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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Lester (Jon)”

And So It Gose

In every game there is a dudeA young batter young and strongTo make new wounds and run so fastUntil a ground out comes alongAnd so it Gose, and so it GoseAnd you’re the only one who knows Your browser does not support iframes. Xander Bogaerts clouted a leadoff home run in the ninth inning but the local nine could not overcome the two-run deficit. Perhaps we’ll see more of this in the future. What we might not see in the future is Jon Lester, John Lackey, or Mike Carp in Red Sox uniforms. Lackey’s departure was devoutly wished for during the miserable seasons of 2011 and 2012. Carp has been a solid platoon player with the occasional clutch hit but not a regular. But Lester practically grew up before our eyes. Fenway was his playpen and there are more than a few photos of his stellar achievements decorating its walls. We were way more frightened than he ever was of cancer and so relieved when he beat it. He expected to win. We expected him to stay, and perhaps he may. Game 107: July 29, 2014 Toronto Blue Jays58-50 4 W: Marcus Stroman (7-2)H: Aaron Sanchez (2), Brett Cecil (17)S:...

Sweep the Leg

The Red Sox wrapped up the series sweep with a leisurely Sunday day game. Jon Lester pitched splendidly and had a six-run lead to work with by the fourth inning. Lester also had spectacular defense behind him. Lester could have been in trouble late in the eighth inning were it not for his infielders. Lorenzo Cain led off with a four-pitch walk and Omar Infante gave his a ball a ticket to center field. But Stephen Drew stopped the trip short with a diving grab and quickly flipped to Dustin Pedroia. Cain didn’t even try to break up a double play because he was taking a path to try to get to third base. Your browser does not support iframes. Lester most likely expressed his catcher preference as he has been paired with David Ross this season rather than A.J. Pierzynski. Ross launched his sixth homer of the season in the fourth inning. Pierzynski had four homers in 145 more at bats than Ross. Pierzynski may have Ross beat in zingers directed at umpires. He was ejected on June 4 by Quinn Wolcott for saying, “Give me a new ball. One you can see.” Toeing the rubber opposite Lester was...

Herrera the Hero

Jon Lester started the day game of the doubleheader. He pitched masterfully: 8 innings, 5 hits, no earned runs, no walks, and 7 strikeouts. But because of Xander Bogaerts’s two-run error in the third inning and the Red Sox’s tepid offense Lester wasn’t in line for the win. Thankfully MLB managers’ judgment is not swayed by win-loss records for pitchers alone and Lester was selected to his third All-Star roster. So far he’s the only Boston player headed for Minneapolis. It was a game of surprise contributions. Stephen Drew hammered a two-run homer in the second inning, his first of the season. Your browser does not support iframes. That Jonny Gomes led off the ninth inning of the tie game with a single was not a surprise. Nor was David Ross’s sacrifice bunt to advance Gomes. But when John Farrell sent Jonathan Herrera as a pinch-hitter for Jackie Bradley, Jr. I was alarmed. Granted, Farrell doesn’t have a lot of options off the bench, but Herrera seemed to be a dark horse. He enthralled us all with a clutch single to win the series opener. Your browser does not support iframes. I noticed something about the infield I hadn’t seen...

Miked Up

Jon Lester had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. Brett Gardner broke it up with a single up the middle. David Ross eliminated Gardner from the basepaths with a perfect throw to Stephen Drew. It was the least the Red Sox defense could do for Lester. In the third inning Stephen Drew allowed Brian Roberts to reach on a failed fielding attempt. Roberts advanced to second base when Lester hit Yangervis Solarte with a pitch and then to third on Gardner’s sacrifice bunt. Derek Jeter somehow didn’t get one of his trademark cheap hits but still grounded out to plate Roberts to tie the game 1-1. While we are all thankful that Tim McCarver no longer does games on Fox, in his stead we have Harold Reynolds suggesting that reaching on errors should contribute to on-base percentage. He made the argument that Ted Williams would have tried harder if this were the case. Williams is the career leader in on-base percentage. Ross and Mike Napoli, a catcher and a former catcher, both homered to give the visitors the one-run victory. The battery mates didn’t want to see Lester’s masterful outing go to waste. Napoli’s sympathy for the pitcher didn’t...

