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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Devil Rays”

Bananas

Game 156: September 23, 2007 Red Sox 4 L: Tim Wakefield (16-12) 92-64, 1 game losing streak32-14-5 series recordDivisional magic number: 6 Devil Rays 5 W: Edwin Jackson (5-15)H: Jon Switzer (1)H: Gary Glover (15)H: Dan Wheeler (18)S: Al Reyes (25) 64-92, 1 game winning streak15-30-6 series record Highlights: It’s peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly! Peanut butter jelly! Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat! Also, Jerry Remy has been watching too many Cialis commercials. Tim Wakefield turned in his fourth consecutive non-quality start against a team he usually owns. He was also defeated for the first time in the aseptic dome in St. Petersburg. Delmon Young must have been inspired by the internet meme that has slid its way onto Tropicana Field; he knocked in a two-run homer in the second inning against the pitcher that used to give him fits. Big-time nerd Alex Cora homered in the eighth. The dancing banana exhorted his inner geek, unleashing an unlikely power surge. The adrenaline rush also gave him an idea for an uproarious caption for a picture of his polydactyl cat: “I can has Alfonseca awtograf? Hiz mi idle.” Not only is Jacoby...

Seikan [生還]

Game 155: September 22, 2007 Red Sox 8 BS: Javier Lopez (2)W: Eric Gagne (4-2)S: Jonathan Papelbon (36) 92-63, 2 game winning streak32-14-5 series recordDivisional magic number: 6 Devil Rays 6 H: Dan Wheeler (17)BS, L: Al Reyes (4, 2-4) 63-92, 5 game losing streak15-30-6 series record Highlights: Outside of baseball seikan means to survive or to come back from the dead. The first character 生 in this context means life while the second symbol 還 means return. In the world of Japanese baseball, the word means to reach home plate. The Red Sox did both last night to bring baseball to Fenway in October. Daisuke Matsuzaka’s line looks terrible in isolation: six and two-thirds innings pitched, six hits, five earned runs, three walks, seven strikeouts, and one home run. He was responsible Carlos Peña’s solo circuit clout in the fourth, an inning where the starter also gave up another run on consecutive singles. After two quick outs in the seventh Matsuzaka walked two batters, prompting Terry Francona to call in Javier Lopez to face Peña. It was the correct move according to the book, but the small sample size of the resurgent slugger’s success against Lopez may rewrite...

Score

Game 154: September 21, 2007 Red Sox 8 W: Josh Beckett (20-6)H: Manny Delcarmen (10)H: Javier Lopez (12) 91-63, 1 game winning streak31-14-5 series recordDivisional magic number: 7Postseason magic number: 2 Devil Rays 1 L: Scott Kazmir (13-9) 63-91, 4 game losing streak15-29-6 series record Highlights: The one thing old school about Tropicana is that the bullpens sit in foul territory without heed to safety or common sense. In the fifth, Jacoby Ellsbury hurtled his body into the Red Sox bullpen at full speed, blithely maneuvering over pitchers’ mounds, training equipment, and chairs. As he slid over the hills the ball precariously peeked out of his glove. He lay supine near the left field wall surrounded by relievers; the rookie outfielder was seemingly in shock over the rashness of his decision to pursue Greg Norton’s fly ball regardless of consequences. A few of the pitchers made the out sign; Ellsbury had held on for the second out. Josh Beckett became the 27th man to win 20 or more regular season games for the Red Sox in a season. Early in the game it didn’t seem likely that Beckett would endure for the required innings for a decision. He threw...

Clutch

Game 147: September 12, 2007 Devil Rays 4 H: Gary Glover (9)H: Dan Wheeler (16)BS, L: Al Reyes (3, 2-3) 61-85, 2 game losing streak15-28-5 series record Red Sox 5 W: Jonathan Papelbon (1-2) 89-58, 2 game winning streak31-12-5 series recordMagic number: 12 Highlights: David is Goliath. Jon Lester was out of sorts; 93 pitches couldn’t carry him past the fourth inning. The frame-by-frame breakdown revealed a somber portrait of a young pitcher sputtering against a swing-happy impatient hitters: First: 32 pitches, nine batters, four hits, four earned runs, two walks, one strikeout, one home run Second: 22 pitches, five batters, two hits, one walk, two strikeouts Third: 24 pitches, five batters, one hit, two strikeouts Fourth: 15 pitches, four batters, one hit, one walk; left game with two out and two on To be sure, B.J. Upton’s home run was a cheap shot off Pesky’s Pole; in any other park it would have been the second out of the inning. Lester appeared rattled by the shot, allowing two more hits and a walk before striking out Josh Wilson. The inning concluded, narrowly preventing the Devil Rays from batting around. The trainer was summoned in second, but Lester remained...

