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Essential Empy

Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Yankees”

Lack of Closure

Koji Uehara surrendered back-to-back home runs in the ninth for his fifth blown save in 2014. In 2013 he only had three save attempts scuttled. John Farrell was considering shutting down the closer for the rest of the season but instead he will be removed from the closing role in favor of Edward Mujica. It was a great run, but I think most Red Sox fans have been expecting Uehara’s eventual decline. At least we were able to witness a breathtaking season and championship with him at his best. Despite two home runs from David Ortiz the Red Sox could not fend off the Yankees. Ortiz faked a bunt before his first inning solo shot. Your browser does not support iframes. Brock Holt contributed a leadoff homer to start the fifth inning. On the defensive side in the same frame he made a stupendous catch of Jacoby Ellsbury’s liner over the middle. Both Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts were in pursuit but only Holt could follow the ball’s trajectory. This brief breath of hope the Yankees experienced in this series win will make it all the more sweet when the Red Sox eliminate them in the last series of the...

The Rains of Bronx-amere

And who are you, the proud Yank said, that I must swing so low? Only a bat of a different stroke, that’s all the truth I know. With a stroke of gold or a stroke of lead, Big Papi still has pop, And his eyes are keen and sharp, my lord, as keen and sharp as yours. And so he spoke, and so he spoke, that lord of Bronx-amere, But now the rains weep o’er his Stade, with no one there to hear. Yes now the rains weep o’er his Stade, and not a soul to hear. One more episode and a year to recover, my sweet summer children. Perhaps the Red Sox will help with the healing this season rather than harm, as they did in 2011 and 2012. Game 58: June 2, 2013 ∙ 6 innings Boston Red Sox35-23 3 W: Clay Buchholz (8-0) HR: Jose Iglesias (1), David Ortiz (10) New York Yankees31-25 0 L: Hiroki Kuroda (6-4) No extra base hits...

Better Slip You an Ambien

CC Sabathia just had to regain his form (such that it is) in this series opener. The Yankees had been on a five-game schneid, during which they were swept by the Mets. If bath salt attacks haven’t convinced you of the zombie attacks, the revitalization of Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay, Ichiro Suzuki, and Vernon Wells should. What is dead may never die, but rises again, irritatinger and annoyinger. It was nice of the Phillies to give Jacoby Ellsbury the actual base that broke the franchise record of stolen bases in a game. They didn’t throw it at him with some batteries. Game 56: May 31, 2013 Boston Red Sox33-23 1 L: Jon Lester (6-2) 2B: Dustin Pedroia – 2 (16), David Ross (2), Mike Napoli (20) New York Yankees31-23 4 W: CC Sabathia (5-4)H: David Robertson (11)S: Mariano Rivera (19) 2B: Vernon Wells (7)...


I had this game open on a tab in browser since last October. MLB’s annoying autoplay feature made it so whenever the page loaded I would hear Michael Kay throwing it to Meredith Marakovits for the Yankees’ celebration. Even that wasn’t enough to make me put fingers to keyboard to attempt to summarize this game, a microcosm of the disappointment of this season. Thankfully the Yankees were ineffective in the postseason, outlasting the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 in the ALDS before getting swept by the Tigers in the ALCS. This was Bobby Valentine’s last game as Red Sox skipper. At one point I thought that Valentine’s experience in Japan and ability to speak the language would help Daisuke Matsuzaka attain his former levels of success. Now neither have jobs in the majors, although Matsuzaka may find his way to the big leagues and be reunited with his former manager, Terry Francona. The Indians, along with the rest of the world, made a “Harlem Shake” video. This offseason the Red Sox did their best to shake off 2012’s woes with extensive shifts off and on the field. It will take more than a meme to bring meaning back to this team. Game...

