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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Bay (Jason)”

Cake

Game 146: September 18, 2009 Red Sox3W: Clay Buchholz (6-3)H: Daniel Bard (12)H: Hideki Okajima (23)S: Jonathan Papelbon (37)87-59, 1 game winning streak Orioles1L: Jeremy Guthrie (10-15)60-87, 2 game losing streak Highlights: Pay no attention to those rookies behind the curtain. They cut Dusty Brown a break and didn’t squeeze him into a skimpy costume designed for the female form. That’s the least they could do for the eight-year member of the Red Sox organization. What a missed opportunity that the Wizard of Oz came two years too late for Dustin Pedroia. How appropriate that the Food Network show “Ace of Cakes” is set in Baltimore as the baseball club from that city is a piece of cake to beat. Just as C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira went to play for the team that would give them the most iron, Food Network stars Chef Duff and Geof had no qualms about making a cake for the Yankees. You can bet if a Red Sox fan were on staff at Charm City Cakes there would be a David Ortiz jersey baked into it. It being Baltimore, I wasn’t sure if the sirens that sounded in the bottom of the second were...

Left

Game 142: September 13, 2009 Rays0L: James Shields (9-11)72-71, 11 game losing streak Red Sox4W: Jon Lester (13-7)84-58, 5 game winning streak Highlights: Not to be outdone by Clay Buchholz, Lester twirled eight shutout innings to sweep the Rays out of Fenway and, most likely, out of the Wild Card chase. J.D. Drew led off the second with a six-pitch walk. David Ortiz nearly tripled to right to plate Drew but his fly ball to right somehow sprung out of the park for a ground-rule double. Mike Lowell’s RBI ground out drove in the local nine’s first run.Jon Lester only needed that single run. The southpaw allowed two singles and three walks while striking out seven. Since he pitches in the shadow of Josh Beckett and doesn’t have the sexy win total of C.C. Sabathia or the gaudy strikeout numbers of Justin Verlander or Zach Greinke, Lester gets lost in the Cy Young conversation. Lester leads Red Sox pitchers in VORP with 53.3; he is sixth in the American League after Greinke, Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay, Sabathia, and Verlander. Not only does he pitch behind Beckett, at the moment Lester is also eclipsed by the AL East’s other southpaw star...

Block

Game 128: August 28, 2009 Blue Jays5L: Brian Tallet (5-8)58-68, 1 game losing streak Red Sox6W: Hideki Okajima (5-0)S: Jonathan Papelbon (31)74-54, 1 game winning streak Highlights: Barbara Walters should ask Jason Varitek what kind of tree he would be since he stumped Travis Snider at home plate in the eighth. Jason Bay fished John McDonald’s liner out of the left field corner and relayed it to Alex Gonzalez. The shortstop pirouetted faster than Nureyev, completing the circuit to Jason Varitek. Travis Snider bounced off Varitek’s shin like a rag doll thrown against the wall. The Blue Jays right fielder lay supine and stunned as Varitek tagged him for last out before a 49-minute rain delay. The remarkable play kept the score knotted at five runs apiece.Bay was pivotal in tying the game in the fifth. His two-run longball was a welcome distraction from Ben Affleck shilling his upcoming movie. He was there ostensibly to urge donations for the Jimmy Fund but for some reason his commercial endeavor became a topic of conversation.Jacoby Ellsbury tied the game 3-3 in the fourth with a ground-rule double to the triangle. Every time one of his flyballs soar into the triangle an inside-the-park...

Substitutes

Game 125: August 25, 2009 White Sox3BS: Matt Thornton (5)L: Scott Linebrink (3-6)63-63, 3 game losing streak Red Sox6W: Manny Delcarmen (5-2)S: Jonathan Papelbon (30)72-53, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Jacoby Ellsbury broke the single-season franchise record for steals in the bottom of the first. He had just shot a ground-rule double into the Red Sox bullpen and was chomping at the bit to swipe third. A.J. Pierzynski bobbled Freddy Garcia’s first pitch to Dustin Pedroia and didn’t even try to catch the speedy center fielder. Ellsbury can drive 55, and more. Dustin Pedroia poked the ball to Paul Konerko in his first at bat, plating Jacoby Ellsbury for a quick score.Nine-hole hitter Jayson Nix improbably tied the game in the third with a longball into the Monster seats. Boston countered with J.D. Drew’s two-out double to the left-center gap, demonstrating that he doesn’t have to bat from the eighth spot to make an impact. From the three-hole Drew went 1-for-3 and walked twice. Kevin Youkilis roped a single to left to drive in Drew for the lead.Youkilis’s comments about playing in Boston sparked some controversy, but keep in mind that Dan Shaugnessy penned this piece. How it must gall...

