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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Morales (Franklin)”

Bummers for Boston

Chances of a Boston sports fan enjoying last night’s Red Sox or Bruins games were… remote. I clicked back and forth between Fox and NBC searching for some flashes of success. David Ortiz clouted his 16th home run in the first inning and Tom Verducci noted that this made Ortiz the visiting player with the most home runs in Comerica Park. Zdeno Chara scored the Bruins’ only goal, a slap shot in the second period that was assisted by David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Both teams not only lost but were hampered by injuries. Patrice Bergeron was sent to the hospital with an undisclosed injury but was cleared to return home with the rest of the team this morning. If the Bruins have to proceed without the center it will be hard to keep calm and Bergeron to the Stanley Cup. Franklin Morales threw for 2⅓ innings but departed with discomfort in his left pectoral muscle and shoulder. Viable arms in the Red Sox bullpen dwindle as do the hours of sunlight after the summer solstice. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” How will these teams recover? Game 77: June 22, 2013 Boston Red...

Franklin and Bashing

Franklin Morales returned to the starting rotation and reversed the Red Sox’s slide with a quality start: 6 innings, 1 earned run, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Morales became slightly unhinged in the fifth when he walked Alexi Casilla to start the inning and became fixated with trying to pick him off. Casilla swiped second, advanced to third on a ground out, and scored on a sacrifice fly authored by Ben Revere. (I wonder how Revere feels being heckled by the folks in the bleachers? Has he ever heard his name pronounced non-rhotically in chorus?) The Red Sox scored in dribs and drabs in the third with Jacoby Ellsbury’s double bookended with singles for two runs. Adrian Gonzalez added another two runs in the fifth with his four-bagger into the Monster seats with Carl Crawford on first. Crawford celebrated his 31st birthday with 3-for-5 showing. Perhaps the Red Sox winning bodes well for the Curiosity rover’s landing on the red planet of Mars tonight. Game 109: August 5, 2012 Minnesota Twins47-61 4 L: Nick Blackburn (4-7)2B: Jamey Carroll (14)HR: Josh Willingham (28), Ryan Doumit (11) Boston Red Sox54-55 6 W: Franklin Morales (3-2)H: Mark Melancon (2)S: Alfredo Aceves (23) 2B:...

Felix Felicis

Felix Hernandez didn’t need to imbibe a lucky potion, don the gear of his alter ego, or proffer his ventriloquist act; he just did his thing on the mound. Some potential longballs may have been deadened by the roof being shut and Hernandez might have benefited from home plate Adrian Johnson’s rather generous judgment. But regardless of those advantages the ace pitcher still had his entire repertoire at his command. This Red Sox fan must have know chances were slim that he’d see David Ortiz’s 400th home run with Hernandez toeing the rubber, but he made a sign anyway. His wife’s sign must have distracted Dustin Pedroia, who went 0-4 with two strikeouts. Franklin Morales’s scoreless seven innings were as impressive as Hernandez’s complete game shutout given that the former was a reliever up until a few weeks ago. Morales didn’t factor into the decision but he can wear this outing like a badge of honor. Not many pitchers match Hernandez pitch for pitch and Morales nearly did. Scott Atchison pitched without his usual competence and the Mariners hit without their typical incompetence in the bottom of the ninth. Casper Wells laced a double to to center with one down...

Fox Trap

Mitch Williams used as many words as Vin Scully does when broadcasting a game. The problem is, Williams’s play-by-play man Thom Brennaman also spoke as much as Scully. The Fox B team didn’t let the action on the field speak for itself but attempted to explain or elaborate on every pitch, swing, and twitch. One particular habit Williams has is calling or guessing what the pitcher will throw by the signs the catcher puts down. A more adroit analyst like Jerry Remy will only use this occasionally to show how a pitcher is setting up a hitter and does so in a manner that increases the appreciation and enjoyment of the interchange. At one point Williams did this so often it leached entertainment out of the action because it was about showing off rather than complementing the game. Lost in the verbiage was Franklin Morales’s second superb start. The southpaw went 6 innings, struck out 8 and only allowed 3 runs. The second run came in the fifth inning when Jason Heyward bunted for a single. Morales rushed his throw to first and missed Adrian Gonzalez, allowing Heyward to take second. Heyward advanced on a foul ball out to Gonzalez...

