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Essential Empy

Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Ellsbury”

Ellsbury Doughboy

Jacoby Ellsbury looked as if he worth every penny of his $153,000,000 contract last night. The center fielder went 2-for-5 with two runs batted in. He also robbed Grady Sizemore of an extra base hit in for the first out of the game. In his first at bat he got a mixed reception, but after a video tribute there were mostly cheers and Ellsbury tipped his cap. Some fans haven’t forgiven Ellsbury, however, and expressed their displeasure with signs. Jon Lester had his worst outing of the season so far: 4⅔ innings, 8 runs (only 3 earned, so there’s that), 4 walks, and 7 strikeouts. That’s a lot of strikeouts for that number of innings, but the 11 hits allowed showed that he was around the plate too much. He seemed to be squeezed by Quinn Wolcott’s strike zone. Although David Ortiz and Mike Napoli clouted back-to-back home runs in the fourth the lineup just didn’t string together hits. Fortunately this cold streak isn’t contagious to a fellow Boston team that has commenced a playoff run. The Bruins defeated the Red Wings 3-0 and took a 2-1 lead in the series. This Bruins fan was trying to snatch a souvenir...

From Worst to First

It has finally sunk in. This team has proven it can succeed and has done so in a spectacular fashion. Last season their record was 69-93 and now they have bettered that ratio to 97-65. They fell a bit short of their Pythagorean winning percentage of 100-62 but still hold the best record in the American League. I don’t want to put down in stark black and white what I hope for from this team in the playoffs. I bought a locker room hat and hope to add more to my collection. Ryan Dempster lost his place in the rotation but found a new job as the lineup announcer. He should stick to repairing telephones. Jacoby Ellsbury contributed immediately with a leadoff homer in the first inning. His time out of the lineup hasn’t thrown off his timing and hopefully the break between this final game and the American League Division Series will enable rest and not engender rust. Allen Webster started in place of John Lackey when the Red Sox found themselves in the catbird seat with Oakland’s loss to the Mariners on Saturday. The rookie battled through a tough first frame where he walked three batters but escaped...

Rock This Town

The Red Sox pummeled the Rockies with a 15-run barrage spearheaded by Will Middlebrooks. Boston’s third baseman clouted two home runs; a three-run shot in the fifth and a grand slam in the eighth. Middlebrooks’s four-baggers added to the lead that Shane Victorino established in the fourth with a three-run homer of his own. Victorino must have felt he should make the most of his at bat as Jake Peavy smacked a one-out double to center. “Another example of pitchers being great athletes,” quipped Mike Timlin. Timlin also got a kick out of Peavy’s Willie Mays Hayes gloves. Jacoby Ellsbury played for the first time since September 5th, and if he has been letting his beard grow since then he has about five years to go before can hold a candle to Mike Napoli’s shrubbery. Ellsbury went 1-for-2 and he followed Peavy’s double with a base on balls. In his last home game Todd Helton went 2-for-3 with a solo home run. The Colorado Rockies gave him an American Paint horse named A Tru Bustamove as a retirement gift. Young MC approves of the name. Not only did the Red Sox do their level best to maintain the best record...

Wild Pitch Win

Daniel Nava was the recipient of a throw behind in the first inning. The tactic seemed to have worked as Nava had an 0-for-5 showing with four left on base. Hiroki Kuroda was smart to have taken Nava out of the game. As the Heat Zone shows, Nava is a good bad pitch hitter. I don’t recall if Dennis Eckersley has a slang term for that type of batter, but Don Orsillo’s partner for the game Dan Petry didn’t. Mariano Rivera marveled at how the short porch helped Will Middlebrooks tie the game in the ninth. The circuit clout helped Middlebrooks earn co-player of the week for the American League. He shared the honor with Mike Napoli. Brandon Workman was pressed into service in the ninth with the score 3-3. It was a great way to pressure test the rookie, and he came up wanting. After striking out Brett Gardner he allowed Ichiro Suzuki to single. Suzuki swiped second and then advanced to third on Vernon Wells’s fly ball out to right. Workman airmailed his first pitch to Alfonso Soriano and the newly-returned Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t stop the ball from reaching the backstop. It goes down in the “W” column...