Baileys Irish Creamed

This game was so awful I had to match it with a pun, which are inherently terrible. Cody Ross won the fans’ vote for the Tenth Player of the Year Award. I was hoping that Pedro Ciriaco or Junichi Tazawa would be recognized for their breakout seasons, but Ross is an admirable selection. He wears Dom DiMaggio, Rick Burleson, and Trot Nixon’s former number well. Hopefully Ross is in the front office’s plan for next season. In the top of the twelfth inning a tiny sparrow alighted on the basepath between second and third. Rather than presage a win for the Red Sox that would help the Orioles the fledgling was in the neighborhood of the double play that end the inning. While the seasons have ebbed and flowed since 2004 and lately he has been a marginal contributor, it stung a little to see Derek Lowe winning this game as a Yankee. Game 161: October 2, 2012 ∙ 12 innings Boston Red Sox69-92 3 H: Rich Hill (6), Junichi Tazawa (5), Craig Breslow (9)BS: Andrew Bailey (3)L: Andrew Miller (3-2) 2B: Dustin Pedroia (38)HR: James Loney (6) New York Yankees94-67 4 W: Derek Lowe (9-11)2B: Nick Swisher (36), Eduardo...


At first I thought Alex Rodriguez bedazzled his neck but upon closer inspection his beard is greying. For a man who seemed preoccupied with appearances for him to show this shard of humanity made me almost feel sorry for his on-field decline. Almost. I’ll be cackling with glee as he flails his way through the playoffs and is skewered in the press. Red Sox fans are back to the old days when they can enjoy the postseason only through other teams’ misery. Schadenfreude season will soon begin. In the bottom of the second Russell Martin powered a fly ball to right that for some reason inspired a Red Sox fan in a Pedroia t-shirt to pull a Jeffrey Maier. Che-Hsuan Lin could only look on as the fan reached over. This angle showed how the ball ricocheted off the forearm of the fan before it bounced up into his Red Sox cap. Now even Red Sox fans are actively sabotaging their team. Game 160: October 1, 2012 Boston Red Sox69-91 2 L: Clay Buchholz (11-8) 2B: Mauro Gomez (5)HR: Daniel Nava (6) New York Yankees93-67 10 W: CC Sabathia (15-6)2B: Robinson Cano – 2 (48), Nick Swisher (35)HR: Cano (31),...

Bronx Blowout

Three solo home runs were not enough to overcome the Yankees on their home field. Instead of watching the Red Sox get thrashed I switched over to the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. Danny Boyle (no relation to songstress Susan or comedian Frankie) directed the extravaganza, which was the first intentionally postmodern pastiche of British social, economic, and military history with splashes of pop culture. Boyle recreated the Industrial Revolution but avoided dramatizing the engine that powered it: Great Britain’s colonial conquests. I found the retrospective correction of having a multicultural group of magnates swaying in awe of their creations amusing. While Great Britain doesn’t share the United States of America’s shameful history of slavery I doubt that men of African or Asian extraction were fathers of industry on the isles of wonder. As egregious as Boyle’s omission was NBC’s omission of the segment memorializing victims of the July 7 terrorist attacks in London. If a non-US broadcasting company willfully edited a tribute about September 11 Americans would be upset, and rightfully so. Two multimedia mash-ups showed the style and verve that best exemplify the British. Queen Elizabeth gamely played herself along with Daniel Craig’s James Bond for a helicopter...

Home Wreckers

The elation caused by Boston’s lone win on Friday evaporated like self-tanner off Cameron Diaz’s shoulders on Saturday. Twice the Red Sox came within a run of the Yankees but the home team went 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Such a paucity of timely hitting by the local nine combined with the power of New York’s bats and relievers equaled another notch in the loss column for the team that most experts said were going to reach if not win the World Series. Despite Clay Buchholz’s two consecutive dismal starts the starter signed a four-year contract extension worth approximately $30 million. It was similar to Jon Lester’s extension but Buchholz’s contract has two team options compared to Lester’s single team option. Buchholz has already surrendered more than half (5) the homers he gave up the entire season last year (9). The Red Sox pitching staff has given up 19 home runs, the most round-trippers in 2011 for any team. The Toronto Blue Jays, the team where former Boston pitching coach John Farrell is now skipper, has only four home runs against its staff. Along with this departure Jason Varitek is no longer the full-time catcher with Jarrod Saltalamacchia installed...