Barnburner

Game 146: September 11, 2007 Devil Rays 10 L: Jon Switzer (o-1) 61-84, 1 game losing streak15-27-5 series record Red Sox 16 W: Bryan Corey (1-0) 88-58, 1 game winning streak30-12-5 series recordMagic number: 13 Highlights: Something old, something new -- David Ortiz and J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia all homered. Something borrowed, something blue -- Eric Gagne made his first appearance since August 26 and gave up two sharp raps and a run; Joe Maddon presides over one of the two teams tied for the worst record in baseball. Ozzie Guillen is the manager for the other team, and he was just inked to a five-year extension. I don’t think the Devil Rays ownership will be as munificent. Whatever was ailing Tim Wakefield still seems to be nagging him. For the second start in the row the knuckleballer did not last the minimum for a decision and was knocked about soundly by a team he normally dominates. In September Wakefield’s ERA is 17.55. Opponents are batting .512 against him while chalking up .795 in slugging. Although the division title is nearly in hand, if Wakefield’s recent performance doesn’t turn around he may be a question mark...

Convert

Game 145: September 10, 2007 Devil Rays 1 W: Scott Kazmir (12-8)H: Dan Wheeler (15)S: Al Reyes (24) 61-83, 3 game winning streak15-27-5 series record Red Sox 0 L: Curt Schilling (8-7) 87-58, 1 game losing streak30-12-5 series recordMagic number: 14 Highlights: A strip of wood in the first seat in my Sox Pax row this year was shattered enough that my friend and I made unofficial souvenirs. The Yankee fan with us shook his head in bemusement. It was his first visit to Fenway Park last night. He had a sense of irony, subtlety, and grace mostly unknown to his ilk. I was sure to enter through Gate E and jostle him toward the left field loge boxes so that he could get a view of the Green Monster... and the AL East standings. He took it in stride. During the game he feigned nearly convincing sorrow when the home team failed to take advantage of baserunners (not a common condition, as the Devil Rays’ mound men gave up just five hits and three walks). The dissonance was comical, even appreciated. He did bluster about Joba Chamberlain, the hot air he emitted attenuated the chill touch of autumn...

Shiai [試合]

Game 127: August 22, 2007 Red Sox 1 L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-10) 76-51, 1 game losing streak26-11-5 series record Devil Rays 2 W: Edwin Jackson (4-13)H: Dan Wheeler (10)H: Gary Glover (7)S: Al Reyes (19) 48-78, 1 game winning streak10-26-5 series record Highlights: Matsuzaka dropped his tenth game but it wasn’t due to lack of effort on his part. He went six strong with eight strikeouts; he gave up only two hits and four walks, but one of the hits was a homer off the bat of B.J. Upton with Carlos Peña at first thanks to a free pass. Meanwhile, Boston batters left 14 batters on base in this shiai [試合, the Japanese word for game]. The first symbol means test, try, attempt, experiment, or ordeal; the second stands for join and meeting and is also a counter suffix for covered containers and battles. It certainly was an ordeal requiring the imbibing of the contents of several covered containers. Raymond zooming a remote control car about the field with a plush replica of himself taking a Jerry Remy bobble head hostage. The entire game should have been played with remote control cars. The infielders would have little baskets on...

Forthcoming

Game 126: August 21, 2007 Red Sox 8 W: Jon Lester (2-0)H: Manny Delcarmen (7)H: Hideki Okajima (23)S: Jonathan Papelbon (30) 76-50, 2 game winning streak26-11-5 series record Devil Rays 6 L: Andy Sonnanstine (2-9) 47-78, 2 game losing streak10-26-5 series record Highlights: I rarely delight in the suffering of others unless it is truly deserved, so observing carnage visited upon the Yankees in California was exquisitely satisfying. A tip of the hat to Garret Anderson, who up until his 10-RBI detonation last night was doing his best Bernie Williams ca. 2006 impersonation. I wish I could buy David Ortiz’s Mercedes Benz SL65 AMG and present it to Anderson. The West Coast combustion and Raymond assailing Remy and Orsillo with all manner of weaponry (Silly String, a plush rat on a string, baseballs) made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The Wily Mo Peña three-way trade was finalized yesterday. Chris Carter did indeed get traded to the Nationals (for right-handed pitcher Emiliano Fruto) who then flipped the left-handed first baseman to the Red Sox. Carter was assigned to the Pawtucket Red Sox and will likely get called up when rosters expand. This trade aided me greatly in the addictive franchise...

