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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Diamondbacks”

Snake Strike(out)

Mark Reynolds struck out all four of his at bats, not an uncommon thing for the slugger who mans the hot corner for the Diamondbacks or the rest of his teammates for that matter. As a team Arizona leads the entire league in strikeouts with 625. The next two teams aren’t even in the 600s: the Blue Jays are in second with 535 and the Marlins rounding out the trio with 523. Reynolds holds first and second season-highs in whiffs; in 2008 he had 204 and 2009 he upped it to 223. All the other hitters on the list, such as Ryan Howard, Jack Cust, and Adam Dunn, at least have the restraint to keep their punchout marks under 200. Despite the opposition’s free-swinging ways, John Lackey didn’t get a season-high number of strikeouts in a game, but turned in a solid line: 6 innings pitched, 8 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 bases on balls, and 5 strikeouts. The game started one hour earlier to minimize the overlap between the Red Sox regular season series conclusion and the NBA Finals Game 7 finale. While Boston’s baseball team swept its series, the roundball team was unable to overcome the Los...

Long Distance Relationship

I can’t wait for the long distance part of my relationship with the Red Sox to be over. I just couldn’t miss two consecutive games in a row, but my computer conspired against me. After two years of faithful service the speakers on my Compaq 6910p no longer work. I tried to reinstall the speaker drivers to no avail. I discovered that something is wrong with the speaker drivers, not with the sound itself, so when I used headphones I could listen to the WEEI broadcast. Hunched over a laptop, alone in a hotel room 437 miles from Fenway: not the ideal way to experience the Red Sox, but it’s better than no baseball. Although Joe Castiglione is a skillful radio broadcaster, seeing the video replay of Chris Young’s snare of Victor Martinez’s fly ball to deep center was impressive. Castiglione mentioned that Young’s cap went askew in the collision with the wall and that he seemed shaken up by the impact, so I specifically looked for those things in the highlight reel. Indeed, the center fielder jogged away from the wall rubbing his ribs, his hat jauntily tilted like a dandy’s. Unlike other outfielders we could mention, his ribs...

Don’t Tread On Me

I’m traveling on business right now so I wasn’t able to watch this game. I’m in the capital of the United States, a city which I last visited when Clinton was in the White House. It wasn’t by design that I have only come to Washington D.C. when a Democrat was in office and the party had the majority in Congress, but I definitely would have different emotions seeing the edifices of our government had I been here between 2001 and 2009. The Arizona ball club’s mascot is the diamondback, a rattlesnake found in the state. A relative of this serpent, the timber rattlesnake, was suggested by Benjamin Franklin as emblematic of the nascent United States:I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretentions of quarrelling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to...

Excellent Eighth

Selected photos from the late-inning comeback game on Tuesday night. A Diamondbacks flag was raised from the front of the Souvenir Store across from the Cask and Flagon. The left field wall seemed forlorn from the pummeling rain. The Jumbotron announced the rare visit from the Diamondbacks....


Game 81: June 25, 2008 Diamondbacks 0 L: Randy Johnson (4-6) 40-39, 2 game losing streak Red Sox 5 W: Tim Wakefield (5-5)H: Manny Delcarmen (11)S: Jonathan Papelbon (23) 49-32, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Nerd alert! Kevin Youkilis manned first base with orange-tinted goggles. I only hope it doesn’t become a crutch like Rip Hamilton’s mask. When you have a match-up between a veteran knuckleball pitcher and a youthful team that strikes out at an alarming rate, you get a game like last night. Looking over Tim Wakefield’s game log shows that despite having an unpredictable pitch he has turned in remarkably consistent starts: his five June starts have all lasted seven innings each, he has struck out at least three in the course of the game, and has not allowed more than three earned runs in each appearance.Yet Wakefield only had one win to show for his efforts until Wednesday night’s game. Wakefield’s run support has ratcheted up to 5.1 runs a game. It wasn’t the guys whose names appear on the All-Star ballot who produced, but rather two role players came up big for their pitcher and their team. Brandon Moss plated the first two runs:...

Snakebitten Ace

Selected pictures from Monday night’s game. Dan Haren proved he could still hang in the Junior Circuit. Josh Beckett warming up. Catchers Jason Varitek and Chris Snyder chatted while taking their stretches....


Game 80: June 24, 2008 Diamondbacks 4 BS, L: Chad Qualls (5, 1-6) 40-38, 1 game losing streak Red Sox 5 W: Chris Smith (1-0)S: Jonathan Papelbon (22) 48-32, 1 game winning streak Highlights: After I watched the game in person I saw the midnight replay on NESN. Never had I so thoroughly enjoyed attending the game in person and watching a broadcast of a game for completely different reasons. I left my office in Waltham on the early side to meet my friends at El Pelon Taqueria, a tiny but marvelous Mexican restaurant on Peterborough Street. The torrential thunderstorms impeded my driving progress, but the timing of my late arrival at the restaurant fortuitously allowed my friends and I to observe another cloudburst from a cozy table indoors while munching on taquitos and tamales.We slogged our way to Fenway without getting drenched. The passing dashes of rainwater cleansed the area and imparted a lustrous cast on the procession of flamboyant new buildings that have mushroomed in the Fens. When I lived there in the late 90s it was not unusual to walk past questionable places of commerce with graffiti scrawled along blank walls. Now gleaming clean concrete greeted...