Home Is Where I Want to Be

Pick me up and turn me round. With his signature corkscrew swing Dustin Pedroia rocked Phil Hughes’s lazy change-up into the first row of the Monster seats. The inaugural home run in the first game at Fenway in 2011 only brought the Red Sox within a run of the lead as John Lackey didn’t start particularly sharp. I feel numb, born with a weak heart. Lackey allowed at least one run in every inning of the five he pitched. But when trying to outrun a zombie you need only be faster than someone else, and Hughes was that other guy. I guess I must be having fun. Particularly in the second inning when the Red Sox scored as many runs in one inning as they did in three games in Cleveland. J.D. Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jacoby Ellsbury knocked in consecutive singles to start the inning and Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, and David Ortiz singled after two RBI ground outs. The less we say about it the better. Make it up as we go along. But Lackey was lacking and his team’s 6-3 lead melted like snow in spring. Amongst the Red Sox and Yankee starters and swing man Bartolo Colon...

There’s No Place Like Home

The Yankees were denied the American League East championship with their 8-4 loss before the Rays’ comeback victory against the Royals. They won’t have home field throughout the playoffs and will face the Minnesota Twins in the American League Divisional Series. Yankee Stadium is second in the league for runs scored park factor 1.182 compared to Target Field’s 0.970. Southpaws won’t have the short porch to pad their home run statistics; in fact, Homophobia Field’s (Target donated $150,000 to Minnesota Forward, a political action committee that supports anti-gay marriage Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer) home run park factor of 0.638 is last in the league while Nouveau Stade Fasciste is third with 1.440. I should be careful about how vociferously I broadcast my hopes for a quick exit by the Yankees. I might find myself stabbed in the neck like Monte Friere, a Red Sox fan from Nashua, New Hampshire who was attacked by John Mayor, a Yankee fan from New Haven. While Mayor is sitting in the clink waiting for someone to bail him out for $500,000, he should unwind with some quality television programming. On Tuesday evening at 8 PM ESPN will present the next installment of the...

Bill Hall-elujah

As he didn’t have the impact of Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, or David Ortiz, Bill Hall’s possible departure from the Red Sox has not been widely discussed. If Boston exercises its club option Hall would be paid $9.25 million in 2011, a price tag that the front office may balk at since it has a cheaper infield option with Jed Lowrie. Hall played every position but first base and catcher, so his versatility will be missed. He pinch ran for Ortiz in the bottom of the eighth, giving him a close-up look at a miracle. With the bases loaded, Kevin Cash worked a walk to push the tying run across home. “And he shall reign for ever and ever!” Because backup catchers have a long shelf life; witness Cash’s line of .133 batting average, .224 on-base percentage, and .150 slugging percentage with the Red Sox. As ineffective as Cash was as a hitter so were A.J. Burnett and Daisuke Matsuzaka as starters. Neither pitcher made it past the sixth inning and both gave up four runs. Burnett surrendered more hits but Matsuzaka relinquished more base on balls. Mix inefficient pitchers with two of the more patient lineups in the majors...

It Really is a Marathon

The miles show on Mike Lowell’s face but not in his words. “You know, I’m kind of at a loss for words to kind of explain the emotions I’ve felt over the last five years, with respect to the support and positive response I’ve gotten from Red Sox fans,” said Lowell during the pre-game festivities celebrating his baseball career. “But I think it’s your passion and your knowledge for baseball, I’ll truly miss but I don’t think I’ll ever forget.” Josh Beckett, who came with Lowell in the trade with the Marlins, gave the corner infielder a third base bag. The left field wall echoed fans’ signs and thoughts: “THANK YOU MIKE.” The Red Sox’s marathon season reached Heartbreak Hill. The Red Sox ran it with crutches and the Yankees participated in it like a relay, handing off the baton to deadline acquisitions. While perennial All-Star Lance Berkman hasn’t become a true Yankee yet, adding him to the lineup along with Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood gave the Gothamites proven major league options while Boston’s lineup card closely resembled something Torey Lovullo would draw up in McCoy or Arnie Beyeler puts together at Hadlock. Despite the vast disparity in talent...

