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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Sandoval”


John Farrell and Carl Willis weren’t yelling at Pablo Sandoval to get off his smartphone here but rather at Larry Vanover. The first base umpire ruled that Pedro Ciriaco didn’t go around but checked his swing and Farrell strongly expressed his disagreement. What is more disappointing, hopping onto a social media site during the game or calling a sacrifice bunt with two on, none out, with the eight-hole batter and pitcher coming up in the second inning? Not to cast a shadow on Joe Kelly’s efforts at the plate, or as the kids say today, “throw shade.” Kelly drove in a run in the fourth inning on an infield single. Jace Peterson didn’t think Kelly was fleet of foot enough to beat out his throw. The only other run the Red Sox scored came on Mike Napoli’s sixth-inning homer. At one point Napoli got red hot at the plate; perhaps this will light that spark again. In a Padres uniform Will Middlebrooks’s slash statistics are .233/.264/.403. Sandoval is doing better at .270/.323/.409, but the power numbers are comparable. And Middlebrooks doesn’t tweet at his fiancée Jenny Dell during games. They learned their lesson after tweeting a picture of themselves together...

The Grousemartins

Few players remain as annoying after they leave the Yankees. Russell Martin is such an exception. In the eleventh the Blue Jays backstop clobbered Matt Barnes’s fastball. It found the Monster seats to give Toronto a 5-4 lead. In the bottom of the eleventh the Red Sox were once again stifled by Brett Cecil. The Boston squad couldn’t score late and failed to score early. Rusney Castillo had a home run robbed by Jose Bautista in the third inning. Despite the loss there are signs of life in the Red Sox lineup. David Ortiz came through in the sixth with a game-tying solo home run. Pablo Sandoval went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. If the time off helped this duo perhaps Mike Napoli will return rejuvenated. R.A. Dickey didn’t notch the win but his team extended their winning streak to 10 games. He communed with the only other knuckleballer in the major leagues, Steven Wright, before the game. The language knuckleballers speak to one another, it must rarer than Parseltongue. Game 63: June 13, 2015 Toronto Blue Jays33-30 5 W: Aaron Loup (2-3)S: Brett Cecil (4) HR: Russell Martin (10) Boston Red Sox27-36 4 L: Matt Barnes (2-2) 2B: Pablo Sandoval...

Wade Rage

Wade Miley was born in 1986. In true Millennial spirit Miley ripped into authority figure John Farrell after he was pulled from the game. Miley lasted four innings with nine hits (three of them home runs) and five earned runs. “But I didn’t walk anyone and I struck out three!” yelled Miley as he stalked Farrell in the dugout. Dennis Eckersley was not impressed by Miley’s behavior. On the positive side David Ortiz clouted a solo homer in the eighth inning. Pablo Sandoval went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in. If these two ailing bats recover perhaps the season can be salvaged. It wasn’t enough for the Red Sox to avoid a series sweep against a divisional rival. Maybe get a few more Red Sox batters sippin’. Off the field Tonya Carpenter, the fan who was critically injured by a shattered bat at Fenway, was upgraded to “good” condition. Game 61: June 11, 2015 Boston Red Sox27-34 5 L: Wade Miley (5-6) 2B: Pablo Sandoval (6), Mookie Betts (12)HR: David Ortiz (7) Baltimore Orioles29-30 6 W: Chris Tillman (4-7)H: Brad Bach (4), Chaz Roe (1)S: Zach Britton (17) 2B: Adam Jones (10), Delmon Young (6)HR: Jones (10), Nolan Reimold (1),...

Outstanding in the Field

Adam Jones seemed to have a personal vendetta against Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. In the second he nailed Xander Bogaerts at second base when the shortstop attempted to eke out a double. Travis Snider had a Jonesian moment in the second inning. Right after Jones’s assist Snider did the same thing to Pablo Sandoval. The feat was somewhat less impressive as Sandoval isn’t a fast runner, but Snider’s throw had to be on the money to eliminate the Red Sox third baseman. After those two plays the outfield’s theatrics weren’t done. Betts lined what could have been a double in Jones’s direction. Betts was robbed by Jones when the Orioles center fielder made a stretching leap to end the frame. Jones took away extra bases from Betts again in the fifth inning with a diving snare of a quickly sinking fly ball. According to Don Orsillo, Betts sought out Jones for advice on fielding in center when the Red Sox rookie found out he wasn’t going to be playing the infield. Nice of Jones to give Betts a little refresher; clearly Betts has been forgetting to blow a bubble before making the play. The Red Sox have the worst...

