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Essential Empy

Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Drew (J.D.)”

Man Bites Dog

Homeowners foreclose on bank. John Lackey beats Felix Hernandez. Our long national nightmare is over: Terry Francona finally pulled J.D. Drew from the lineup and replaced him with Josh Reddick. The diminishment of Drew’s production has played out much like Mike Lowell’s, who visited the booth in the fourth and fifth innings. According to Baseball Reference’s calculations Drew holds -0.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), so he actually lessens the Red Sox’s chances of winning when he plays. Reddick has a WAR of 1.9. Reddick’s uniform number has generally decreased as his contributions to the big league team have increased. In 2009 he was given 68, he wore 39 and 46 in 2010, and this season he has earned his “real” number — 16. Jacoby Ellsbury likely won’t repeat his franchise stolen base record year of 2009, but only because he has hit twice as many home runs this season as he did the entirety of that record-breaking year. He hit his 16th four-bagger of the season off Seattle ace Felix Hernandez to leadoff the third inning. Theo Epstein has been itching to extend Ellsbury as was done with Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Jon Lester, but the center fielder is...

Lester’s Left Latissimus

If you say that three times in a row while clicking your heels together perhaps the southpaw will avoid the disabled list. The Red Sox roster seemed subject to some sort of perverse algebra. Just as Carl Crawford is poised to return to action Jon Lester was forced from last night’s game in the midst of a no-hitter. Since he only pitched four innings he wasn’t in line for the win; he left with one base on balls and five strikeouts to his name. Offensive support came early and from an unlikely source. Darnell McDonald’s second-inning check swing ground out advanced David Ortiz from second to third and Jason Varitek’s clanger off the scoreboard plated the designated hitter. Ice-cold J.D. Drew scorched a grounder past second baseman Aaron Hill to plate Varitek. Dustin Pedroia clouted a home run in the third inning from the clean-up spot. Ortiz looked on from the on-deck circle and seemed to question his selections for his “Bomb Squad:” Jose Bautista, Adrian Gonzalez, and Robinson Cano. Matt Albers, Franklin Morales, and Daniel Bard kept the scoreless stranglehold on the game, allowing just two hits and two walks between them. But against Jonathan Papelbon the heart of...

Just Like They Drew It Up

The Red Sox wrote their first non-linear game story, a pastiche of 14 innings covering three storylines: Josh Beckett’s dominance, Jason Varitek’s and Jonathan Papelbon’s unraveling, and Alfredo Aceves’s perseverance. The first five innings of the game were a taut pitchers’ duel between Beckett and Trevor Cahill. As any good writer would, Beckett created tension when he hit David DeJesus in the foot and walked Ryan Sweeney on four pitches to begin the sixth. Cahill’s club, representing the young up and comers, tied the game with Josh Willingham’s two-run double. The local nine battled back in the bottom of the sixth with a three-run barrage sparked by Jacoby Ellsbury’s patented leadoff single/stolen base combination. Dustin Pedroia drove in the go-ahead run and Kevin Youkilis plated Pedroia with a double that eluded Willingham’s pursuit multiple times as it caromed around the left field corner. Carl Crawford, a pivotal character in late and close games, knocked a gutshot single for the third run. Beckett and Matt Albers added minor twists by allowing a run and an out between them in the seventh, but in a feel-good touch rookie Tommy Hottovy took the mound and induced an inning-ending double play. The traditional dramatic...

Take That Left at Alburquerque

Is the price the Red Sox have to pay for a winning streak the decimation of the rotation? First John Lackey and then Daisuke Matsuzaka were shelved and tonight Josh Beckett was pulled after six innings and 83 pitches due to neck stiffness. By the time Beckett left the mound the offense had established a 2-1 lead against the formidable Justin Verlander. The Tigers ace’s near Johnny Vander Meer was well in his rear view mirror, something he needed to see J.D. Drew’s tie-breaking, two-out longball drift into the right field stands in the fourth inning. David Ortiz clubbed an insurance run into the bleachers behind the bullpen in the seventh. With Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon in the offing the homer seemed to be a little extra something but probably unnecessary, like tonsils or the appendix. But one should never look a gift Teixeira in the mouth. Bard, perhaps worn down from last night’s outing and intervening rain delay, surrendered the tying and go-ahead runs in the form of consecutive homers by Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera must have been excited to be in Fenway since it now offers hard liquor. Papelbon wasn’t his sharpest either. He pitched...