Afloat

Game 125: August 20, 2007 Red Sox 6 W: Tim Wakefield (15-10) 75-50, 1 game winning streak25-11-5 series record Devil Rays 0 L: Scott Kazmir (9-8) 47-77, 1 game losing streak10-25-5 series record Highlights: Mike Lowell reached base each of the four times he got in the box; the third baseman walked twice, doubled, and homered. The Red Sox improved to 11-5 in shutout games. I’m not going to go overboard in ooh-ing and ahh-ing the Red Sox’s performance against the Devil Rays because Tampa Bay is a team that will lose much more often than win. Even with ace Scott Kazmir tallying eight whiffs the visitors hit early and often to put away the game. The charge was led by Mike Lowell and Manny Ramirez who combined for five RBIs. The early lead had the Tampa Bay batters even more impatient than usual. Jitters at the dish when facing a knuckleballer does not a good combination make for the home team. The audio onslaught of cowbells and the Tropicana Heckler combined could not will runs. Tim Wakefield clocked in with a workman-like seven innings with four hits, a solo walk, and five strikeouts. Manny Delcarmen and Mike Timlin...

Karaburi [空振り]

Game 120: August 15, 2007 Devil Rays 6 W: Andy Sonnanstine (2-9)H: Dan Wheeler (9)S: Al Reyes (18) 46-74, 1 game winning streak10-24-5 series record Red Sox 5 L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-9) 72-48, 1 game losing streak25-11-4 series record Highlights: With the tying run in scoring position three Boston batters went down swinging. In Japanese one would say karaburi [空振り]. The first ideogram 空 signifies empty or open; it’s the same symbol used for karaoke, or “empty orchestra” and karate, which means “open hand.” The second symbol 振 is the same kanji used in sanshin (strikeout), but in this case it is pronounced bu. The final character is hiragana for the mora ri. After I graduated from college I soon regretted doing so. Mundane, routine reality began to wear away at my psyche. You really don’t know just how good you’ve got it until you have to enter the workforce. Still, years after I had graduated, on the anniversaries of the time finals and term papers would have been due I would often wake up in a cold sweat. Panic seized my entire body as a cascade of indistinct thoughts clouded my frontal lobes: Did I oversleep? Where is...

Homecoming

Game 119: August 14, 2007 Devil Rays 1 H: Gary Glover (6)H: Dan Wheeler (8)BS, L: Al Reyes (2, 1-2) 45-74, 3 game losing streak10-24-5 series record Red Sox 2 W: Eric Gagne (3-0) 72-47, 2 game winning streak25-11-4 series record Highlights: Of all people to get the win instead of Jon Lester it had to be Gagne? Couldn’t an honorary win be granted to Lester instead? Or to Mike Lowell for his game-tying circuit clout into the Monster seats in the ninth? Jason Varitek for his ground-rule double over the wall in the right field’s curve and Coco Crisp for his game-winning liner into center both deserve consideration to be sure. And we wouldn’t even be talking about these offensive heroics without Mike Timlin tidying up the bases loaded mess Manny Delcarmen got himself into in the eighth. But the “W” will hopefully buoy Eric Gagne’s flagging spirits. He did, after all, strike out the side in the top of the ninth. Just ignore Brendan Harris’s fly ball double and it was almost a return to form. Jon Lester’s Fenway homecoming was powerful, riveting... all those puny words one uses to try and conjure emotion that you feel...

Cinch

Game 118: August 13, 2007 Devil Rays 0 L: James Shields (9-8) 45-73, 2 game losing streak10-23-5 series record Red Sox 3 W: Tim Wakefield (14-10)S: Jonathan Papelbon (28) 71-47, 1 game winning streak24-11-4 series record Highlights: The last time the Red Sox were part of a shutout was July 25; they were on the receiving end against the Indians. This way is better. David Mellor’s elaborate “B” in center field boded well for a team in need of the home field advantage. Fittingly the current Red Sox player the longest tenure, Tim Wakefield, was the lynch pin for a win in a series opener. Wakefield knuckleball eluded the aimless bats of the young Devil Rays; six times they were dismissed from the box. Only Carl Crawford and Jonny Gomes managed to drop balls for hits across eight innings of work, and just three other visitors managed to reach base. The Tampa Bay players may have been a bit peaked from their 5 AM arrival and abrupt awakening at 8 AM because of a fire alarm in their hotel room. (Thanks, helpful hotel workers who shall remain anonymous.) Julio Lugo led off the game with a sharp line drive...