Rest in Pieces

The Yankees guaranteeing themselves a playoff spot this season was inevitable but, like your parents having sex, it’s something that happens but you don’t need to see or hear it. Just please keep it down. Will you guys wait until you get into your bedroom? Appreciate it. Juan Miranda’s tenth-inning bases loaded walk teased from Hideki Okajima was like amateur porn compared to the Red Sox winning the American League East on September 28, 2007. That night was like Amélie (from the movie, not the Boston Globe) imagining climaxes across the arrondissements of Paris; pockets of Red Sox fans in Baltimore and Boston and beyond were simultaneously experiencing exhilaration. A scintilla of that exaltation shimmered briefly in the top of the ninth. Ryan Kalish swiped second and third as Bill Hall battled Mariano Rivera. Hall prevailed by shooting a single up the middle to plate Kalish for the tying run. Inspired by Kalish’s larceny Hall also stole second and third, putting him in position to tag up on pinch hitter Mike Lowell’s sacrifice fly to center for the go-ahead score. Jonathan Papelbon, who had partnered with Daisuke Matsuzaka three years ago to clinch the division, did not replicate his one-two-three...

Spoiler Alert

Nava, Nova — they’re all the same to Tim McCarver. Never you mind that Daniel Nava is the Red Sox outfielder salvaged from independent league obscurity while Ivan Nova is the late-blooming pitcher who was a Rule 5 draftee returned to the Yankees. McCarver also didn’t know the name of Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, calling him “Frank Rodriguez” then “Felix Rodriguez” until stumbling onto the correct combination. The belief that Nova was not respected as a pitcher in the Dominican Republic because his surname literally translated means “it doesn’t go” in Spanish has been debunked as an urban legend. He wasn’t held in high regard because he just wasn’t that good. Nova lasted 4⅔ innings with a line of 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, and 2 strikeouts. Jon Lester carried a perfect game for four innings until he allowed a leadoff walk to Alex Rodriguez in the bottom frame of the fifth. The no-hitter lasted until the sixth when Francisco Cervelli’s liner to left ricocheted off Nava’s arm as the outfielder attempted a heroic diving grab. Nava made up for the miss later in the inning. The left fielder gathered Derek Jeter’s ground ball single and fired a...

Second Place is the First Loser

That makes the Red Sox second-place loser. In the bottom of the fifth Curtis Granderson’s grounder took a freak hop and strafed Mike Lowell’s temple, causing the infielder to drop to the turf. The savage mob mocked Lowell, who was drafted by the Yankees in 1995. It will be the Boston who honors Lowell’s retirement with a ceremony at Fenway Park on October 2. One would think that the breaking of the Yankees’ championship drought and the passing of its führer would mellow Yankee fans, but they were as ginned up as ever. Chants of “Boston sucks,” frenzied organ playing, and bombastic snippets of insipid songs permeated Nouveau Stade Fasciste as the Bronx Bromides clobbered their way back into the game with a season-high six home runs. The same crowd showing so much animus towards the Red Sox shied away when confronted by an opposing player in the flesh. Adrian Beltre reached into and over a cluster of fans to glove Lance Berkman’s pop-up. The third baseman disrupted the first-row fans pawing their iPads and towered over their feeble reach to nab the first out of the eighth inning. Ironically one of the most arrogant and brash fanbases of any...

True Grit in Series Split

As much as I enjoy Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy (they are the best broadcast booth in the American League and all) listening to Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien can be more evocative and informative. Had the Red Sox not had an afternoon game I probably wouldn’t have learned how Ryan Kalish’s parents are ardent Red Sox fans: father Steve is from Brookline and mother Eileen hails from Dorchester. Kalish tallied his first major league steal in the second inning after scooting a seeing-eye single between first and second. After swiping second he advanced to third on Jorge Posada’s poor throw to the keystone sack. Kalish scored on Bill Hall’s infield single to short, about which Castiglione murmured about Alex Rodriguez’s and Derek Jeter’s diminished ranges. The Red Sox went on to load the bases in the second but the Yankees escaped with just one more run scored against them. Castiglione mentioned how he and O’Brien shared a taxi with Mike Lowell to the game today. They noted that he is an honest evaluator of players, including himself, and believe that he could make a career in the front office someday. He couldn’t write a glowing report on his 0-for-4...