Brock Star

Last night Brock Holt checked off center field off his list of positions to play. He got a feel for the territory when he fielded Danny Santana’s line drive single to start the game. That play seem to calibrate Holt to his new position’s parameters as he played the spot fluidly. Holt demonstrated his prowess in the third inning. Jonny Gomes in left field lost Brian Dozier’s fly ball in the twilight, as did the crew operating the camera. The lens was fixed on Gomes, who gamely put up his glove in an attempt to deke Dozier. Stephen Drew appeared in frame pointing up frantically. Holt dashed into the picture with a dramatic dive and catch. Dozier could only shake his head in amazement. This was Holt’s first put out in center. Your browser does not support iframes. David Ross joked with Holt, saying, “I hope you can’t catch.” After seeing Ross get hit in the throat by a pitch that bounced in the dirt I don’t think Holt will be actively campaigning to be backstop. That white spot under Ross’s chin? The ball finding a tender, unprotected spot of his body. Koji Uehara wasn’t available but Edward Mujica pitched...

Charismatic Megafauna

Environmentalists often use handsome animals like the tiger as marketing materials for their cause. Academics call such creatures charismatic megafauna and observe how this idealization of animals skews public policy.. When climate activists used polar bears to educate people about the disappearing ice caps they shaped public opinion from despising to adoring these bears. As apex predators tigers have no natural enemies. The Lions haven’t been relevant in years and their old stadium stands in ruins. The Red Wings have had recent success but they were beaten by the Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs this season. Whether or not Stan Van Gundy can revitalize the Pistons remains to be seen. So the Tigers are at the top of the food chain in Detroit, and perhaps in the American League. Time’s passing since the 2013 ALCS has not cooled the Tigers’ passion. Max Scherzer pitched six innings of shutout ball and would have gone longer were it not for a 47-minute rain delay. The Red Sox managed just three hits while the Tigers had twice that number. Neither offense was effective but Torii Hunter’s first-inning single to center to plate Ian Kinsler from second base came...

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...

No One Left Behind

Jon Lester had a personal best 15 strikeouts in his eight innings of work. He was one hit, two walks, and three outs short of perfect game. Craig Gentry’s single in the third inning wouldn’t have been a hit if it didn’t luckily fall in between Dustin Pedroia and Jackie Bradley, Jr., who usually plays center but was shifted to right field with Grady Sizemore in the game and Shane Victorino getting the day off. Lester is in his walk year. Perhaps sometime this season Ben Cherington will announce an extension for the southpaw. The price may have gone up, but the southpaw will be more affordable than Max Scherzer. Unlike so many games this season the Red Sox leapt ahead early. Tommy Milone allowed the first three batters he faced to load the bases and didn’t get an out until he enticed Mike Napoli to whiff on a 3-1 fastball. Jonny Gomes noted that Milone was starting off the sluggers in the order with curveballs and got a hold of the first pitch he saw and sent it into the Monster seats. Across town the Bruins pulled off a monster comeback by scoring four goals in eight minutes to...

Caption Contest

The Red Sox failed to sweep the Blue Jays because they were unable to decipher R.A. Dickey’s cryptic knuckleball. Jon Lester recovered from his shellacking by the Yankees but could not out-duel Dickey. So instead of discussing a rather disappointing game, let’s play Caption Contest! In the fourth inning Jackie Bradley, Jr. made an impressive snare of Edwin Encarnacion’s line drive. After the catch Bradley had a moment with the ball. A. Do not come wiz me to ze Casbah - we shall make beautiful musicks togezzer right here! B. Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls. C. The Jockey fashion statement is bold. D. Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. Brett Lawrie doubled in the seventh to plate Encarnacion. A. If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! B. I give myself high fives because no one else will. C. I live for the applause, applause, applause / I live for the applause-plause / Live for the applause-plause / Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me / The applause, applause, applause D. Girls say I give them...