Panda Problems

This should be about Blake Swihart’s first major league home run. I should be writing about how Swihart persevered on the defensive side by wrangling Steven Wright’s knuckleball and help the starter triumph thanks to his third-inning solo shot. But instead Wright’s four-run lead evaporated in the fifth inning with Torii Hunter’s three-run homer. Wright notched two outs in the sixth inning but had difficulty nailing down the final out. Pablo Sandoval fielded Eduardo Escobar’s ground ball easily but uncorked a poor throw to allow the Twins shortstop to reach second base. Kurt Suzuki lined a single to right to tie the game. Koji Uehara wasn’t helped by his fielders, either. Brian Dozier led off the ninth with a single that might have been caught by a more proficient left fielder than Hanley Ramirez. Hunter followed with a single to short. Joe Mauer bunted and Swihart scooped it up. Swihart fired a low throw to Sandoval but it was catchable. The ball skittered under Sandoval’s glove and Dozier crossed home to give the Twins the lead. Minnesota went on to score three more runs in the last frame, an insurmountable lead for the inconsistent Red Sox offense. Like his favorite...

Endangered Species

Pablo Sandoval collapsed into a heap when Sam Freeman’s 95 MPH fastball found his knee. Freeman had best watch out: the penalty for poaching pandas is 20 years imprisonment. Even luckier for him: this was reduced from the death penalty in 1997. Sandoval is day-to-day as the result of this injury. If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad” you know what $80 million in stacks of bills looks like. Here’s what $95 million in a pile looks like. Besides a panda another rarity came to light in the third inning. Xander Bogaerts found himself in left field backing up Hanley Ramirez when Prince Fielder’s ricocheting fly ball got away from Ramirez. After Bogaerts ran it down and turned around to get it back to the infield it was funny to think that this is one of the longest throws he is likely to make in-game. Bogaerts was part of an unusual event in the fourth frame. His fly ball to left hit off the ladder that steadfastly sticks to the Green Monster. Though its purpose has since become extinct it remains on the wall as a charming anachronism. Ramirez should render extinct the awkward slide he exhibited in the fifth...


The actual Boston Royal Giants and Seattle Steelheads never faced each other but the present-day Red Sox and Mariners recreated a tableau of Negro League glory Saturday evening. Pablo Sandoval and David Ortiz represented the sluggers of the bygone era well with solo circuit clouts in the second and third innings respectively. Even more amazing is that they hit their homers off Felix Hernandez, who went into this game with a 1.85 ERA and ended at 2.30. I liked that the teams went the extra mile and had Negro League-specific batting helmets. Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-5 with two runners in scoring position left on base. But he and the rest of the infielders played solidly behind ground ball pitcher Rick Porcello. The only way the Red Sox starter was in the same league as Hernandez was their lucrative contracts. Hernandez lasted six innings with seven hits, four earned runs, four walks, and five strikeouts. At the beginning of his final frame he seemed to tweak his left ankle. The visitors took advantage of Hernandez’s injury and tacked on two insurance runs. Brad Miller was responsible for both of the Mariners’ runs with his solo homers in the first and fifth...

Panda Power

Going into this game the Athletics were in last place in the American League West and attempting to snap a five-game losing streak. As poorly as Oakland has been playing they still stretched the Red Sox into extra innings by tying the game in the seventh inning. It took a circuit clout in the 11th authored by Pablo Sandoval to break the 4-4 tie. Perhaps the Bay Area air reinvigorated him. In earlier innings the Athletics managed to scrape back into a tie. In the bottom of the 11th Matt Barnes slammed the door shut with just six pitches. It was Barnes’s first major league win. Note that it was Matt Barnes the rookie reliever, not Matt Barnes the Clippers’ small forward. Your browser does not support iframes. The taut contest also had a bit of history sprinkled in the sixth inning. David Ortiz’s leadoff double to Coco Crisp didn’t lead to a run but it was his 1,041st extra base hit. He shares 26th place with Pete Rose in the record books. The Boston squad is on a two-game winning streak. They’re getting hot; best put on oven mitts before handling them. Game 32: May 11, 2015 ∙ 11...