Double Trouble

The magic snuggie has been forever tainted by Peter Abraham. Did you have a Laffey over Doug Fister’s surname? In every fantasy baseball league the same joke is inevitably made. But last night the joke was on the Red Sox lineup — it couldn’t string together hits off Fister and Aaron Laffey over eight innings. Dennis Eckersley, who was filling in for Jerry Remy, all but stated that the Mariners pitchers he saw were throwing salad. Speaking of tossed salads and scrambled eggs, Milton Bradley was ejected from the game in the third inning by second base umpire and crew chief Gerry Davis. Kevin Youkilis double clutched on Miguel Olivo’s grounder to make sure Chone Figgins didn’t break for home. That delay allowed Olivo to beat Youkilis’s throw to first but Todd Tichenor called the Mariners catcher out. Eric Wedge (who with his mustache strongly resembles Ron Swanson of “Parks and Recreation”) argued for a bit but relented. His outfielder did not. At least this time Bradley did not get injured while getting ejected. When Peter Gammons sat in as the color analyst for Jerry Remy in the first game of this series he mentioned that Bradley sent him the...

Falling Angels

When Boston came to town the Angels were in the catbird seat of the AL West. After two games the home team found themselves trailing the Rangers for divisional supremacy. But in terms of ascendancy in the Los Angeles area the Angels have surpassed the Dodgers in team management. The McCourts’ derelict ownership of one of the gems of baseball has prompted Bud Selig to announce that the league oversee the team. Both Frank and Jamie McCourt used the franchise as their personal piggy bank even though the purchase was financed by debt. The Dodgers are weathering a series of setbacks: their owners are embroiled in acrimonious divorce proceedings, the McCourts shackled the organization with $433 million in debt (as of September 2010), and an attendee was viciously attacked on Dodger Stadium premises and to this day remains in a medically induced coma. The worst that could happen at Angel Stadium is someone spilling a latte on you unintentionally. An overzealous Angels fan might yell in your general direction loudly if he looks up from his iPhone long enough to get his cue from the Jumbotron. Unlike the McCourts Arte Moreno reaches out to the homeless community. Just last night...

Lowrie’s Seasoned Salt

My mom always had a jar of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt in the cupboard to quickly add zest to hamburgers or pork chops. In much the same way Jed Lowrie adds zing to the Red Sox; it’s not a coincidence that since Lowrie has been inserted in the lineup home cooking has been tastier. Today Lowrie put Sam Fuld to shame with a 4-for-5 outing, sprinkling in four runs batted with a splash of two-run home run for good measure. Terry Francona exploited Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero’s vulnerability to J.D. Drew by slotting the right fielder into the leadoff slot. The move also gave Carl Crawford some relief from the pressure of batting first. Drew led off the game with a triple that nearly cleared the center field wall and went on to score the first run of the game. Kevin Youkilis also just missed a homer when he hammered the ball of the top of the home bullpen’s wall in the bottom of the third but easily lofted the ball over the visitors’ bullpen wall in the sixth. His 114th home run further padded the lead to 7-0 and equally split his roundtrippers to 57 at Fenway and 57...

Bradenia is Now Beckettburg

King Dallas I of Bradenia was dethroned by upstart Josh Beckett the Usurper. While the ouster was hardly impressive (6 innings pitched, 3 earned runs, 5 walks, and 7 strikeouts) it prevented the Red Sox from being swept by a team whose record hovers around .500. Aiding Beckett in the expropriation was J.D. Drew and Ryan Kalish with two runs batted in apiece. Drew’s sixth inning double brought the encroachers within a run. Not only did Drew’s extra base hit help spark the rebellion but also made up for him getting thrown out at first to end the fourth inning when he casually back-peddled to the bag after making a banana turn. Fireballer Henry Rodriguez couldn’t blow away Kalish, who pinch hit for Bill Hall and lofted the ball deep enough to left so that Mike Lowell could score from third. Drew charged around the bases with a purpose and scored the go-ahead head run on Kalish’s single. Home plate Hunter Wendelstedt ejected Daric Barton, after calling the Oakland first baseman out on strikes for the final out of the game. The gesture was as useless as the appendix, a vestigial organ that can only uselessly inhabit the gut or...