Theft

Game 116: August 15, 2009 Red Sox2L: Brad Penny (7-7)66-50, 1 game losing streak Rangers7W: Derek Holland (6-7)H: Darren O’Day (16)S: Neftali Feliz (1)65-50, 1 game winning streak Highlights: Reports of the Red Sox’s revival were greatly exaggerated. Alex Gonzalez brought back the spirit of 2006. In some circles there are whispers of the Curse of Mark Kotsay. Alex Gonzalez re-debuted with the Red Sox Saturday night. His equipment hadn’t arrived yet so he used Jed Lowrie’s glove. Can he use Hanley Ramirez’s bat? There’s a lot of power to spare in that and it would be nice to have some at short. Or any hitting ability: Gonzalez went 0-for-4 with one strikeout.Can infield defensive abilities be transplanted to outfielders? Brian Anderson stopped mid-route on Elvis Andrus’s fly ball to right in the second inning, looking as uncaring as J.D. Drew is said to be. The two-out triple led to Julio Borbon driving in Andrus.Jason Bay led off the fourth with his 25th homer of the season. Just as Bay’s bat returns most of the rest of his teammmates’ production has tapered off.Victor Martinez is an exception; the backstop homered in the fourth. It was a two-out circuit clout, but...

Visit

Game 113: August 12, 2009 Tigers2L: Zach Miner (5-3)59-54, 3 game losing streak Red Sox8W: Josh Beckett (14-4)65-48, 3 game winning streak Highlights: Jerry Remy continued the trope of celebrity sufferers of depression visiting the broadcast booth that Joe Pantoliano started a few weeks ago. Who can blame him? He had an arduous recovery from lung cancer surgery and news that his son Jared was fired from his Fenway security post because of steroids recently surfaced. The elder Remy hadn’t been watching NESN games because his doctor recommended that he stay away from things that might further depress him, like Don Orsillo. Despite the ribbing, Remy, Orsillo, and Dennis Eckersley were clearly delighted to be together in the booth as evidenced by their giddy giggling. The fans at Fenway applauded the analyst in the middle of the second. Second inning visit, second baseman — nice touch. If you ever miss Hanley Ramirez, just watch a Josh Beckett start. Like the one he had Wednesday evening, a seven-inning jewel in which he carried a perfect game 3⅔ innings and a no-hitter until the fifth inning. Carlos Guillen abruptly shattered the no-no and the shutout with a thunderous swing on the first...

Donnybrook

Game 112: August 11, 2009 Tigers5L: Chris Lambert (0-1)59-53, 2 game losing streak Red Sox7W: Junichi Tazawa (1-1)H: Fernando Cabrera (1)H: Takashi Saito (2)64-48, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Tazawa made his Fenway debut and after a rough first inning settled into a solid five-inning outing with 1 earned run, 2 base on balls, and 6 strike outs. Despite his skillful start Tazawa wasn’t the headlining act of last night’s show. When Miguel Cabrera got hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out I thought the damage would have been worse if the Tigers first baseman got the chance to swing the bat.Then Nick Green failed to turn the double play on Carlos Guillen’s grounder with the ducks on the pond. A high throw pulled Dustin Pedroia off the second base bag and allowed Placido Polanco to cross the plate. The inning continued with Magglio Ordonez driving in a run on a fielder’s choice, a walk by Alex Avila, and Cabrera scoring on Brandon Inge’s liner to left.Hit by pitch or three-run home run, by the middle of the inning the results were the same.After Pedroia grounded into a double play in the bottom of the second...

Reawaken

Game 111: August 10, 2009 Tigers5L: Zach Miner (5-2)59-52, 1 game losing streak Red Sox6BS: Manny Delcarmen (2)W: Ramon Ramirez (6-3)S: Jonathan Papelbon (28)63-48, 1 game winning streak Highlights: The Bad Fan award goes the folks near home plate who got in Victor Martinez’s way on Marcus Thames’s pop up in foul territory. Although Martinez held on to get the second out of the first inning, he should not have had to reach through a thicket of outstretched arms to do so. So this is what a win feels like. What working the count looks like. What scoring runs in multiple innings looks like. What recovering from a bad relief outing looks like. What a clean save looks like. The local nine got reacquainted with Fenway and with their former selves, snapping their six-game losing streak.Brad Penny pitched he usually does: competent but not spectacular. He’ll give up 4 to 6 runs a game; it’s up to the batters to get 5 to 7 runs with Penny on the bump.Dustin Pedroia ignited his team with a two-run homer in the first. So inspiring was Pedroia’s circuit clout it even helped Nick Green clear the left field wall to kick off...