The Improbable Dream

Jake Peavy had a mishap pursuing Brett Gardner’s bunted ball in the third. He probably should have let Ryan Lavarnway try to field it, but Peavy is the kind of player that wants to contribute as much as possible. Because of this spirit John Farrell tends to leave Peavy in situations that usually would have him gesturing to the bullpen. Farrell stuck with Peavy in the seventh and didn’t call on a reliever until the starter had allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base. Perhaps Farrell was trying to rest his taxed bullpen. Junichi Tazawa had done so well in his set-up role and there were so many injuries that he was one of Farrell’s favorites. But last night he and Matt Thornton allowed all their inherited runners to score. Peavy was erased from the decision when the Yankees took the lead, 8-7. It was a comeback so detestable that even replaying Alex Rodriguez’s stumble on his fourth-inning double didn’t inspire a smile. Unlike Tazawa, David Robertson pitched a perfect frame in the eighth. Mariano Rivera was one out away from adding another treasured memory to Mariano Rivera’s retirement tour scrapbook in the ninth. He dispatched David...

Donuts to Dollars

When he was first called up Kevin Gausman was greeted with a locker full of powdered donuts. At Louisiana State University Gausman was known for eating donuts between innings. Gausman will have to lug his treats to Norfolk as he was optioned after this 13-inning affair. The Red Sox played well enough in all aspects of the game to win. Dustin Pedroia perhaps somewhat overstepped his defensive responsibilities by chasing down Matt Wieters’s pop-up in foul territory. But that is better than letting the ball drop for a double by assuming it’s foul. Will Middlebrooks notched a nifty double due to the Orioles’ defensive indecisiveness. Jacoby Ellsbury benefitted from catcher’s interference in the tenth. With Wieters’s 6'5" frame it isn’t surprising that his arms find their way into the path of the batter’s swing. Frustratingly the Red Sox dropped the opening game against a divisional opponent in extra innings. Like the Bruins-Blackhawks, the Boston-Baltimore baseball teams echoes each other’s strengths and spirit. Extra innings and overtime periods for everyone! Game 68: June 13, 2013 ∙ 13 innings Boston Red Sox41-27 4 L: Alex Wilson (1-1) 2B: Mike Napoli (21), Will Middlebrooks (13)HR: David Ortiz (14), Mike Carp (7) Baltimore Orioles38-29...

Prerogative to Have a Little Fun

Jealous of the green monsters at Fenway the Phillies trotted out two of their own emerald entities. Lou Ferrigno, who is 61 years old, still flaunts a physique outshining men half his age. As always the Phanatic was part of the shenanigans. The boisterous beryl beast was outshone by David Ross, who does a mean lip sync of Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.” His prerogative is to have a little fun, oh oh oh oh. The interleague triad of Stephen Drew, Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz combined for a double play to end the fourth. Erik Kratz knocked the ball towards Drew, who quickly flipped to Pedroia. Pedroia avoided the oncoming rush of Kevin Frandsen to relay to Ortiz. The slugger impressively stretched to complete the play. In the eighth inning Jacoby Ellsbury broke the franchise record for most stolen bases in a game. He swiped second off Michael Stutes, who will have the honor of being the answer to a trivia question. Ellsbury proceeded to third base when Kratz (who will be bonus points in said trivia contest) threw the ball away into center. The record came at the cost of a tight groin, however, and...

Sunday Surge

If we want to score four runs in the bottom of the ninth to wage a stunning comeback, these steps must be followed precisely. Jerry Remy must spill coffee on his scorecard. While cleaning it off he has to say, “I’ll be okay as long as we don’t go into extra innings.” The statement would turn out to be prophetic. Next be sure to find an adorable little girl with a charming sign announcing that it is her first game. She didn’t ask for hot dogs, however, she asked for something far more rare: a hug from the sometimes irascible Jerry Remy. The girl got her wish. Another essential ingredient for a late-inning comeback? A former ballplayer of both teams sitting up on the Green Monster. Christopher Trotman Nixon took in the game 37 feet above the field. If the game is on a Sunday, the opposing manager has to come out and argue a close play at second at the seventh inning stretch. He should pause for the playing of “God Bless America,” of course. On any other day with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” being performed the skipper can proceed with the discussion until ejection. Or you...