Protest

Game 104: July 28, 2007 Red Sox 12 H: Julian Tavarez (1)H: Hideki Okajima (18)BS: Jonathan Papelbon (2)W: Kyle Snyder (2-2) 64-40, 3 game winning streak22-9-4 series record Devil Rays 6 L: Brian Stokes (2-7) 38-65, 8 game losing streak9-21-4 series record Highlights: Papelbon’s second blown save is somewhat concerning; he’ll likely be closely monitored for any recurrence of the shoulder problem that cut last season short. Julio Lugo drew walks with the bases loaded twice, in the second and the twelfth. Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis both tallied three RBIs. Julian Tavarez got into the spirit Flower Power Night at the Tropicana and gave his impressions of the game. Dude, playing down in Florida was far out. We were playing these cats who were just not happening, man. They just can’t win, you know? The system just keeps getting them down. I was rapping with Papelbon and decided to spread the love, you know? I mean we’ve got over 60 wins and the Devil Rays are totally bumming out because they have that many losses. It’s like we’re mirror images of each other. Their bullpen is a bad scene and ours is groovy. But then it’s like the...

Jape

Game 103: July 27, 2007 Red Sox 7 W: Tim Wakefield (12-9)H: Manny Delcarmen (6) 63-40, 2 game winning streak21-9-4 series record Devil Rays 1 L: Jason Hammel (1-1)BS: Juan Salas (1) 38-64, 7 game losing streak9-20-4 series record Highlights: The Red Sox offense supplied Wakefield with sufficient run support although it did come rather late in the game. The knuckleballer lasted six inning, struck out six, walked three, and allowed one run to score in the dome where he pitches so well. He is now 8-0 when starting at Tropicana Field. In his most recent blog entry Raymond said, “On July 5th I made my Fenway debut. Wally was up on the dugout tossing out balls. I came up on the dugout, took away his bag, and generally taunted the Red Sox faithful. Of course Wally got me back by tearing off my fur. That seems to keep happening every time I visit another stadium. Jerry Remy thought it was funny. Yeah, keep laughing RemDawg. I’ve got plenty in store for you and your precious Wally when you guys come to town July 27!” Raymond made good on his threat by festooning the booth with Raymond beanies as...

Landslide

Game 84: July 5, 2007 Devil Rays 4 L: J.P. Howell (1-2) 33-51, 11 game losing streak8-16-4 series record Red Sox 15 W: Josh Beckett (12-2) 53-31, 4 game winning streak19-7-3 series record Highlights: In case you missed the Fourth of July the Red Sox had more fireworks for you last night. Rollicking runs galore in the bottom of the first, second, third, and sixth innings. Beckett sparkled in the tops of innings one through six save for a slight hiccup the second. But even in that inning he notched two strikeouts. Boston wrapped up a series sweep against Tampa Bay in a dazzling display of offensive prowess. Coco Crisp and Mike Lowell tied for most rib-eyes with five each. Crisp’s spectacle was more showy with a right-handed grand slam off the Coke bottles in the first inning. Or should I say “Coco Cola” bottles? Crisp capped off his total with a bases-loaded walk in the third. The center fielder came up to bat four times with ducks on the pond and in the final two instances he batted left-handed and came up empty. In the sixth he grounded into an inning-ending double play and in the eighth he...

Fireworks

Game 83: July 4, 2007 Devil Rays 5 L: Edwin Jackson (1-9) 33-50, 10 game losing streak8-16-4 series record Red Sox 7 W: Tim Wakefield (9-8)H: Manny Delcarmen (4)S: Jonathan Papelbon (20) 52-31, 3 game winning streak19-7-3 series record Highlights: Terry Francona loaded the lineup with lefties to face Jackson. Jackson was once a highly touted pitching prospect in the Dodgers system; Baseball America ranked number one in 2003 and and number three in 2004. Five innings, nine hits, and seven earned runs later, the fact that TINSTAAPP was readily apparent. But there are such things as positional player prospects, right? Because Jacoby Ellsbury is one of the best. Yesterday he slid over to left as part of Terry Francona’s plan to overwhelm Edwin Jackson with southpaws. There was wisdom guiding this tactic: WHIP vs. LHH: 2.09WHIP vs. RHH: 1.68 Slugging vs. LHH: .534Slugging vs. RHH: .439 LHH OBA: .422RHH OBA: .380 David Ortiz and Mike Lowell placed singles into the outfield in the fourth to set up the chance for Ellsbury to tally his first RBI in the majors. Ellsbury lifted a fly ball over the head of Dustan Mohr, ironically enough, to plate Ortiz for the go-ahead...

