corners Prince Fielder powered the ball to left field, which allowed Choo to tag up and score the Rangers’ first run of the game. A flag troop rushed out onto the grassy hill in center. There is no element of football the Rangers fail to incorporate at Global Life Park. Who knew a sacrifice fly that rendered the score 6-1 deserved an end zone celebration. This guy was a tad late for May 4th but just in time to see Choo’s 1-for-4, three-strikeout showing. The force was not strong in Choobacca yesterday. It was strong in Shane Victorino. From the two-hole Victorino went 3-for-4 with a run scored. His single in the second inning could have driven in both Will Middlebrooks and Bradley but only the third baseman arrived home safely. Bradley’s slide was not ideally placed, perhaps because David Ortiz’s directions weren’t clear or in time. Ortiz made up for it with a...

Centennial Man

Ryan Cook toed the rubber in the sixth inning, inheriting the undesirable scenario that Dan Otero left him. The bases were loaded but Cook only had to get two outs. The way the Red Sox had been hitting with runners in scoring position a double play was a likely outcome. Dustin Pedroia stepped into the batter’s box. He let one slider slip by and fouled another off. He sent the third pitch to the top of the Green Monster. Bob Melvin challenged the call but for once replay worked in Boston’s favor. Pedroia had clouted his first home run of the season, the second grand slam of his career, and his 100th homer. It is fascinating to watch Jackie Bradley, Jr. adapt to Fenway Park’s center field. He seems to get better reads than Jacoby Ellsbury and is usually in position to make spectacular catches. It is just the last second adjustments where Bradley needs fine tuning. In the third he nearly robbed John Jason of a triple but ended up colliding with the garage door. Bradley seemed to learn from his earlier misplay and snatched Yoenis Cespedes’s batted ball before it reached the center field wall. Unlike Ellsbury, Bradley...

Victory for Peavy

Jake Peavy finally notched his first win this season. In three of his previous four starts he pitched well enough to win but either wasn’t the pitcher of record when the Red Sox offense scored or had little run support. After a lackadaisical showing against the Yankees, Boston opened the series against another divisional foe with a positive performance. Peavy went 7 innings with 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. It’s hard to tell the difference between fired-up and pissed-off Peavy. The Blue Jays played defense as badly as the Red Sox had done against the Yankees. In the sixth inning Jose Reyes’s throw to Juan Encarnacion was off the mark, allowing Dustin Pedroia to reach first. Toronto reliever Neil Wagner, who replaced Mark Buehrle in the sixth, walked David Ortiz and Mike Napoli, forcing in Boston’s seventh run. I wouldn’t expect Colby Rasmus to make every play to center look like a can of corn but he continues to look as if he lets balls get in play over his head with disturbing frequency. Rogers Centre’s playing field is amongst the worst surfaces, so one could forgive an outfielder for not laying out on every play or...

Ortiz’s Record Tater Trot

With two runners on, one out, and a one-run lead in the eighth Ron Washington entrusted the game to Neal Cotts. The left-handed specialist would square off against David Ortiz, who was 0-for-5 against the southpaw. One umpire review and 32.91 seconds later Ortiz would be 1-for-6 against Cotts and the designated hitter once again raised the question about if there is such a thing as clutch. According to Tater Trot Ortiz set the record for slowest home run jog. They did mention that Ortiz watched the ball because he thought it was foul, not to show up Texas. Washington contested the home run call because of the height of the ball’s trajectory was difficult to compare to Pesky’s Pole, but the call stood. Bill Belichick called for goalposts to be heightened by five feet and his proposal was accepted. The Rangers’ skipper certainly would have liked such a measure to be applied to Fenway’s foul pole, but there might not be enough metal to match the majesty of Ortiz’s fly balls. Rangers leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo had been a terror to the Red Sox this series. David Ross neutralized Choo in the third inning with a slick pickoff move....


The internet has led me to believe that Spanish for “bobbleheads” is “cabezónes,” although “muñecos bobblehead” is also a possibility. Some bobbleheads do a poor job of replicating a player’s likeness but David Ortiz’s was remarkably well done. NESN showed one whose right finger was broken, but the tint of the sunglasses, the bling around the neck, and the elbow guard were on point. The only thing missing was a bit of saliva on the gloves from Papi’s signature at bat preparations. In the third inning Shin-Soo Choo clouted the ball to deep center field. Grady Sizemore pursued it with reckless abandon. Fortunately for the Red Sox Sizemore didn’t injure himself. Unfortunately for us Mike Timlin is no longer playing baseball; he would be chomping at the bit to replicate the crime scene he made for Johnny Damon when he collided with the bullpen wall back in 2005. You are not a true Red Sox player until you are immortalized by committing or being victimized by a prank. Will Middlebrooks’s replacement Jonathan Herrera went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. While he hasn’t dazzled at the dish he did turn in a daring play near the Rangers’ dugout....

