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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Gonzalez (Alex)”

To Morrow, Tomorrow, I Love You, Tomorrow

You’re only a walk away. Brandon Morrow couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat (and other cliches) while John Lackey nearly squandered a three-run lead in the fifth. It was a game that neither team deserved to win, but the rules of the game dictate that a squad must win, no matter how unworthy the method. Alex Gonzalez contributed to that lead with a second-inning shot that appeared to clear the left field wall but was ruled a double by replay. Scoring-wise the umpires’ ruling was rendered moot as he was driven in by John Buck, but the shortstop has one less home run to his already impressive total of 10 longballs. Blue Jays pitchers passed out seven free passes; the crowd at Fenway must have been annoyed hearing clips of “Walk This Way” over and over again. The base on balls epidemic reached its height in the home half of the second: the idiom “batted around” didn’t quite apply as six of the baserunners reached by walking. Dustin Pedroia walked with the bases loaded to bring his team within a run. Aaron Hill contributed to the fiasco with a throwing error on a tailor-made double play...


Game 153: September 25, 2009 Red Sox5L: Jon Lester (14-8)91-62, 1 game losing streak Yankees9W: Joba Chamberlain (9-6)98-56, 3 game winning streak Highlights: Though both possess abundant talent there is a marked difference in temperament between Lester and Chamberlain. Lester is confident without the taint of conceit while Chamberlain is brash without a trace of modesty. A synonym for left is sinister, a relic from the days when left-handedness was considered inherently evil. We now know that being associated with the Yankees is far more malevolent. How the Yankees Ruined My Vacation, Part One: Instead of enjoying a dazzlingly sunny day poolside or recklessly chasing money through every sort of gambling imaginable I holed myself up in a gloomy hotel room and logged onto MLB.tv for this game. I had entertained thoughts of Boston avoiding another sweep at Nouveau Stade Fasciste or perhaps even making a late season run for the division. Instead I got to follow along with a choppy broadcast while Jon Lester writhed on the ground for several tense moments in the third inning. When Melky Cabrera’s grounder ricocheted off what I thought was Jon Lester’s knee my own knees nearly buckled. Losing Lester for the postseason...


Game 144: September 16, 2009 Angels8H: Kevin Jepsen (15)BS: Darren Oliver (1)BS, L: Brian Fuentes (7, 1-5)86-59, 3 game losing streak Red Sox9BS: Ramon Ramirez (4)W: Daniel Bard (2-1)86-58, 7 game winning streak Highlights: Rick Reed may shoulder some of the blame for the Angels’ loss, but Fuentes carries the dubious distinction, along with Mike Gonzalez and Mark Lowe, of being third in the majors for blown saves. Only Brad Lidge (10) and J.P. Howell (8) have failed to close out more games. Fortunately for Paul Byrd this see-saw of a game started with a stiff wind blowing in. The gales kept Bobby Abreu and Vladimir from going deep in the first inning. The Angels scored the first run of the game in the third using their signature smallball way. Juan Rivera led off with a single and advanced to the keystone bag on Mike Napoli’s ground out to third.Casey Kotchman displayed his mad ups, elevating to nearly 18 inches in his attempt to field Erick Aybar’s liner. While Kotchman’s Brian Scalabrine-like vertical leap knocked the ball from its intended trajectory to right field, Rivera trotted home for the first run of the game. Perhaps this sprint home tuckered him...


Game 140: September 12, 2009 ∙ 6 innings Rays1L: Wade Davis (0-1)72-69, 9 game losing streak Red Sox9W: Josh Beckett (15-6)82-58, 3 game winning streak Highlights: It doesn’t quite make sense to me that Evan Longoria got credit for a hit and the game is officially six innings while Beckett only gets credit for five innings pitched, that is one of the quirks of baseball. According to official baseball statistics the pitches Jon Lester threw on September 11 never happened. That’s just as well since he started off the game in a forgettable fashion; the tarp protected the field and Lester’s statistics from a bases-loaded jam. Something I won’t forget is the shot of the enormous American flag on the Monster. Droplets of water on the camera lens looked like stars against the indigo sky behind the wall.The Rays’ stater’s given name, Wade, was appropriate for the game conditions last night. There was standing water on the warning track and a few members of the grounds crew appeared to be acquiring gills. Davis showed remarkable resiliency in the second by striking out the side after allowing Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz to reach on bases on balls.Whatever composure Davis showed...