Ēsu [エース]

Game 82: July 3, 2007 Devil Rays 1 L: Scott Kazmir (5-5) 33-49, 9 game losing streak8-15-4 series record Red Sox 4 W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (10-5) 51-31, 2 game winning streak18-7-3 series record Highlights: When romanized, the “e” in a Japanese word is pronounced with the long “a” sound, as in neighbor and weigh. A macron over a letter indicates stretching the sound one syllable longer. Therefore, ēsu sounds like the English word it was derived from, “ace.” Loanwords like this one are written in katakana, the more angular syllabary that is also used for emphasis and foreign names. On pace for 20 wins, it’s not a stretch to use the term to describe Matsuzaka. Just over halfway through the season and the Red Sox clashed against the Devil Rays at last. Where have they been all season? This is exactly the type of team Boston should face to further build their lead in the AL East. To wit: The Devil Rays hill staff have the worst ERA in the majors at 5.59. It has accumulated more strikeouts than any other AL team with 588 but are also fourth in the AL for bases on balls, trailing their cellar...

Fête

Game 159: September 27, 2006Devil Rays (61-97), 11Red Sox (84-75), 0W: Tim Corcoran (5-9)L: Josh Beckett (16-11) It’s official: the right field foul pole is now genuinely “Pesky’s Pole.” The Red Sox honored the former shortstop on his birthday this past Wednesday by making what was common parlance authentically commemorated. He was born 87 years ago under the name John Michael Paveskovich in Portland, Oregon. He shortened his name in 1947 to help the dimwits that have ever inhabited the media. It was better than the “Needle Nose” moniker granted to him by friend Ted Williams. Despite the loss, the 2006 Red Sox did set the high watermark for errorless games with 105 flawless outings. The 1998 Baltimore Orioles and the 1999 New York Mets are now tied for second with 104. Pesky bleeds Red Sox, while the Devil Rays make the Red Sox bleed runs. Particularly in the seventh inning. At least one team offered fireworks for Pesky’s birthday. Photo courtesy of Brita Meng Outzen/MLB.com....

Silvern

Game 158: September 26, 2006Devil Rays (60-97), 1Red Sox (84-74), 5L: Jason Hammel (0-5)W: Curt Schilling (15-7) Before the game started, I prowled the stands looking for good subjects for photos, as usual. There were a few of us circulating about, savoring the atmosphere, but less so than when the Red Sox are contenders. While I was lingering around the right field loge seats to take pictures of the then-hidden banner on the wall, one friendly person asked me to take a picture of him with his camera. He wanted the Green Monster in the background as well as the interior façade. He beamed as I took the pictures from beneath the brim of his newly-purchased 59/50. We ended up conversing a bit. He was from Argentina, not exactly a baseball hotbed. He played as an outfielder and, when he got fat (his words), he converted to first base. While on this trip to the US, he also went to games at Dolphin and Shea stadia. Given the parks he has seen in person, of course he thought Fenway Park was the best. “When I go back to Argentina, people are going to ask me what I did there....

Slump

Game 110: August 6, 2006Red Sox (65-45), 6Devil Rays (47-65), 7H: Mike Timlin (17)BS: Jonathan Papelbon (4)L: Julian Tavarez (2-4)W: Shawn Camp (4-0)10 innings This internal monologue is inspired by the negativity currently circulating on Red Sox message boards. Many are inveighing against Theo Epstein’s lack of moves before the trading deadline, especially since the Yankees significantly improved their team with the addition of Bobby Abreu and made an effort to shore up their rotation with Cory Lidle. The screeds below aren’t actually my opinions but rather are a glimpse into the minds of fans on the verge of insanity who have lost all perspective during this slump. Positive Joanna: Well, that was somewhat disappointing. One would have hoped that the Red Sox wouldn’t have lost ground in the AL East or wild card races while playing the lowly Rays. Despite their record, Tampa Bay is a talented young team. Negative Joanna: Squirts on the teams congregating for the 2006 Little League World Series could have gotten the winning run off of Seth McClung. Positive Joanna: Bullpen performance can fluctuate over time. The woes of Manny Delcarmen and Mike Timlin are an aberration. Jonathan Papelbon can’t be expected nail...


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