Eternal Eight

Carl Michael Yastrzemski was honored on Sunday with a statue near the right field entrance. It is far afield from the territory he covered as a player, but the sculpture rightfully takes its place near Ted Williams and The Teammates. Van Ness Street is becoming Fenway’s Monument Park, a place to mingle with greatness. Antonio Tobias Mendez sculpted Yaz as well as the quartet of Red Sox legends just a few yards away. His portfolio also includes Thurgood Marshall, Mohandas Gandhi, all of the Orioles greats at Camden Yards, and Nolan Ryan. Mendez is the son of Tony Mendez, one of the CIA operatives whose life was chronicled in “Argo.” The likeness is of Yastrzemski’s last game on October 2, 1983, a 3-1 win against Cleveland. At the ceremony he was surrounded by both his families: his kin and the Red Sox. He seemed somewhat more accustomed to the hoopla generated by his presence; the 30 years since his career ended have mellowed him somewhat. In that trademark Yaz way he was grateful for the accolades but more grateful when the pomp and circumstances was finished. It was a perfect fall day for families at Fenway. This boy combined two...

Grimm’s Scary Tale

Once upon a time there was a blowout in Boston. It was a very special blowout peppered with Dennis Eckersley’s color vernacular. He calls big tires “meats” and rims “Ansens.” Turns out “Ansens” were not just rims but wheels developed by Louis Senter, a hot rodder. The Red Sox scored in every single inning except the one that David Murphy pitched. Murphy, who was the first round draft pick for the Red Sox in 2003, was forced to take the mound because of the horrific pitching by Justin Grimm, Michael Kirkman, Joseph Ortiz, and Ross Wolf. Jason Frasor was the only other Ranger who toed the rubber to be somewhat successful: Mike Carp lofted a sacrifice fly off of him for a run but he struck out Dustin Pedroia. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first major league homer in the second inning. The no-doubter cleared the visitors’ bullpen, landing in the aisle between the fence and the center field bleachers. May it be the first of many. Nelson Cruz gave up his body in the fifth on Carp’s blast into home team’s pen. The score was already 10-2 but the right fielder made a tremendous effort to avoid the additional...

He’s a Business, Man

Robinson Cano jumped Scott Boras’s ship (or should I say luxury cruise liner) in favor of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports venture, an agency partnered with CAA. Cano’s new agent has had more hits this season than Cano. Roc Nation also represents Shakira, so I expect to see Cano as a guest mentor on “The Voice” at some point. Jay-Z also manages Rihanna. Could he introduce her to Cano so she can leave Chris Brown already? Disappointingly, the Yankees have someone named after Jackie Robinson but the Red Sox do not. Jackie Bradley, Jr. is named after Jackie Wilson. Bradley had his first major league hit in the third inning, a grounder to center plating Shane Victorino. Bradley’s family braved the cold to cheer their son on. Like Cano, Junior has made the big time. He and Victorino went shopping in New York City and chilled with the Donald. Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner took TARDIS back to 2005: both of them homered in this game. It wasn’t enough to defeat the visitors. Hiroki Kuroda was knocked out of the game by our favorite Mauian after just an inning and a third. The Red Sox also chased replacement pitcher Cody Eppley...


There are some fresh faces on the roster. How better to acquaint oneself with the scrutiny of the Boston sports media than a season opener against the New York Yankees? While the Bronx’s lineup resembled the RailRiders, the Red Sox batters squared off against the formidable CC Sabathia. Shane Victorino was born and raised on the same island I grew up on. Maui no ka ’oi! (Maui is da bes!) He went 2-for-6 and added to Jose Iglesias’s two RBIs with two of his own in the second inning. I do wonder if he will get on base consistently enough to stay in the two-hole, but he managed hits off both a lefty and a righty. Mike Napoli had a rough go of it with an 0-for-5 line and two strikeouts. As such he is the Joey Fatone of the ensemble. Wrong “band”? Oh well, they all blend together. Jonny Gomes notched two hits from the seven-hole. It is less than ideal to have a designated hitter so far down the lineup, but until David Ortiz mends Gomes will have to shoulder the load. I have to think Kevin Youkilis looked over at Gomes’s beard with nostalgic yearning. Last but...


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