Game 79: June 23, 2008 Diamondbacks 2 W: Dan Haren (8-4)H: Tony Pena (13)S: Brandon Lyon (16) 40-37, 1 game winning streak Red Sox 1 L: Josh Beckett (7-5) 47-32, 1 game losing streak Highlights: A pitchers’ duel that reminded me of the showdown between Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez on June 8, 2002. Again the home team lost by a single run. A little girl I talked to at the T stop wearing a balloon animal monkey around her shoulders couldn’t have been happier despite the loss. She got to see her favorite players Manny Ramirez and “Coco Crisp Coco Puffs.” Success breeds followers. The Diamondbacks snatched the title away from the Yankees in 2001 and when the team visited Fenway in 2002 quite a few fans were festooned in shades of teal and purple. But as quickly as they rocketed to a title (they were the fastest expansion team to win the World Series) they plummeted to irrelevance under the increasingly inept ownership of Jerry Colangelo.When the Red Sox were drenching locker rooms across the country with champagne on their 2004 championship run, the Diamondbacks turned in a historically awful season, winning just 51 games. Bob Brenly...

Uchikata [打ち方]

Game 62: June 10, 2007 Red Sox 1 L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (7-5) 40-22, 1 game losing streak15-5-2 series record Diamondbacks 5 W: Randy Johnson (4-2)H: Jailen Peguero (1)H: Tony Pena (13) 37-27, 1 game winning streak12-9-0 series record Highlights: Mike Lowell, even injured, proved productive. He drove in the only Boston run of the afternoon in the fourth with a grasscutter down the third base line. People on this side of the Pacific got to see Matsuzaka’s uchikata against major league pitching. Uchikata means batting form or swing. The first symbol 打 means strike, hit, knock, or pound; ち is a hiragana symbol with no particular meaning in this context; and 方 means way of doing. Another kata [型] refers to the memorized forms and patterns used in various Japanese arts, from the tea ceremony to kabuki to martial arts. Two pitchers could not look more different and yet they twirled nearly identical lines. Daisuke Matsuzaka lasted 6 innings, allowed 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 4 walks, and 9 strikeouts while Randy Johnson matched him in innings, hits, and punchados. The one additional base on balls led to the extra run that would be the difference in the game...


Game 61: June 9, 2007 ∙ 10 innings Red Sox 4 W: Hideki Okajima (2-0)S: Jonathan Papelbon (14) 40-21, 3 game winning streak15-5-2 series record Diamondbacks 3 H: Tony Pena (12)H: Doug Slaten (4)BS: Brandon Lyon (2)L: Juan Cruz (2-1) 36-27, 3 game losing streak12-9-0 series record Highlights: The Red Sox became the second team to reach the 40-win mark on Saturday; the Angels punished the Cardinals a few hours before for their 40th. Okajima tallied his second major league win; maybe this time Papelbon saved a game ball for him. The Diamondbacks remind me of the 2005 Cleveland Indians. They have the raw materials to make a championship team: youthful talent in key positions (Chris Young in center, Stephen Drew at short, and Miguel Montero as the backstop), a staff ace in Brandon Young, a decent if not topflight closer with Jose Valverde, and a smart front office headed by Josh Byrnes. Round it off with steady veterans like Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hudson, and Randy Johnson and you have a contender... in the National League West. Once again the Red Sox proved their ascendancy over other division leaders with an extra-inning victory. Arizona established an early lead with...


Game 60: June 8, 2007 Red Sox 10 W: Josh Beckett (9-0) 39-21, 2 game winning streak14-5-2 series record Diamondbacks 3 L: Doug Davis (4-7) 36-26, 2 game losing streak12-8-0 series record Highlights: Beckett faced a lineup with four players with less than two years major league experience and two other with less than three and thoroughly dominated it. He struck out eight and didn’t hand out a single free ride over eight innings. Manny Ramirez was rapped by a pitch in the sixth that dropped him to the ground in pain, but the left fielder remained in the game to cross home on J.D. Drew’s second master fly. Red Sox, I have a confession to make. I’ve been fantasizing about another team. It doesn’t mean I love you any less. Don’t look at me like that; just listen. There’s this franchise fantasy league I’m in, and in it I’m the Diamondbacks GM. It’s just fantasy baseball, sweetie! Don’t get upset! Last night I was totally thinking of you and you alone, honestly. It helps that Doug Davis isn’t on my fantasy Diamondbacks, but even if he were I’d still be cheering for you 100%. Did you have to...


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