Ellsbury Doughboy

Jacoby Ellsbury looked as if he worth every penny of his $153,000,000 contract last night. The center fielder went 2-for-5 with two runs batted in. He also robbed Grady Sizemore of an extra base hit in for the first out of the game. In his first at bat he got a mixed reception, but after a video tribute there were mostly cheers and Ellsbury tipped his cap. Some fans haven’t forgiven Ellsbury, however, and expressed their displeasure with signs. Jon Lester had his worst outing of the season so far: 4⅔ innings, 8 runs (only 3 earned, so there’s that), 4 walks, and 7 strikeouts. That’s a lot of strikeouts for that number of innings, but the 11 hits allowed showed that he was around the plate too much. He seemed to be squeezed by Quinn Wolcott’s strike zone. Although David Ortiz and Mike Napoli clouted back-to-back home runs in the fourth the lineup just didn’t string together hits. Fortunately this cold streak isn’t contagious to a fellow Boston team that has commenced a playoff run. The Bruins defeated the Red Wings 3-0 and took a 2-1 lead in the series. This Bruins fan was trying to snatch a souvenir...

Glove for Sale, (Nothing But) Flowers

Chris Sales’s perfect game would have ended abruptly with just two down in the first inning were it not for Adam Eaton’s glove. Eaton’s leaping catch of David Ortiz’s line drive shot just above the center field fence was reminiscent of Mike Trout or, if you prefer to go old school, Andruw Jones. Even Ortiz gazed on in admiration. From that point Sale only allowed two baserunners: David Ross walked in the second and Xander Bogaerts was hit by a pitch in the fourth. Perhaps Bogaerts took the plunking personally as he delivered the end of the no-hitter via air mail with two down in the sixth. Alejandro De Aza had no chance to snare Bogaerts’s blast to left field. Jon Lester carried a perfect game into the sixth. Once again Bogaerts was pivotal to the play as Tyler Flowers sent a single just out of reach past the shortstop. Leury Garcia proved a better hitter than reliever and laced a ground-rule double to right. Eaton, hero of the first inning, tapped the ball through Mike Napoli’s dive but it was seized by Dustin Pedroia. Lester couldn’t beat Eaton to the bag and the score was tied 1-1. In the...

Falling for Sizemore

David Ross said it best: “[Sizemore’s] been a big pickup for us,… and he’s easy on the eyes.” Some baseball girls’ hearts are swayed by twinkling eyes, a charming smile, and boyish good looks, but for Red Sox ladies the three-run, go-ahead home run is the bare minimum. Sizemore came through in the sixth inning with one out and two on. Adding to the allure was securing the win against a despised divisional rival. He almost made the alternate blue uniforms bearable. Sizemore’s presence has made most fans forget Jacoby Ellsbury. This young man harbors some lingering resentment, however. Get used to it, kid. Scott Boras represents not only Ellsbury but Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts. Jon Lester turned in his third straight quality start and finally tallied his first win. Junichi Tazawa took over in the seventh when Lester got into a jam, allowing Kelly Johnson to single in Ichiro Suzuki. With Brian Roberts at third, two out, and a reinvigorated Yankee Stadium crowd clamoring for their captain, Tazawa toed the rubber against Derek Jeter. Tazawa had been in tougher spots, like in the ALCS against Miguel Cabrera. Jeter flied out harmlessly to right field. The Red Sox...