Fearsome

Game 106: August 5, 2009 Red Sox4L: Brad Penny (7-6)62-44, 2 game losing streak Rays6W: David Price (5-4)H: Lance Cormier (2)H: Dan Wheeler (12)S: J.P. Howell (12)60-48, 3 game winning streak Highlights: Jason Bay homered for the first time since July 7. For the first time as a member of the Red Sox Victor Martinez went bridge. Nick Green had a first of his own: in the eighth he played left field for the first time in his career. Perhaps Terry Francona’s logic was that if Evan Longoria hit to that region it would fly over the fences anyway. The Rays quadrupled their quadrangulars. Carlos Peña lost one deep to right with Ben Zobrist on second. In the next inning Carl Crawford’s circuit clout soared to the seats near his defensive territory, plating Michel Hernandez.When the otherwise comatose Pat Burrell can launch a ball into Souvenir City, as he did in the sixth, things aren’t going well for your pitching staff. Jason Bartlett added to the humiliation in the seventh with a solo shot to the sinister side.Bartlett’s homer was payback for Jed Lowrie’s defensive gem in the first. The Red Sox shortstop snared his counterpart’s batted ball in shallow...

Re-sign

Game 83: July 7, 2009 Athletics2L: Dana Eveland (1-3)35-47, 1 game losing streak Red Sox5W: Josh Beckett (10-3)H: Hideki Okajima (15)H: Justin Masterson (6)S: Jonathan Papelbon (21)50-33, 1 game winning streak Highlights: On July 18, 2006 Beckett signed a 3-year, $30M extension, a personnel move that has paid huge dividends. Since then he’s been selected as an All-Star twice, won the ALCS MVP once, and anchored the rotation for two playoff runs. Any other starter would consider this an outstanding performance but his 6⅔ innings with 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts had Beckett yelling at himself in the dugout. If only Jason Bay would sign a mid-season deal like Josh Beckett did two years ago. The left fielder blasted his 20th home run just to the left of the stanchion furthest from home plate to tie the game. The solid slugger is on pace for 40 home runs and 142 RBIs. Not only is he the engine of the Red Sox offense but he can even steal a base or two, as he did in the third and seventh innings.Bay might be a bit preoccupied with the upcoming Midsummer Classic festivities, but hopefully he and...

Capitalize

Game 70: June 23, 2009 Red Sox11W: Manny Delcarmen (2-1)H: Hideki Okajima (13)43-27, 3 game winning streak Nationals3L: Julian Tavarez (3-5)20-48, 1 game losing streak Highlights: Tuesday evening featured the first visit to the nation’s capital by the Red Sox since 1971. Nationals Park, which debuted last season, is not as self-consciously retro as other recent parks; there’s no silly hill in center field (I’m looking at you, Houston) or obnoxiously jutting banks of seats (ahem, Phillies). The field isn’t boringly uniform like Rogers Centre and has a just a subtle assymetry in center field. The home plate camera angle should be called Bob Uecker Cam, however. Even cozy Fenway has a camera bay far below the announcers’ booth. When you can’t distinguish Dustin Pedroia from Adam Dunn you know your camera is too far from the field.This franchise missed out on a tremendous opportunity to pay homage to the renowned Negro League teams that called the district their home. Washington D.C. had Black Senators (long before there were actual African American senators in the post-Reconstruction Congress), Elite Giants, Pilots, Potomacs, and, most importantly, the Homestead Grays.I guess marketing “gray” is difficult for your modern advertising executive.There are three statues...

Ame [雨]

Game 62: June 13, 2009 Red Sox11W: Hideki Okajima (3-0)38-24, 5 game winning streak Phillies6L: Antonio Bastardo (2-1)35-25, 2 game losing streak Highlights: I’m going to give Daisuke Matsuzaka a mulligan for his performance last night. He was dealing in the first inning but his momentum was stalled by a 1:35 rain delay. Ame, the Japanese word for rain, is pronounced ah-may, like the first two syllables of the word “amazing.” David Ortiz had the day off and sat in the dugout with his umbrella [amagasa, 雨傘]. The Red Sox jumped to a five-run lead in the first inning. Three errors by the Phillies extended the inning. Carlos Ruiz started the circus when he airmailed his throw into center when trying to catch Jacoby Ellsbury, allowing Boston’s center fielder to not only steal second but advance to third. In the second ring of the circus we have Antonio Bastardo’s pickoff toss to Ryan Howard, who not only missed the catch but tarried long enough for Ellsbury to score and Kevin Youkilis to take third.After Jason Bay launched a homer (his 17th of the season), Mike Lowell doubled and Rocco Baldelli walked. Shane Victorino uncharacteristically missed a line drive; the bounding...