What You Talkin’ ’Bout, Willis?

Well, whatever new pitching coach Carl Willis said to Clay Buchholz, it worked. Buchholz pitched for six and a third innings with seven hits, three earned runs, three strikeouts, and three walks. It wasn’t his best outing but it was good enough to tally his first win since Opening Day. I hope it wasn’t Willis’s idea for Buchholz’s new hairstyle. What if this look took rotation and bullpen by storm? Perhaps they would get better results as the batters just couldn’t focus on the ball. As much as Buchholz’s lack of imploding helped, so did the revival of two hitters. Mike Napoli and Pablo Sandoval both clubbed home runs. That both of them only have three circuit clouts to their name as of this game is indicative that starting pitching isn’t this team’s only problem. At times Boston batters would make excellent contact but get robbed by fabulous fielding. Mookie Betts nearly fell victim to this in the first inning. He laced the ball to deep center and Kevin Pillar almost made a Betts-level play on it. Pillar gloved the ball but it came loose when he landed. Betts was driven in by Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox scored...

Fresh Catch

Ryan Hanigan was relegated to the 60-day disabled list due to his broken finger, prompting the Red Sox to accelerate Blake Swihart’s timetable. He made his major league debut and went 1-for-3 with a walk and two whiffs. He legged out a single in the fifth inning with two out, displaying quite a bit of hustle for a backstop. Swihart worked a base on balls in the seventh inning with two out and a full count. This led to his first run scored when Mookie Betts laced a double to left field. While he handled Wade Miley and the bullpen well enough the Red Sox offense couldn’t overcome the visitors’ four runs. The Yankees sit atop the AL East but don’t play like a unified squad. Chase Headley bungled David Ortiz’s pop-up in the first inning and tried hard to make up for it in the second frame. Too hard, if you ask Didi Gregorius. Headley horned in on a pop-up off Pablo Sandoval’s bat. Sandoval exited the game after Brett Gardner slid into third base and hooked the third baseman’s ankle in the process. Sandoval is known for hard slides so perhaps what comes around goes around. Fortunately the...

Solid Betts

When will the Red Sox win again? When pandas fly. Pablo Sandoval not only made this outstanding catch in the fifth inning but clouted his first home run at Fenway Park. The line shot cleared the fences in right. If this were San Franciso it could have been caught if the outfielder shaded Sandoval correctly. Your browser does not support iframes. With his recent blown save Koji Uehara might have wished he pitched in a spacious ballpark like AT&T. But he was back in form in the top of the ninth, dispatching Michael Saunders, Kevin Pillar, and Dalton Pompey without fuss. Mookie Betts stepped into the box in the bottom of the ninth with one out and men at first and second base. Miguel Castro, the pitcher who opposed Betts, uncorked a wild pitch to allow the runners to advance. Betts got the pitch he needed and sent it back up the middle to plate Xander Bogaerts. Your browser does not support iframes. Betts would have been Bogaerts’s double play partner if Dustin Pedroia were not entrenched at the keystone sack. Instead they are a relentless batting combination. If a pitcher doesn’t get Bogaerts and the nine-hole hitter out he...

Party in the U.S.A.

This team was constructed to bash its way to victories, not rely on pitching excellence to triumph in close games. Perhaps Wade Miley was tired about hearing how the Red Sox pitching staff had no aces? Miley was visibly angry when John Farrell pulled the pitcher in the sixth inning with two outs on the board. Miley had allowed Brandon Guyer a single and then proceeded to load the bases by walking Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria. While I appreciated the passion that Miley displayed, Farrell’s decision to bring in Alexi Ogando to get Desmond Jennings out was the right one. Jennings grounded into a force play, an outcome you could foresee with his three-year splits against left- and right-handed hurlers: .273/.359/.454 compared to .238/.309/.371. What you might not have imagined was Pablo Sandoval’s leaping snare of Steven Souza, Jr.’s liner. Forget Kung Fu Panda, he’s Air Panda. There are many storylines to weave with Ryan Hanigan: player with local connections as an Andover High School graduate, former Rays catcher, horse breeder, and dog fancier. But most importantly for this game was his single in the third inning as it was the catalyst for the only run of the evening....

