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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Breslow”

Close Shave

Jake Peavy had a “W” shaved into the back of his head. He went 6 innings with a line of 7 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. He was the pitcher of record when Jonny Gomes hustled down the first base line to avoid a double play, plated Dustin Pedroia, and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Craig Breslow toed the rubber in the seventh frame. Asdrubal Cabrera led off the inning with a sharp grounder to Jonathan Herrera. The shortstop’s throw was in time but it popped out of Mike Napoli’s glove. Mike Brantley followed with a single to right, where Brock Holt made yet another positional debut. Cabrera alertly dashed to third base on the hit. Jason Kipnis knocked the ball to Pedroia who went home instead of to first. The ball was there in time but A.J. Pierzynski didn’t catch it. Breslow got Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Swisher out but then walked David Murphy. Junichi Tazawa took over but then surrendered a base on balls to Carlos Santana to force in the go-ahead run. It’s another loss where the Red Sox have to take a good look at themselves in the mirror. What...

Skull and Boneheads

The presence of 2004 champions Jason Varitek, Keith Foulke, Kevin Millar, Mike Timlin, Trot Nixon, Derek Lowe, and Pedro Martinez seemed to inspire the local nine. As David Ortiz’s go-ahead two-run home run receded into that good night Fenway cheered in raucous exultation. The sixth-inning circuit clout put Ortiz ahead of Babe Ruth in postseason homers and tied the designated hitter with Carlos Beltran. The only active player from the 2004 Red Sox reminded the fans of the past and created new memories. Your browser does not support iframes. John Farrell pulled John Lackey in the next inning. The starter dispensed of Allen Craig in three pitches but then allowed a base on balls to David Freese and a frozen rope single off the bat of John Jay. The Red Sox skipper called on Craig Breslow to get out of the inning cleanly, but the southpaw reliever seemed unable to locate his pitches in the evening’s chill. Jarrod Saltalamacchia didn’t help by failing to get any runners out on a double steal. Breslow walked the nine-hole hitter Daniel Descalso to load the bases. Matt Carpenter floated a can of corn to Jonny Gomes. Gomes’s throw was up the line and...

Scorer’s Discretion

Twins official scorer Stew Thornley granted Craig Breslow the win in this blowout. Usually the pitcher who assumes the mound after the starter gets the win, but Clayton Mortensen’s two-thirds of an inning with two hits and a walk wasn’t as effective as Breslow’s 1⅔ innings with one hit and a base on balls. Thus Thornley was able to use his discretion and did so wisely. This judgment seems fairer than Alex Wilson’s two-pitch win from Friday’s game. Andrew Miller had preceded Wilson with 1⅔ innings of perfect pitching with three strikeouts. But that ruling had to do with when the Red Sox scored and the pitcher of record definition and cannot be attributed to the scorer’s decision. Thornley shares the official scorer responsibility with Gregg Wong. Wong taught Twins blogger Tracy Perlman how to keep score. It’s a hobby for some, like me, but as the guardian of the statistics that the MLB compiles it is essential to the history of the sport. Last year Thornley, Wong, and the official scorer for the Nationals, David Vincent, were in a SABR panel moderated by Kevin Hennessy. This game lasted almost four hours, as long as the typical Red Sox-Yankees tilt....

Boola Boola

In the bottom of the eighth Bobby Valentine summoned Craig Breslow to face Robinson Cano with one out and Nick Swisher leering at first base. Ryan Lavarnway, a Yale graduate like Breslow, was behind home throwing down signs for the southpaw, making them the first Bulldog battery since 1883. On September 15, 1883, Jack Jones pitched to Al Hubbard for the Philadelphia Athletics. Cano grounded into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning. For a while it seemed that long since Jon Lester tallied a win as he was without a victory in July. But August has been kind to Lester: his two starts thus far have been quality starts and wins. Perhaps he took inspiration from Pedro Ciriaco, who seems made to play against the Yankees. The infielder went 4-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, not to mention the part he played in the double play that erased Swisher and Cano. Not only was this an unusual game in that the Red Sox beat the Yankees but I found myself agreeing with Tim McCarver twice. He stated that he thought Stephen Strasburg shouldn’t be shut down and that Melky Cabrera shouldn’t be eligible for the...

Mauer Mauling

Despite his questionable decisions Bobby Valentine exclaimed to the Comcast SportsNet camera, “It’s not true, I’m not trying to get fired, folks! It’s not true! It’s all made up by him!” By “him” Valentine meant Dan Shaughnessy. Even a relatively new manager is aware of Shaughnessy’s reputation. Valentine had the smarts and the guts to bring in Alfredo Aceves with the bases loaded and none out in the eighth with the score 2-1. Justin Morneau, the first batter Aceves faced, laced the ball to right for a sacrifice fly to tie the game. But the closer battled back to get two outs without further damage. That Pedro Ciriaco hit his first major league home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth as a pinch hitter was more luck than managerial acumen. Ciriaco didn’t get the silent treatment; in fact, the Fenway crowd called him out of the dugout for a curtain call. The Red Sox tacked on another run with Cody Ross’s grounder to right, which plated Dustin Pedroia. Where Valentine could be faulted is not pulling Aceves when the Twins started smacking the ball around the ninth. Alexi Casilla doubled with one out and scored on Jamey...

Lunacy

Dustin Pedroia went “La Luna” last night, contributing to another win that kept the barest embers flickering with hope for a playoff berth. With the moon waxing and the Red Sox leading Don and Jerry were in a whacky mood. Jerry fielded questions from Twitter and a viewer asked who picked the bump music this season. Kudos go to lead sound engineer Peter Grenier of the NESN crew. He has peppered the broadcast with Radiohead and U2. He even gave an interview last year to the New England Baseball Journal. Joining the lunatics was Ryan Sweeney. After grounding out to Omar Infante in the eighth the outfielder punched a door in anger and broke a bone in his left pinkie finger and will be out for the rest of the season. His teammates won’t have to learn his replacement’s name – Ryan Kalish was summoned to take Sweeney’s spot. Unlike the Dodgers, Giants, Pirates, Rangers, and Reds the Red Sox didn’t make a big splash at the non-waiver trading deadline. Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik were sent to Arizona in exchange for southpaw reliever Craig Breslow; I guess Ben Cherington misses hanging out with Yale men. I was excited about...

Pitcher, Heal Thyself

This is the third in a series summarizing the presentations from the Martin Luther King, Jr. SABR gathering. The next column will feature Red Sox executive Dick Bresciani. Craig Breslow “You will never be able to turn on a TV to see a game without thinking that could have been you.” When you’re in a room full of self-avowed fans who revel in the lore and formulae of a sport, those who are actual professional athletes tend to stand out. Not athletes like Craig Breslow. Breslow, a 26-year old left-handed pitcher, was of a modest stature and demeanor despite his accomplishments. He was given the advice to speak of that which he knows best, and he figured “the one thing about which I am an expert in is myself.” His undergraduate degree from Yale in molecular biophysics and biochemistry beg to differ, however. While at Yale the lefty played for the four losingest seasons in the esteemed university’s history. Despite the squad’s record, however, Breslow performed well enough was drafted in the 26th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002. So, the youth who had gone to college and happened to play baseball instead of playing baseball while happening to...


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