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Stupidity

It’s not that our team doesn’t have smarts, it’s just that our team’s smarts are inconsistently used. Mike Lowell is widely regarded as particularly wily, so he knew that keeping Carlos Pena pegged at first with the bottom of the order coming wasn’t a priority. But Clay Buchholz is the poster child for nervous throws over to first. His pickoffs are like Nomar’s pre-batting tics or Wade’s chicken dinners, except since they happen in-game they may cause mayhem. Pena didn’t even have a lead and Buchholz tossed over to first. Lowell is wise the the ways of the game but at this point is so inert he has to flip to pitchers on many ground outs to his position. One game he is going to be at first and Wakes is going to be pitching and neither will make it to first in time to stop a Molina from getting an infield single. So Mikey couldn’t get to Clay’s errant throw and it gamboled through foul territory to the Rays bullpen. Carlos galloped all the way from first to third while J.D. and Mikey pawed through the equipment, chairs, and relievers that littered the area. (Later Amalie Benjamin tweeted that...

2B or Not 2B

Dustin Pedroia’s absence from this game was a harbinger of his return to the disabled list. His stint with the team was as short as he was. In the two games he played he experienced pain that wouldn’t subside, so he went back on the disabled list rather than worsen the injury that obviously hadn’t fully healed. He joins an entire cadre of wounded: Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa, Kevin Cash, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Eric Patterson. That’s one-third of a bullpen and a good part of a batting lineup, if I charitably identify Cash as a major league batter. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that Josh Beckett has been playing injured, or perhaps he doesn’t have his endurance back. He stifled the Angels for five innings but imploded spectacularly in the sixth to the tune of four runs. In the seventh the Blue Jays poured it on for three more runs, not just off Beckett but also Manny Delcarmen. The offensive highlights for the local nine were few and far between. David Ortiz homered in the fourth for the early lead and Adrian Beltre tagged on a sacrifice fly to...

Mess in Texas

They certainly do do things bigger in Texas. The Red Sox had a meltdown as they did in Toronto, but this time they blew a bigger lead and extended the agony over eleven innings. J.D. Drew knocked in two four-baggers but had an unusually poor day with the glove. In the bottom of the seventh Nelson Cruz lofted a fly ball to the right field warning track that Drew misplayed. Immediately after Cruz’s double Red Sox killer Bengie Molina roped a double over Drew’s leap, a hit that plated Cruz and rendered the score 9-8. Still in favor of the visitors, but just barely. How radically the later innings played out compared to the fourth inning. David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, and Drew slammed back-to-back-to-back home runs and scored four more runs after that. With such run support a pitcher of Josh Beckett’s caliber should have won, but in games against quality hitting Beckett is a mere scintilla of his former self. The starter seems to have rushed back to help his team. Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t exactly rush back, and very quickly after his return he is back on the disabled list. In the first inning the outfielder collided with Tommy...

Tipping America’s Hat

Daisuke Matsuzaka replaced his first-inning yips with a third-inning meltdown. After the offense had carved out a comfy 4-1 lead the pitcher walked the nine-hole and leadoff hitters back-to-back and then conceded a game-tying bomb to Travis Snider. Just as the Blue Jays were swinging from their heels so were the Red Sox. J.D. Drew crushed Ricky Romero’s 3-1 offering to the second deck. It landed into the waiting hands of a Toronto fan, a young man who was so excited by his snare he fist-pumped his own catch rather than booed his team falling behind in the score. Felix Doubront took over in the sixth with two men on and two out, even surviving a misplay by Jed Lowrie at second base to load the bases. Doubront could evade the bases-loaded jam but not the beguiling Jose Bautista, the inexplicable leader in homers in the American League. The outfielder re-knotted the game in the seventh with a leadoff shot off Doubront to left field. There might be something to the trading deadline mantra that players returning from injury would provide the boost the Red Sox needed, not a deal. It took Kevin Youkilis’s freak thumb injury to do it,...