How to Build a Team

Sign a player that will slide hard into second base to make sure his teammate has a chance of being safe at first. Make sure said player has enough padding to take a pitch as a consequence of his hard slides. Have a divisional rival with a feisty starting pitcher who feels he has to take the game in his own hands and mete out punishment for interrupting his middle infielders. Throw in a younger MLB umpire with an itchy trigger finger. Go into a tight, tense game into the bottom of the ninth with the score tied. Ensure the leadoff hitter gets on base and bunt him over. Urge the superstar-in-making at short to knock in the winning run. Your browser does not support iframes. Profit. Your browser does not support iframes. Game 10: April 17, 2015 Baltimore Orioles5-5 2 L: Brian Matusz (0-1) 2B: Chris Davis (3)HR: Caleb Joseph (1) Boston Red Sox7-3 3 W: Koji Uehara (1-0) HR: Ryan Hanigan (1)...

National Disaster

The Nationals defense and pitching collapsed in the seventh inning. Hanley Ramirez reached on Ian Desmond’s fielding error. Matt Thornton hit Shane Victorino but briefly collected himself to induce a fly ball out off Mike Napoli’s bat. John Farrell pulled Daniel Nava in favor of Allen Craig and Matt Williams countered by relieving Thornton with Blake Treinen. Treinen hit Craig with the first pitch he threw. Ryan Hanigan tapped the ball back up the middle and most people scoring the game would have automatically marked the play “1-2,” as Treinen could have easily gotten Ramirez out at home. But Treinen bobbled the ball and hastily threw it past Wilson Ramos. By the time the dust settled the Red Sox tied the score 7-7. Brock Holt grounded out to Desmond and this time he fielded it well enough to throw Holt out at first base, but Craig scored to give the local nine the lead. Your browser does not support iframes. Edward Mujica continued his dominance from the seventh inning, striking out Danny Espinosa to tally the first out of the eighth inning. Junicihi Tazawa allowed a single but escaped the frame otherwise unscathed. Koji Uehara made a triumphant return with...

Ice Cold

Freddy Galvis was well-disguised but couldn’t steal a hit off the Red Sox pitching staff. Indeed his Boston counterpart Xander Bogaerts made a diving grab of his swiftly dropping batted ball for the fifth inning’s first out. Pablo Sandoval was similarly garbed. Who knew MLB-branded balaclavas were a thing? Sandoval notched his first hit in a Red Sox uniform with two outs in the fourth inning. Not only did he get his first hit but he also broke up Aaron Harang’s perfect game. Sandoval committed his first error of the season in the bottom of the seventh. He threw errantly to Mike Napoli after fielding Ben Revere’s grounder. Revere advanced all the way to third and tagged up on Chase Utley’s sacrifice fly to right field. The Phillies padded their lead to 4-0. Sandoval was part of a rally in the eighth. Daniel Nava was plated by Xander Bogaerts’s single. Ken Giles secured the next two outs but then walked Dustin Pedroia and Sandoval in succession to cut the home team’s lead to two runs. With the bases loaded Hanley Ramirez was poised to give his team the lead with another grand slam. It could have been Jonathan Papelbon’s stuff...


In the last game of the 2014 season Derek Jeter played shortstop for the New York Yankees for the final time. In the third inning he faced off against Clay Buchholz with one out and Ichiro Suzuki at third base. He watched two fastballs over the plate, a strike and a ball respectively. Jeter fouled off a cutter but then tapped the ball towards third base for an infield single. And mercifully that was the last cheap hit and run batted in we will ever see off Jeter’s bat. Jeter, not Joe Girardi, decided when he would leave the field. Jeter’s retirement was just the start of the changes to these lineups. Ben Cherington had Red Sox fans celebrating Thanksgiving early when he announced that he had signed Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez on November 25, 2014. With the addition of a pair of powerful bats Yoenis Cespedes became a fungible asset. The signings didn’t impress Jon Lester enough to lure him back to the Red Sox. On December 10 Lester announced he signed with the Chicago Cubs. The Red Sox began cobbling back together a starting rotation the next day by signing back Justin Masterson and trading Cespedes, Alex...


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