Pair of Aces

Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright faced off again, this time on Wainwright’s home field. Just as he did in Game 1 of this Fall Classic Wainwright surrendered a run in the first inning. But unlike that game Wainwright got back on track quickly. Lester lasted 7⅔ innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. Only Matt Holliday tallied a run on him with a fourth-inning blast to center field. Lester made Cardinals hitters look almost as bad as he looked in his three at bats. The Cardinals started a rally in the bottom of the third with David Freese’s leadoff gutshot single. Pete Kozma followed with a bunt that Lester chased down and barehanded. The lefty ace flipped to David Ortiz, who did his signature snappy snare and step off the bag. Your browser does not support iframes. Ortiz’s duende extended beyond his fielding. He paired with Dustin Pedroia with doubles in the first inning for an early lead. The single danced down the first base line with Allen Craig’s mitt nowhere near it. Ortiz was 3-for-4, increasing his World Series stats to historic proportions: .733/.750/1.267. His teammates call him Cooperstown, and he may eventually be the first designated hitter enshrined...

Stop, Drop, and Roll

I thought I would see marriage equality for the entirety of the United States before I saw a group umpires convene to correct a blown call in the World Series. There was Joe West’s crew huddling to reverse Randy Marsh’s safe call in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS when Alex Rodriguez slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove. It was a Red Sox-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium, which some would say is as important as a World Series game. Indeed, it was such a pivotal call reversal that it caused Yankee fans to throw trash onto the field and the riot police to assume positions along the perimeter of the field. Perhaps fearing such police action (Officer Steve Horgan, to arms!), John Hirschbeck’s crew congregated to discuss Dana DeMuth’s ruling on David Ortiz’s grounder to Matt Carpenter. The Cardinals second baseman gathered the ball easily enough but his toss to Pete Kozma clipped the shortstop’s glove. DeMuth called Dustin Pedroia out on the force as he assumed Kozma dropped the ball on the transfer. John Farrell asked the officials to discuss the play in case any of them had a different view of it. Your browser does not...

Five Alive

The Red Sox nearly allowed the local nine to score first. Tom Brookens sent but then tried to stop Miguel Cabrera too late on Jhonny Peralta’s two-out single to left field. Cabrera came in hard enough to knock off David Ross’s mask but instead of scoring the first run he was the third out. Your browser does not support iframes. Unlike every previous game in the series the Red Sox scored early in the game. Mike Napoli absolutely clobbered Anibal Sanchez’s 3-1 fastball into dead center for a solo home run in the second inning. Your browser does not support iframes. Next Jonny Gomes reached on Cabrera’s error on a grounder that took an unexpected bounce and went through the third baseman’s wickets. While much has been made of Cabrera’s defensive woes, I don’t think many third basemen would have been able to knock down that ball because of the bizarre bounce. I do believe that many would have been able to back up their own error; Cabrera needed Jose Iglesias to chase down the ball. Stephen Drew’s offensive dry spell continued with a three-pitch strikeout; he was 0-for-4 for the night. Xander Bogaerts’s addition to the lineup has given...

Their Bats Don’t Know What You Did in the Dark

Anibal Sanchez reminded the Red Sox front office why they signed him as an amateur free agent in 2001. The starter came to Detroit circuitously: Boston traded him to the Marlins as part of the Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell trade on November 24, 2005 and he was later shipped to the Tigers with Omar Infante on July 23, 2012. It’s easy to be overshadowed when your rotation mates are Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, but last night Sanchez stole the show with a gutty six-inning, no-hit performance. Although he walked six batters he also struck out 12. In the first inning Sanchez added a feat to his resume that Scherzer and Verlander would be hard-pressed to duplicate. He joined Orval “Big Groundhog” Overall as the only pitchers to have struck out four batters in one inning in the postseason. Your browser does not support iframes. The Red Sox and Tigers were two outs away from making postseason history by being the first team to be part of a combined no-hitter. But Daniel Nava stood in against Joaquin Benoit and fouled off four pitches before finally straightening one out and sending it to shallow center for Boston’s first and only hit of...