Walk

Game 54: June 4, 2009 Red Sox6W: Tim Wakefield (7-3)H: Justin Masterson (2)H: Hideki Okajima (9)S: Jonathan Papelbon (14)32-22, 4 game winning streak Tigers3L: Dontrelle Willis (1-3)28-24, 3 game losing streak Highlights: Jim Leyland told the Red Sox radio team about how Ted Williams tried to give him hitting advice: “Just look for the little red dot as the ball comes in.” It’s just that simple. Maybe that is why David Ortiz is going to get his eyes checked. Behind every big inning is a beleaguered pitcher, none moreso than Dontrelle Willis. His impressive debut season in 2003 and his breakout performance in 2005 seem a lifetime ago.Back then his riotous delivery flummoxed batters and caught the imagination of most baseball fans. Aficionados of this sport love quirky, and Willis’s unorthodox approach epitomized odd.But when one’s genius is driven by one’s unconventionality, there aren’t many people to turn to get advice. Would James Joyce go to your AP English teacher for writing tips? Or Jonas Salk to the local CVS pharmacist for a consult? So Willis flounders in a purgatory from which only he may free himself.Willis did not allow a hit in today’s game but started the third by...

Bōtō [暴投]

Game 47: May 27, 2009 Red Sox2L: Daiske Matsuzaka (0-3)27-20, 2 game losing streak Twins4W: Kevin Slowey (7-1)H: Jose Mijares (5)H: Matt Guerrier (7)S: Joe Nathan (8)23-24, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Hits and wild pitches are like bananas: they come in bunches. Matsuzaka uncorked four errant missiles over the course of his five innings of work. Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson both had wild pitches of their own. George Kottaras should have just used a first baseman’s mitt like he does when catching Tim Wakefield. Bōtō means “wild pitch” in Japanese. The first character has the following meanings depending on context: outburst, rave, fret, force, violence, cruelty. (Sounds like Carlos Zambrano to me.) The second symbol: throw, discard, abandon, launch into, hurl. (Zambrano again!) One hundred-two pitches over five innings isn’t going to cut it for a starting pitcher making $8M this season and who was thought to have at least number two slot stuff. He didn’t have a horrible outing last night: 9 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, and 6 strikeouts. With a touch more run support we would be talking about Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first step to recovering his former success.The only Red Sox runs came in...

Swept

Game 41: May 21, 2009 Blue Jays1L: Robert Ray (1-2)27-17, 3 game losing streak Red Sox5W: Jon Lester (3-4)25-16, 3 game winning streak Highlights: Lester turned in his first quality start since his May 4 outing against the Yankees. Blue Jays batters mustered eight hits against him, but the only extra base hit came off the bat of Vernon Wells in the third. In the first inning Lester let one fly when Alex Rios called time out. Dennis Eckersley said that pitchers are coached to do so but that it’s hard for them to do so because they are so focused on pounding the zone. Speaking of pounding, Jason Bay has been a behemoth at the plate. The left fielder powered an opposite field homer off the top of the Red Sox bullpen’s wall with Kevin Youkilis on first. The two-run shot added to David Ortiz’s RBI ground out that plated Jacoby Ellsbury. Ortiz was the first guy in the dugout to high five Bay. It’s nice to see Papi smile again.So much for the beasts of the east Toronto Blue Jays. A couple of series before squaring off against the Red Sox Toronto played against the Yankees and lost...

Regain

Game 37: May 16, 2009 Red Sox5W: Josh Beckett (4-2)H: Hideki Okajima (6)H: Ramon Ramirez (6)S: Jonathan Papelbon (10)22-15, 1 game winning streak Mariners3L: Garrett Olson (0-1)17-20, 1 game losing streak Highlights: Jon Lester gave a Tim Tebow-like speech after his series-opening loss Friday night. “I can promise you that there hasn’t been a pitcher who has worked harder than I have from the beginning of the season, and there won’t be a pitcher for the remainder of the season who will work as hard as I will to get back to where I’ve been in the past.” And like Tebow, Lester inspired the men around him. Beckett had his first seven-inning outing since Opening Day. Josh Beckett struck out only five and walked three batters, but it was an encouraging outing from a rotation that has taken its lumps. The only earned runs Beckett relinquished came on a home run to Yuniesky Betancourt with a man on base in the second inning. Hitting two-run bombs was the trendy thing to do yesterday evening — Jason Bay did it in the first and Jason Varitek did the same in the second.The Mariners’ only other run came as a result of...