Wakefield’s Watershed Win

Tim Wakefield has already surpassed Roger Clemens in intangible categories such as class and loyalty and continues to make inroads on Clemens’s franchise records. The knuckleballer made his 201st start at Fenway to surpass Clemens. It was his 89th win at his beloved venue, a victory made possible by solid veteran and a sensational newcomer. Brad Bergesen allowed fewer hits and walks and had more strikeouts than Wakefield but the hits he did relinquish were costly. J.D. Drew launched a pair of homers into the Monster seats: the first one in the second inning may have been fan-aided but his leadoff circuit clout in the fifth was a no-doubter. Bergesen held the rest of the Red Sox lineup scoreless and was pulled in the eighth with two out when Marco Scutaro thudded a double two feet fair off the left field wall. Interim Orioles manager Juan Samuel swapped out his starter in favor of southpaw Will Ohman with the assumption that left-handed Eric Patterson would bat after Scutaro. When Terry Francona pinch-hit switch-hitter Daniel Nava in place of Patterson, Baltimore’s skipper did not make a corresponding move. Samuel must not be particularly motivated with the scuttlebutt that Buck Showalter is...

There’s a Lot, a Lot of Culture Here

It’s been around five years and the first thing I think of when I hear “Philadelphia” is that “it‘s a baby New York” and cheesesteak, cheesesteak, cheesesteak from the endlessly played Southwest Airlines commercial. It used to be the rousing horns of the Rocky theme or the stirring strings of “Philadelphia Freedom,” but now it’s a corporate message with public access production values. With his monstrous five-year, $125 million contract Ryan Howard could buy and sell all the culture of the Delaware Valley metropolitan area. The first baseman tied the game in the fourth with an opposite field homer. Much to the delight of Philadelphians J.D. Drew lost track of his counterpart Jayson Werth’s fly ball in the twilight sky. Citizens Bank Park is a bandbox, but who knew one could double in shallow right? In the eighth Drew would rob Greg Dobbs of an extra base hit with running interception on the warning track. Mauian Shane Victorino lined a single to left to plate Werth for the go-ahead run. Werth added to the lead with a two-run homer to the upper deck in the fifth, one of those moonshots that would be a home run in most other parks....

For the Birds

Yesterday’s home run derby at Camden Yards was only carried forward to today’s game by Jason Varitek and J.D. Drew. Their two solo shots were the only runs the Red Sox managed as the team went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Josh Beckett snapped out of his April funk with one of his best starts of the season: 7 innings pitched, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, and 6 strikeouts. It was a welcome change from Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield’s almost criminal performance the night before. Indeed, in one dugout shot from a NESN camera Matsuzaka was sitting next to a uniformed police officer. Other individuals who could be found guilty of malfeasance: With runners in scoring position, David Ortiz has a .136 batting average, .175 on-base percentage, and .182 slugging.Similarly, Victor Martinez has poor numbers with runners in scoring position: .211, .318, .368. Not the percentages a manager would like from the three-hole.Drew isn’t doing as badly as Ortiz or Martinez with runners in scoring position (.267, .350, .733), but he is only batting .214 and his OBP is a paltry .306.Hideki Okajima is sporting a hefty 2.13 WHIP and has just 5 strikeouts compared to...

Harm City

Adrian Beltre can’t blame the snakes in the grass at Fenway for his poor play at Camden Yards. The third baseman compounded Darnell McDonald’s initial error on Miguel Tejada’s liner to lead off the home half of the fourth by misplaying Ty Wigginton’s sharp grounder. With none out and two on, Beltre played the bounding ball to the side to facilitate a double play but the sphere shot past him. Tejada scored the first run of the game; when he crossed the plate the camera caught John Lackey yelling a profanity as the pitcher backed up home. That unearned run was the difference in yet another extra innings one-run affair. On the offensive side of the ball Beltre had a 3-for-5 showing but neither scored nor drove in a run. He led off the fifth with a single but was the final out when he slid past second base on Marco Scutaro’s strikeout. The Red Sox third baseman also led off the seventh with a single but second umpire Chad Fairchild ruled that Beltre interfered with Wigginton’s attempted double play. Replays showed that Beltre reached up while slithering over the keystone sack, but the maneuver was nothing outré. It was...