Game 138: September 8, 2009 Orioles0L: David Hernandez (4-7)56-82, 1 game losing streak Red Sox10W: Clay Buchholz (5-3)80-58, 1 game winning streak Highlights: Not only was the game full of offense authored by the Red Sox batters but was equally offensive with an onslaught of revenue-generating synergisms orchestrated by Red Sox, Inc. Bermuda Night was replete with Bermudian dandy in a blue and red tricorn, breeches, waistcoat, and coat throwing out the first pitch and a Heidi Watney-Bot adver-view with the Premier of Bermuda that NESN producers forced its audience to listen to during Jason Bay’s at bat in the third. If I am going to have to sit through these adver-views the least Red Sox, Inc. could do in return is have Mark Teixeira batting fourth for the team.The Watney-Bot has even rubbed off on Don Orsillo (and I won’t go into what other kinds of rubbing she has inspired). In the introduction Orsillo called Fenway the Friendly Confines. There is only one place that should be called that; don’t disrespect Mr. Cub, Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.The Orioles had as many relief pitchers as the Red Sox had home runs. Baltimore had one fewer hit than Boston had...


Game 129: August 29, 2009 Blue Jays2L: Ricky Romero (11-6)58-69, 2 game losing streak Red Sox3W: Clay Buchholz (3-3)S: Jonathan Papelbon (32)75-54, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Buchholz’s line shows three hits, but one of those should be erased. In the second, the anti-Julio Lugo ranged to his far right and threw from his knees. The ball reached Kevin Youkilis on a bounce but the throw was still in time to nail Kevin Millar. First base umpire Jim Wolf called Millar safe; a fan near home plate that had the benefit of a television and therefore video replay exclaimed loud enough for the NESN microphones to pick up, “Blew it!” Alex Gonzalez has not only been impressive with the leather but also with the lumber. In the sixth he knocked in Jason Bay with a single up the middle off Casey Janssen. Janssen was brought in with the express purpose to get the nine-hole hitter out and failed.Cito Gaston whipped out his September relief-swapping tactics early. Jesse Carlson was brought in to get Jacoby Ellsbury and the fleet center fielder struck out. Then Brandon League took the bump to get the final out but Dustin Pedroia had other ideas.With slightly...


Game 126: August 26, 2009 White Sox2L: Tony Pena (6-5)63-64, 4 game losing streak Red Sox3BS: Ramon Ramirez (3)W: Daniel Bard (1-1)73-53, 3 game winning streak Highlights: Why do I prefer manual transmission to automatic? So I can be clutch like David Ortiz. Tag Team back again Check it, wreck it, let’s begin Party on party people let me hear some noise DC’s in the house jump jump and rejoice There’s a party over here, a party over there Wave your hands in the air Shake your derriere These three words mean you’re gettin’ busy Whoomp, there it isHit me!David Ortiz scored the first and last runs of the game. His first home run boomeranged off the second row Monster seats’ table to the feet of fans in the first row. In the dugout he exchanged an elaborate handshake with Victor Martinez. So reminiscent of 2004, with Ortiz playing himself and Martinez assuming the role of Orlando Cabrera.Although not as showy as Cabrera, Alex Gonzalez has been a revelation at short. He mans shortstop near flawlessly; he vacuums up ground balls, turns twin killings, and tosses to first with immaculate aim. Any contribution he brings to the other side of...