Thursday Troubles

Both the Red Sox and the Bruins lost on Thursday. The Bruins could have put away the Rangers in the fourth game of their season but a tumble by Tuuka Rask and behind-the-net carelessness by Zdeno Chara forced the series to Game 5. In the third inning Jacoby Ellsbury was tagged out at home on Dustin Pedroia’s single to center. David Ortiz clouted a three-run homer right after the play at the plate and brought the Red Sox to within a run of the visitors. That was the closest Boston would come to Terry Francona’s club, however. Francona’s former organization presented a video tribute prior to the game. His team returned the favor by trouncing the Red Sox. It was odd to see Francona in the third base dugout. I wonder if he misses the special bench on the first base side. I miss Francona less than I did last year, but it was a bit sad to see him on the opposing side. But in Farrell we trust… for now. Game 48: May 23, 2013 Cleveland Indians27-19 12 W: Zach McAllister (4-3)S: Scott Barnes (1) 2B: Drew Stubbs – 2 (11), Michael Bourn (6), Yan Gomes (3)3B: Stubbs (1)...


So what if it was a win as hollow as home plate umpire’s Chad Fairchild’s head? The Red Sox, who are soon to be playoff race bystanders, can throw banana peels into the paths of the AL East brethren from now until the heat has to be turned on (unless you did so already, in which case turn in your hardy New Englander card). The Yankees started off as most teams do against Boston with an early run. Instead of his traditional duck fart single Derek Jeter walked. He then advanced to third on Nick Swisher’s double off the wall and scored on Robinson Cano’s ground out. Pedro Ciriaco carried on the grand tradition of Bill Mueller, Yankee Kueller in the third with a leadoff double. Jacoby Ellsbury singled in Ciriaco and was in turn driven in by Dustin Pedroia. The 2-1 lead lasted until the sixth, when Jon Lester began to falter. Amazingly Lester’s patience with Fairchild lasted this late; Brooks Baseball shows how Lester wasn’t getting the low strike call. Pedroia tied the game in the sixth with a solo shot into the first row of the Monster seats. Baseball play went from the sublime to the ridiculous...

The Trouble with Doubles

The Red Sox overcame their recent wretched performance against the worst team in the AL Central and defeated the best team in the AL West. For reals, stop staring at me as if I were crazy. Seriously, Boston totally demolished the Rangers. Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia, and Adrian Gonzalez hit a combined eight doubles, with seven of them coming off rookie sensation Yu Darvish. Fine, don’t believe me. I guess you won’t believe that Aaron Cook kept one of the most potent offenses in the majors to a single run and struck out Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli while doing so. Game 110: August 6, 2012 Texas Rangers63-45 2 L: Yu Darvish (11-8)2B: Michael Young (18), Nelson Cruz – 2 (29)HR: Adrian Beltre (19) Boston Red Sox55-55 9 W: Aaron Cook (3-5) 2B: Dustin Pedroia – 3 (22), Jacoby Ellsbury – 2 (10), Carl Crawford – 2 (4), Adrian Gonzalez (30)...

Couldn’t Pitch

Jacoby Ellsbury made a stunning snare of Josh Willingham’s fly ball to center to end the first. The center fielder got a good jump and ran the correct route to intercept the ball on the run and avoid a slide into the bullpen wall, a feat he recently survived. Brian Duensing faltered in the home half of the third and the Red Sox scored on three consecutive singles to tie the game 1-1. Justin Morneau dropped Carl Crawford’s foul pop-up with two down and two out. Crawford took the very next pitch into the Red Sox bullpen, a shot that seemed to break the game open. But Felix Doubront quavered in the fifth. He walked two batters, allowed three singles, and the Twins tied the game 5-5. The Red Sox squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the eighth and the game limped into extra innings. Rookie Darin Mastroianni led off the tenth with a double that dropped with Ellsbury and Cody Ross both attempting to run down the ball. Brian Dozier amusingly popped out to Will Middlebrooks on a bunt attempt but Jamey Carroll lined the ball over Dustin Pedroia’s glove and plated Mastroianni. Game 107: August 3, 2012 ∙ 10...

Aaron’s Cookies

These fans’ bucket list went unfinished as the Red Sox dropped the last game of this series to the Tigers. Aaron Cook was hit hard by Detroit’s batters in the fifth, with sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder capping off the five-run onslaught with consecutive circuit clouts. Fielder demonstrated full recovery from getting hit with a pickoff in the fourth inning. He had writhed about as if mortally wounded but his dramatic gyrations were more soccer than serious. NESN is looking for a producer for a day in a rather interesting contest. The winner may score “any of the following unique NESN experiences: one inning in the NESN broadcast booth with Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy; one inning in the 3rd base photographer’s well with Jenny Dell; one inning with a NESN cameraman; one inning in the NESN broadcast truck; and other ballpark experiences as determined by NESN.” But can they pick songs with Peter Grenier? It was a disappointing end to an otherwise winning series, but at least Jacoby Ellsbury (1-for-4 with a double and a walk) and Carl Crawford (1-for-5 with a home run) are starting to show power at the top of the lineup. Ellsbury made a...