Game 157: September 29, 2009 Blue Jays8W: Ricky Romero (13-9)S: Jason Frasor (11)74-84, 5 game winning streak Red Sox7L: Clay Buchholz (7-4)91-66, 5 game losing streak Highlights: For the second game in a row a Red Sox starter allowed four runs in the first. Buchholz lasted 5 innings, which was as long as Romero did but the former allowed 7 earned runs, including 5 home runs. While J.D. Drew had a timely homer in the eighth with two men on, most of the Red Sox bats were grounding into double plays. David Ortiz slapped the ball into the shift in the sixth for a 6-5-1 twin killing that featured Kevin Millar as the pivot man. He elevated about as high as Dustin Hoffman’s lifts make him tall. If there be nothing new, but that which is Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled, Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss The second burden of a former child! O, that record could be better had the Red Sox played innings three through seven as they did the eighth. The new thing under the sun would be a Boston victory, not seen since September 24. Show me their image in some antique...


Game 147: September 19, 2009 Red Sox11W: Jon Lester (14-8)H: Billy Wagner (4)88-59, 2 game winning streak Orioles5L: Matt Albers (2-6)60-88, 3 game losing streak Highlights: Victor Martinez took all the tension out of extending his hitting streak by launching a line drive to the right field wall with two out in the first. He was stranded and didn’t get another hit the rest of the game, but the rest of the lineup stepped up. Jon Lester had a middling outing by his standards: 6 inning pitched, 10 hits, 3 earned runs, no walks, and 4 strikeouts with two home runs surrendered. The two circuit clouts came at key points in the game, another unusual occurrence in a start by Lester. But a mediocre Lester is better than the best of the David Hernandezes of the world. Ty Wigginton’s blast tied the game in the bottom of the second. The Orioles utility man is one of those rare hitters who can hit consistently well again Lester. The ball rocketed over the left field fences above Josh Reddick’s glove. The Red Sox rookie Reddick had homered to right with J.D. Drew on base to take a short-lived lead. There was something...


Game 120: August 20, 2009 Red Sox8W: Jon Lester (10-7)69-51, 3 game winning streak Blue Jays1L: Brett Cecil (5-2)55-64, 5 game losing streak Highlights: There was a tornado warning in the area and the sign behind home plate read, “Nothing beats a Blizzard.” The roof opened at at the top of the fifth and it started raining by the bottom of the inning. A few fans had the foresight to bring umbrellas, so the lack of foresight on the Rogers Centre crew must be known in some quarters. Thunder echoed in the distance but the only thunder came from the Red Sox bats. The Blue Jays shot out to an early lead: Marco Scutaro leadoff single to short, Aaron Hill double to left, Vernon Wells base on balls, and then the lumbering Rod Barajas grounded into a double play for a run.Jon Lester didn’t accumulate his usual punchout totals (he had just 5), but his strikeouts equaled the number of baserunners allowed (3 hits and 2 walks). He gave everyone in the bullpen a day off but Fernando Cabrera, who was sent back to Pawtucket along with Brian Anderson after the game. Rocco Baldelli and Michael Bowden were summoned to...


Game 115: August 14, 2009 Red Sox8W: Takashi Saito (3-3)66-49, 1 game winning streak Rangers4BS: Eddie Guardado (2)H: Darren O’Day (15)H: C.J. Wilson (9)BS, L: Frank Francisco (3, 2-2)64-50, 1 game losing streak Highlights: In 2004 there was July 24, the Rodriguez/Varitek face-off and Bill Mueller walk-off. In 2007 there was September 28, the Red Sox win against the Twins and the Yankees extra-innings loss for the American League East Championship. Jon Lester wasn’t his best, which for him means he was still exceptional. He surrendered two early runs: Michael Young homered with Omar Vizquel on base with a leadoff walk in the first. Lester battled back to strike out the side. The lefty allowed two bases on balls in the fourth and against punched out the rest of the batters he faced in the inning.While Lester held the Ranger bats at bay David Ortiz menaced Kevin Millwood from the seven-hole, walking twice against the starter. Even though the visitors didn’t notch a run against Millwood, Ron Washington pulled him in the sixth with two out, Mike Lowell on first, and 110 pitches on his arm.Like Mike Myers, Eddie Guardado is a southpaw that doesn’t intimidate Ortiz. Guardado threw three...


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