Game 122: August 22, 2009 Yankees1L: A.J. Burnett (10-7)77-46, 1 game losing streak Red Sox14W: Junichi Tazawa (2-2)70-52, 1 game winning streak Highlights: Happy 70th birthday, Carl Yastrzemski; yesterday’s rout was quite the way to celebrate. I can’t help but wonder, though: if Terry Francona had not surrendered Friday’s game in the sixth inning could they have made a comeback? Yesterday the Red Sox stormed back from the shellacking they took in the series opener. Kevin Youkilis went 3-for-5 with two homers. David Ortiz lofted his 20th quadrangular in the fifth, prompting A.J. Burnett to launch into a Hamlet-like soliloquy: “Why, why, why, why would you do that, why?” Allowing Ortiz to smash an opposite-field four-bagger must have been discouraging, but Burnett should have known he was in for a rough outing when Alex Gonzalez went deep in second.Brad Penny has had exactly two outings in which he pitched as well as Junichi Tazawa did yesterday, which are two more than I thought he would have. The Yankees were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, including four fruitless at bats with runners at third base. In the sixth he had runners on the corners with one out. Both Robinson Cano...


Game 116: August 15, 2009 Red Sox2L: Brad Penny (7-7)66-50, 1 game losing streak Rangers7W: Derek Holland (6-7)H: Darren O’Day (16)S: Neftali Feliz (1)65-50, 1 game winning streak Highlights: Reports of the Red Sox’s revival were greatly exaggerated. Alex Gonzalez brought back the spirit of 2006. In some circles there are whispers of the Curse of Mark Kotsay. Alex Gonzalez re-debuted with the Red Sox Saturday night. His equipment hadn’t arrived yet so he used Jed Lowrie’s glove. Can he use Hanley Ramirez’s bat? There’s a lot of power to spare in that and it would be nice to have some at short. Or any hitting ability: Gonzalez went 0-for-4 with one strikeout.Can infield defensive abilities be transplanted to outfielders? Brian Anderson stopped mid-route on Elvis Andrus’s fly ball to right in the second inning, looking as uncaring as J.D. Drew is said to be. The two-out triple led to Julio Borbon driving in Andrus.Jason Bay led off the fourth with his 25th homer of the season. Just as Bay’s bat returns most of the rest of his teammmates’ production has tapered off.Victor Martinez is an exception; the backstop homered in the fourth. It was a two-out circuit clout, but...


Game 114: August 13, 2009 Tigers2W: Justin Verlander (13-6)S: Fernando Rodney (24)60-54, 1 game winning streak Red Sox0L: Clay Buchholz (1-3)65-49, 1 game losing streak Highlights: “Verlander” supposedly means “dweller by or on the pasture land” but after yesterday I suspect it might mean “showoff.” He flashed triple-digit stuff in the eighth inning against Jason Bay. Only seven men reached base: 4 hits, 1 walk, and 2 hit by pitches. Chris Woodward was twice Verlander’s victim, but his plunkings caused no strife. The Red Sox were just happy someone got on base somehow. Clay Buchholz pitched better than John Smoltz ever did this season, going 7 innings with 5 hits, 1 earned (homer by Ryan Raburn), 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts. Why did they wait so long to end the Smoltz Experiment? His five losses could have been wins for Buchholz, a huge swing given the 6½ game gap between the Red Sox and the Yankees.The getaway game time gave Theo Epstein time to work the phones to shore up the shortstop spot. While Alex Gonzalez’s bat won’t help bridge that half-dozen game chasm, he will fill the defensive hole at short. Nick Green’s cannon can make the bang-bang play...

Auld Lang Syne

Gone, Baby, Gone When rumors of his signing were first leaked, there was confusion as to which “Alex Gonzalez” was in negotiations with the Red Sox. It turned out it wasn’t the Alex S. Gonzalez drafted by the Blue Jays in 1991 but rather it was the undrafted All-Star from the Florida Marlins. Gonzalez’s defensive play was a revelation to Boston fans. If we weren’t familiar with him before the season, Hub fans certainly were made aware of him during it. Never had we seen someone so at ease in the hole. He committed just seven errors during 2006 and yet has not garnered his first Gold Glove award. This year the honor went to Derek Jeter for the third year in a row, proving all that glitters is not gold. The shortstop reportedly signed a three-year, $14M contract with the Cincinnati Reds. Tea for the Mueller Man My affection for Bill Mueller is well-documented: I made a sign for him for the last home game of the 2004 season and composed this insufficient paean. He was never the best-paid player at the hot corner, but perhaps that is what made him play harder. The former Cub, Giant, Red Sox,...


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