Morale(s) Booster

Yes, I was an English major who tried to write those avant-garde intertextual theses with parentheses that cleverly (or so I thought) split one word into multiple lexemes. Forgive me for the sins I visited upon Shakespeare, Elizabeth Bishop, and a whole gamut of novelists, poets, and playwrights with the assistance of Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, and Michel Foucault. Franklin Morales made a spot start in the last game of this series in Chicago and would have been the winning pitcher were it not for a comedy of errors in the bottom of the sixth. The circus started with Kevin Youkilis booting Darwin Barney’s ground ball. Starlin Castro found a soft spot in the infield defense with a short single to the right of the mound. Youkilis was able to field Alfonso Soriano’s ground ball but Barney advanced to third and Soriano was safe at first. Matt Albers fielded Jeff Baker’s comebacker well but when he threw to second Dustin Pedroia and Mike Aviles both dived for the ball. The ball squirted into center field and Barney scored the tying run. Through no fault of his own Albers was tagged with a blown save. In the top half of the...

Bowties and Brouhahas

Joe Maddon took a cue from grade school teachers and motivational speakers the world over and has his team dress according to a theme for every road trip. For the current journey the accessory of choice is the bow tie. There are a number of bow tie devotees that make me an admirer of the accent: Bill Nye, Charlie Chaplin, John Paul Stevens, Les Nessman, Mr. Hooper, and several Doctors Who (the second, third, and eleventh embodiments). Other wearers make it less appealing to me, notably Tucker Carlson, George Will, Sigmund Freud, Louis Farrakhan, and Murray Rothbard. I think Maddon had his team dress like persecuted nerds to give them a physical manifestation of their paranoia. In the recent series in St. Petersburg Adrian Gonzalez was frustrated by Hunter Wendelstedt’s strike zone and as part of his rant “guaranteed” that he would hit a home run. When Gonzalez said, “I’ll start hitting home runs. I’ll hit a home run tomorrow,” he obviously meant this as a general statement about how droughts can be turned around quickly. Maddon twisted the quote into a smear against his pitching staff. Matt Moore hit Gonzalez with a pitch in the next game in his...

Busted Rhymes

Clay Buchholz has had a topsy-turvy run this season thus far: when he pitches terribly the offense assaults the pitcher and he wins but when he lasts five innings while striking out five and allowing only two bases on balls he loses. The first run scored off of him was the result of a balk in the second inning with Carlos Pena on third. Buchholz had just gotten out a jam by inducing a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Sean Rodriguez but a minute move gave the local nine the advantage. Jarrod Saltalamacchia supported his battery mate with a two-out double to right in the fourth. Cody Ross joined the backstop on the basepaths with a four-pitch walk. Nursing his second cup of coffee as long as he can while still trying to woo Erin Andrews, Nava looped the ball into left field. Matt Joyce seemed in on Nava’s ploy with his failed dive for the bloop RBI single. B.J. Upton’s feckless throw allowed Nava to take second — or maybe everyone wants Nava to have a chance with the ESPN personality. The tie lasted until the sixth. Luke Scott’s sacrifice fly to right, which allowed Joyce to...

Jacobean Era

It’s Jacoby Ellsbury’s world; we just live in it. A few hours after becoming the first Red Sox 30/30 man Ellsbury was one of the few offensive forces on either team in the 14-inning long game. Not only is the season a marathon but these last few games determining the American League wild card have proven prolix contests of endurance. Terry Francona had to call upon J.D. Drew, who had not seen action since July 19. The curious call paid off when Drew singled in Jed Lowrie in the fifth for the visitors’ first score of the game. Francona’s decision to pinch run Lars Anderson for Adrian Gonzalez in the ninth, leaving his team without one of its best hitters for five innings, didn’t turn out as well. Anderson went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a stranded runner. For 22 outs the Red Sox relievers held the Yankees scoreless. Granted, the lineup was more Scranton/Wilkes-Barre than Bronx, but Daniel Bard, Jonathan Papelbon, Franklin Morales, and Felix Doubront still kept a mix of all-stars and young players hungry to prove themselves at bay in hostile territory. I was surprised to see Scott Proctor make an appearance because Joe Torre had no...

At the Old Ball Game

For this column Joanna was visited by her great-grandmother Eliza Manuel, a recent immigrant from the Philippines who yearned for a job as a baseball writer but was doubly unlikely to have such a career because of her ethnicity and her sex. Game 45: May 21, 2011 Chicago Cubs20-24 9 W: Sean Marshall (2-0) 2B: Aramis Ramirez (11), Reed Johnson (7), Jeff Baker (6), Starlin Castro (11) Boston Red Sox24-21 3 H: Dan Wheeler (1)H: Rich Hill (2)BS, L: Matt Albers (1, 0-2) HR: David Oritz (9)...


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