Shakeup

Game 36: May 15, 2009 Red Sox4L: Jon Lester (2-4)21-15, 3 game losing streak Mariners5W: Chris Jakubauskas (2-4)H: Sean White (1)H: Mark Lowe (2)S: David Aardsma (4)17-19, 1 game winning streak Highlights: Ichiro Suzuki hit two home runs off Lester. J.D. Drew cottoned to batting third, going 3-for-5 with an RBI single in the first, a leadoff double that sparked the scoring in the third, and a two-out single in the ninth. Jason Bay batted clean-up and was a foot short of giving his team the lead in the top of the ninth. The Joy of Sox pointed out that Boston has scored four runs in the last five consecutive games, tying their team record. From what I have been able to uncover, “Jakubauskas” is a Lithuanian name. Linguists believe that Lithuanian is the oldest surviving Indo-European language. It has remained remarkably constant throughout for at least the past 5,000 years. In fact, it still retains the same vocabulary as Sanskrit.All the words in Dustin Pedroia’s vocabulary are devoted to smack talk, even when speaking to children. The pre-game show featured a segment with the second baseman playing a baseball video game against a kid whose surname was Cashman. Fitting,...

Threesome

Game 32: May 10, 2009 Rays3L: Brian Shouse (1-1)15-18, 1 game losing streak Red Sox4W: Ramon Ramirez (3-0)S: Jonathan Papelbon (8)20-12, 1 game winning streak Highlights: What a white-knuckle ending to a tense game. It was bad enough living through the Celtics’ nailbiter, but Papelbon added some Glen Davis-sized drama to the ninth inning by walking Akinori Iwamura and letting Jason Bartlett single into center field. Can’t Papelbon have a clean inning like Hideki Okajima or Ramon Ramirez did? These relievers along with Manny Delcarmen form one of the best bullpens this season; they are currently fourth in the league behind the Athletics, Mets, and Royals with an ERA of 3.29. Jonathan Papelbon might be the next pitcher to get shown up by a batter. When Aubrey Huff homered off Joba Chamberlain yesterday the hitter made sure to demonstratively fist pump after passing first and again at home plate. In this link, Chamberlain’s lawyer (who also represents his mother in her upcoming criminal trial for distribution of a controlled substance) defends his client’s actions... oh wait, that’s Joba himself. You can try and take the white trash out of the boy but then again you can’t. Not when he plays...

Worrisome

Game 31: May 9, 2009 Rays14W: Scott Kazmir (4-3)S: Lance Cormier (1)15-17, 1 game winning streak Red Sox5L: Jon Lester (2-3)19-12, 1 game losing streak Highlights: This was the last you’ll see of Javier Lopez for a while. He was designated for assignment to make room for Daniel Bard. Unfortunately, that won’t be the last of Evan Longoria. The slugger will undoubtedly be afflicting Red Sox pitchers for the indefinite future. Carlton Fisk visited Dick Stockton and Tim McCarver in the fifth. In a circuitous way the Hall of Famer advocated knocking Evan Longoria down. The corner infielder was just too comfortable in the box and someone had to take control of the situation, he said, and make him a bit less comfortable. Apparently no one in the Red Sox video room had the volume up as Longoria proceeded to have a 2-for-4 showing with a four-bagger and 5 RBIs.Perhaps a pitcher like Daniel Bard will be the antidote to the scourge of Longoria. Bard was selected by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft. His development was held back because he didn’t sign right away and therefore had no professional innings in 2006. In...

Seven

Game 30: May 8, 2009 Rays3L: James Shields (3-3)14-17, 1 game losing streak Red Sox7W: Brad Penny (3-1)H: Hideki Okajima (5)H: Ramon Ramirez (5)19-11, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Seven runs scored, seven etched on the field, seven in heaven. For the second game in a row the Red Sox defeated a pitcher with the initials “J.S.” Like Jeremy Sowers before him, James Shields cruised for most of the game until sixth inning.I wish MLB weren’t so protective of its copyright on YouTube. I could watch Shields’s reaction to Jason Bay’s game-tying home run off the stanchion a million times over. Shields let fly a cookie (in Dennis Eckersley’s parlance) and even before Bay followed through with his swing the pitcher knew he lost his lead. He swiped at the mound with his pitching hand causing an eruption of dirt.The fireworks weren’t over with Bay’s blast to left. J.D. Drew launched a two-run shot to right with Mike Lowell on second. This time Shields’s response was quite so violent: he jerked up his head to watch the ball’s lofty trajectory take his chance for a win into the visitors’ pen.Lowell was fortunate to be on second in this inning; Carl...


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