My Errs

Yesterday’s game proved Yogi Berra’s quote: “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” Jon Lester took the mound fueled on pure adrenaline. In the first inning he struck out the side with 14 pitches. In the second inning Lester sat the first two batters handily enough, striking out Evan Longoria and inducing a pop out off the bat of Delmon Young. He had Sean Rodriguez struck out but for Chris Guccione calling the third strike a ball. Lester’s next pitch turned into a souvenir for a fortunate fan and a 1-0 lead for the visitors. The Rays added to their lead in the top of the fourth with Ben Zobrist’s solo home run. Lester then surrendered a base on balls and a single but left the mound with no further damage. Dustin Pedroia immediately responded to the visitors’ attack with a leadoff single up the middle. David Ortiz then lofted what looked to be a can of corn to right field. Wil Myers drifted back and called off Desmond Jennings but peeled off at the last second. Myers told Buster Olney that no one called him off but that he saw Jennings in his peripheral vision...

Fear the Beards (and Beers)

Now that the Red Sox have a favorable playoff berth I can’t help but be annoyed by two missed calls in this game. In the bottom of the fourth Jackie Bradley, Jr. was called out as the first part of a 4-3 double play but the replay showed that Ryan Goins missed the tag. With the bases loaded in the seventh Mike Napoli knocked the ball to Jose Reyes. The Blue Jays shortstop threw to J.P. Arencibia to get Dustin Pedroia at home but Arencibia’s relay to first drew Mark DeRosa off first base. Missed calls such as these would certainly but the dampener on a postseason series. If only the proposed instant replay system could be in place for these crucial games rather than in 2014. The 37,215 fans at Fenway Park knew that they could be sprayed by champagne if they stayed to the the final frame. But an unfortunate attendee was struck in the head by a can of beer punted into the stands by Jonny Gomes. In addition to winning the American League East with this defeat over the former darlings of media Blue Jays, Jon Lester won his 100th game. In his post-game interview the...

Sadistic Beard-Pulling

As Red Sox players lined up to yank on Mike Napoli’s beard after he scored the first run of the game Tim McCarver commented that the ritual “looks sadistic to me.” Napoli would get another pull in the fifth when Daniel Nava’s sacrifice fly was fielded by Curtis Granderson, and three other players got their facial hair fete. The gang reached down to jerk on Dustin Pedroia’s copious growth in the third when he was doubled in by David Ortiz. Ortiz’s well-kept beard would be difficult to grasp but they would have to commit themselves to the task when Jonny Gomes singled him in. David Ross’s two-tone topiary was tugged in the fourth when Shane Victorino lined a single to Vernon Wells. I’m glad Victorino didn’t score; he’s so beat up from getting hit by pitches, running into walls, and diving to make catches that a vigorous celebration could be his undoing. Jon Lester looked primed for the playoffs. His line was a sparkling 8 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. Unlike John Lackey, Punch and Judy hitter Brendan Ryan didn’t homer off Lester, thus saving the Fox audience from Matt Vasgersian and McCarver...

Wild Pitch Win

Daniel Nava was the recipient of a throw behind in the first inning. The tactic seemed to have worked as Nava had an 0-for-5 showing with four left on base. Hiroki Kuroda was smart to have taken Nava out of the game. As the Heat Zone shows, Nava is a good bad pitch hitter. I don’t recall if Dennis Eckersley has a slang term for that type of batter, but Don Orsillo’s partner for the game Dan Petry didn’t. Mariano Rivera marveled at how the short porch helped Will Middlebrooks tie the game in the ninth. The circuit clout helped Middlebrooks earn co-player of the week for the American League. He shared the honor with Mike Napoli. Brandon Workman was pressed into service in the ninth with the score 3-3. It was a great way to pressure test the rookie, and he came up wanting. After striking out Brett Gardner he allowed Ichiro Suzuki to single. Suzuki swiped second and then advanced to third on Vernon Wells’s fly ball out to right. Workman airmailed his first pitch to Alfonso Soriano and the newly-returned Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t stop the ball from reaching the backstop. It goes down in the “W” column...


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