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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Baldelli”

Hundredth

Game 88: July 12, 2009 Royals0L: Bruce Chen (0-4)37-51, 3 game losing streak Red Sox6W: Josh Beckett (11-3)54-34, 3 game winning streak Highlights: In 2004, the Red Sox were 48-38 at the break with a .558 winning percentage; after the break they increased their win rate by 10% and went 50-26. They were 8-8 in the games after the All-Star game to the trade deadline, a mediocre showing that prompted the trade of Nomar Garciaparra. In 2007, Boston went 53-34 for a .609 winning percentage but dropped to .573 with a record of 43-32 after the Midsummer Classic. That season the Red Sox traded Joel Pineiro to the Cardinals for a player to be named later and acquired Eric Gagne to shore up the bullpen. As my grandpa would say in pidgin, “If no stay broke, no fix um.”The only weak spot that needs shoring up, in my opinion, is the hot corner due to Mike Lowell’s questionable hip. Kevin Youkilis fills in nicely, but that leaves Mark Kotsay, the Pawtucket first baseman du jour, and Rocco Baldelli (as a last resort) covering first base, a position that is a premium offensive spot for most teams.There’s no need to trade...

Apples

Game 63: June 14, 2009 Red Sox6L: Josh Beckett (7-3)38-25, 1 game losing streak Phillies11W: Chan Ho Park (3-1)36-25, 1 game winning streak Highlights: The Phillies turned the tables on the Red Sox yesterday, avoiding a sweep with an outburst of eleven runs. Terry Francona cobbled together a lineup sans J.D. Drew (much to his relief), Dustin Pedroia, and Jason Varitek, but Beckett made up for those gaps with a game-tying homer in the sixth. Don Orsillo commented on Beckett’s angry swing, which seemed to say, “How about them apples?” Dave Roberts’s classic reply: “I like apples.” The unlikely pair of Rocco Baldelli and Nick Green had back-to-back apples in the second. Even with the staff ace on the bump a good team can only keep another good team down for so long. And a good player like Jimmy Rollins will rarely be held hitless for an entire series. He broke the tie in the seventh with a leadoff home run.Rollins was happy enough after his four-bagger, but the shortstop flared up in the dugout after his fifth-inning RBI ground out. Even though he brought his team within two runs of the opposition he acted as if he didn’t do...

Apex

Game 60: June 11, 2009 Yankees3L: C.C. Sabathia (5-4)BS: Alfredo Aceves (1)34-26, 3 game losing streak Red Sox4BS: Manny Delcarmen (1)W: Takashi Saito (1-0)S: Jonathan Papelbon (16)36-24, 3 game winning streak Highlights: When I looked at the match-ups for this Red Sox/Yankees series this was the game that I marked down as a loss. Brady Penny’s trade value hopefully skyrocketed with his 6 innings of shutout ball. He must like pitching here, even though Delcarmen blew what would have been his 100th win. To be a good teammate Penny plunked Alex Rodriguez in the back in the first inning with two out and the count 1-1. That makes the hit by pitch contest 9-3 in the Yankees’ favor. Alex Rodriguez didn’t take his base immediately. He made his way to the mound but must have noticed out of the corner of his eye that no one came out of the dugout to defend him. So, he made as if he were a good Samaritan and was recovering the ball that nailed in the back. After calling a meeting, the umpiring crew determined that Brad Penny beaned Rodriguez intentionally and both dugouts were warned.David Ortiz crushed the first pitch he saw...

Janken [じゃんけん]

Game 57: June 7, 2009 Rangers6W: Vicente Padilla (4-3)H: Darren O’Day (5)S: C.J. Wilson (5)33-23, 1 game winning streak Red Sox3L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-4)33-24, 1 game losing streak Highlights: After Jacoby Ellsbury left the game in the sixth inning, Rocco Baldelli and Mark Kotsay played rock-paper-scissors (RPS) to decide who would play where in the outfield (but Brad Mills had the final say). The words one chants or the symbols used in this hand game provide a lesson cultural anthropology. Janken is the Japanese word for RPS. Japanese plantation workers brought their name for the game with them to Hawai‘i, generations of kids before me added to the chant, and these words were passed on to us. “Junken a munken a saka saka po!” we would begin. If we tied, we would continue, “Wailuku, Wailuku, big fat toe!” Growing up on the East Coast, the Red Sox Scholars have their own words for RPS, probably something like, “One, two, three, shoot!” I still am surprised by the brevity of ritual in places outside of Maui. My cousins who grew up on O‘ahu started with “jan ken po” and then “I canna show” in case of a tie. Maybe the bigger...