Surely You Josh

And don’t call me Shirley. Josh Beckett made his bones against the New York Yankees in the 2003 World Series as the youthful pitching phenom of the Florida Marlins. He was the MVP of that championship team, pitching two games on three days rest, the second of which was a complete game shutout. So far in 2010 Beckett has had four starts against the Yankees:April 4: 4⅔ innings pitched, 8 hits, 5 earned runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 2 home runsMay 7: 5⅓ innings pitched, 9 hits, 9 earned runs, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts, 1 home runMay 18: 4⅔ innings pitched, 5 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, 1 home runAugust 8: 4⅔ innings pitched, 11 hits, 7 earned runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 1 home runAt least he cut down on his bases on balls in his most recent start. Between Joe Morgan’s incessant, inane babbling and the cannonade of runs in the fifth inning this game was particularly insufferable. Was the game as intolerable as a sidelined Dustin Pedroia? No, probably not that bad. In the bottom of the fourth Jon Miller asked Terry Francona what the latest on Pedroia was. “He’s a pain in...

Pinstripes Are Not Slimming

I had chalked this up to a loss even before the first pitch was thrown, but John Lackey pitched competently enough to keep the Yankees to a handful of runs and was supported by perfect innings by Manny Delcarmen and Felix Doubront. When two questionable relievers hold the line in a pressure-packed situation, you hope that the offense will come through and notch a run or two. The Red Sox shot out to an early lead in the second by virtue of Victor Martinez’s leadoff homer and consecutive doubles by Adrian Beltre and Mike Lowell. After the second inning the visiting batters managed a mere four baserunners: singles by Marco Scutaro and Beltre, a base on balls by J.D. Drew, and Darnell McDonald reaching on Ramiro Pena’s error. Pena filled in at third for Alex Rodriguez. In typical Rodriguez fashion the third baseman was scratched from the game because of a freak injury during batting practice. Rodriguez was too preoccupied saying hi to Joe Buck that he didn’t realize Lance Berkman peppered a ball straight at him. After the strike to the shin Rodriguez was shown rolling on the turf in agony, like Cristiano Ronaldo. X-rays were negative. The last-minute...

Yankee Doodle Do or Die

With two down and the count 3-2 in the first inning David Ortiz tried to bombard Monument Cave with his home run ball, his 21st of the season. In Nouveau Stade Fasciste the open-air museum is protected from onslaught by netting, so circuit clouts no longer bounce impertinently amongst the marble slabs. The Yankees answered back in the bottom frame of the first with a two-run shot off the bat of Mark Teixeira. The first baseman took advantage of one of the few poor pitches hurled by Clay Buchholz, who notched his 12th victory with his 7⅓ innings, 9 hits, 3 earned runs, and 4 strikeout outing. He can celebrate his win along with the birth of his first child, a daughter he and his wife Lindsay named Colbi, born a mere two days ago. The visitors took back the lead second. Javier Vazquez, who never looks comfortable against the Red Sox, failed to peel off on Mark Lowell’s infield pop-up to Francisco Cervelli. Vazquez’s battery partner dropped the ball, allowing Lowell to reach first safely and Adrian Beltre to take third. It seemed like Vazquez was trying too hard to make the play himself, as if he had something...

Jeremy Spoke in Class Today

The 59-minute delay of the first pitch and a shattering defeat the night before left the Red Sox with more time to stew in their misery. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Victor Martinez are in couples therapy (in a start with Jason Varitek Matsuzaka pitched one run over seven innings but with Martinez he has allowed 21 hits and 18 earned runs over 14⅔ innings) and Mike Lowell is seeking a divorce from the Red Sox (he vented his frustration to the media), but on the field Boston battled back from a five-run deficit for their first win at Nouveau Stade Fascist this season. Josh Beckett weathered his second consecutive poor start against the Yankees, lasting just 4⅔ innings with a line of 5 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 3 walks, and 6 strikeouts. He was pulled in the fifth inning due to injury and the Yankees played the game under protest because they believed the starter didn’t seem to be injured. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the Yankees have doctors and trainers who can diagnose ailments from a distance on their payroll; they can pay for anyone. The visitors had little success against C.C. Sabathia; over seven innings the...


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