Repetitive

Game 50: May 30, 2009 Red Sox3L: Ramon Ramirez (4-2)28-22, 2 game losing streak Blue Jays5W: Brian Tallet (3-3)H: Brandon League (3)S: Scott Downs (7)29-23, 2 game winning streak Highlights: The first two games of this series have been like Groundhog Day in baseball format. Seven innings pitched by the Blue Jays starter? Check. Eighth inning with one strikeout by League? Check. Perfect save by Downs? Check. Jason Varitek didn’t homer twice, but Rocco Baldelli smashed his second home run of the season with Varitek on base. Unfortunately, Rocco Baldelli didn’t complete the game. In the fifth he slid into the wall bordering the right field stands in pursuit of Aaron Hill’s fly ball into foul territory and banged up his surgically-repaired knee, but x-rays came back negative. Too bad; I was looking forward to another withering glance from Baldelli to Jacoby Ellsbury should the latter attempt to poach a put-out as he did in the fourth inning.Baldelli was ball-hawking in center before Ellsbury was drafted by the Red Sox. I wonder, as Baldelli probably wonders, what might have been if his career hadn’t been waylaid by injury and illness. I think if he fully recovers that the former Ray...

Returnees

Game 2: April 8, 2009 Rays 7 W: Scott Kazmir (1-0)S: Grant Balfour (1) 1-1, 1 game winning streak Red Sox 2 L: Jon Lester (0-1) 1-1, 1 game losing streak Highlights: Raving about Jon Lester, Tom Caron rhapsodized, “The ceiling for this guy is through through the roof!” This evening’s Eck-tionary offering was “salad,” which means a pitch that is easy for a batter to launch. Hurlers used to serve meatballs, but in these days of health consciousness and eating ethics, genetically unmodified, organic leafy greens are recommended. Lester complied by serving up some escarole tonight: he presented to his guests five earned runs over his five-course repast. The new opening montage for the game is less jaunty and jumbled. Accompanying the sleek new graphics is a reinvigorated, driving score, brawnier than the previous refrain, which was laced with the whines of a simulated guitar and peppered with the electronic flourishes of a synthesizer. I rather liked the haphazard way players popped from sides of the screen in the old sequence, so this will take some getting used to.As will talking about a Ramirez that isn’t Manny. This Ramirez, a relief pitcher named Ramon, turned heads with a...

A Bible Thumper, a Bishop Hendricken Boy, and a Backup

Contrary to the Yankee method of landing the biggest free agents on the market and signing them to hideously long and bloated contracts, the Red Sox have made small moves to fill up the bench and bolster the bullpen. Replacing the role of grizzled, God-fearing, geriatric pitcher played by Mike Timlin is John Smoltz. Smoltz will eventually be in the Hall of Fame because it has no rule against having homphobes enshrined. In 2004 when asked about gay marriage the pitcher said, “What’s next? Marrying an animal?” Hopefully one of the incentives in Smoltz’s $5.5 million, one-year deal is that he demonstrate some tolerance in a state that grants gays and lesbians the right to marry. Moving on to better things, it is fitting that the newest member of the Red Sox outfield dons the number five. Rocco Baldelli signed a one-year deal for $500,000 with a chance to earn up to $7.5M if he meets roster and performance requisites. Fans cheered for the Cumberland, Rhode Island native when he played on (Devil) Rays, so he will be as warmly welcomed as Mark Teixeira will be lustily booed. Lastly, Mark Kotsay has a return engagement at a $1.5M price tag....


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