Divisional Debacle

I’m the opposite of an oracle, akin to Theresa Caputo, the Long Island medium. This show was renewed by The Learning Channel, which makes me think they should rethink their brand. George Orwell said, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” I’m afraid it’s worse – reality television. I had thought that the walk-off win against the White Sox was a harbinger of a bright future. Instead the Red Sox were swept by their divisional rival to the north. So here are distracting pictures from events ancillary to the game that you will enjoy more than any description of the actual events, except for the home runs by Adrian Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury. Gonzalez’s idol Ted Williams was commemorated in a stamp that was released to coincide with Induction Weekend at Cooperstown. Wally joined by a pair of wee Red Sox fans as well as the Wareham Gateman mascot, who is named “no one told me that this baseball internship entailed wearing a mascot uniform that hasn’t been cleaned in 3 years in 84 degree heat.” Game 96: July 22, 2012 Toronto Blue Jays48-47 15 W: Henderson Alvarez (6-7)...

Help Us, Jacoby-Wan, You’re Our Only Hope

The Red Sox broke with recent history and leaped to an early lead. David Ortiz slammed a solo shot into the left field stands and then tossed his bat farther than a Nick Punto batted ball. I expected retaliation in this game against the designated hitter, but I’m sure David Price or James Shields or both will buzz Papi sometime in the next two games. It made me think of those tense games with the Devil Rays when Pedro Martinez pitching. If you miss Martinez, you can order a personalized “egraph” from him. Amazingly enough an egraph from Martinez is the same dollars as Price and Shields, which is rather like allowing the same rate per pound as Prime and Choice beef. A Pedro almost as electrifying as Martinez continued to turn heads. Pedro Ciriaco went 3-for-3 with two runs batted in and a stolen base. You know you’ve made it when your difficult-to-pronounce name is correctly enunciated by Jerry Remy. Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the field but didn’t look quite ready for prime time yet. He was 1-for-5 with two strikeouts. He didn’t even have the best play in the outfield last night, either. That honor goes to Ryan...


I knew if I waited long enough to recap the last game of the first half of the season yet another clubhouse drama would emerge. Gordon Edes came out with a dirty laundry list today, with most of the items . Some of the highlights: [Gary] Tuck keeps his communication with Valentine to a minimum. He is known to walk past the manager without so much as a hello. David Ortiz publicly stated his support recently for the manager, but another respected player on the team said privately that it was all for show. That same player has gone weeks without speaking to Valentine and said that the manager does not have the support of “anyone” in the clubhouse. That is likely an exaggeration -- another veteran told a friend he has come around on the manager after initially being shocked at his hire -- but Valentine told associates that he knows he is being bad-mouthed in the clubhouse and is at a loss to understand why. Valentine went out to the mound in Chicago for a visit with his pitcher, and all the infielders joined him for the conference except star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who remained at his...

Go and Catch a Falling Star

Go and catch a falling star, Get with child a mandrake root, Tell me where all past years are, Or who cleft the Devil's foot; Teach me to hear mermaids singing, Or to keep off envy’s stinging, And find What wind Serves to advance an honest mind. — Song by John Donne I quote Donne because it feels like the Red Sox are done. Been there, done that. Well, not exactly that. Because baseball is the sort of game you can see something new every game. Consequently, a team that was playoff-bound can lose in novel and excruciating ways every time they take the field. For example, an MVP-caliber player could chase down a well-struck ball to deep center field and snag it perfectly with two men on and two down. That same player, who just 24 hours before had hallelujahs and hosannas praising his name, could hit the center field fence with such force that the ball dropped to the ground. That dropped ball could be recovered and relayed back to home plate but then missed by a catcher, precipitating an three-run inside-the-park home run. What a crazy way to lose the lead that would be. Game 160: September...

Jacobean Era

It’s Jacoby Ellsbury’s world; we just live in it. A few hours after becoming the first Red Sox 30/30 man Ellsbury was one of the few offensive forces on either team in the 14-inning long game. Not only is the season a marathon but these last few games determining the American League wild card have proven prolix contests of endurance. Terry Francona had to call upon J.D. Drew, who had not seen action since July 19. The curious call paid off when Drew singled in Jed Lowrie in the fifth for the visitors’ first score of the game. Francona’s decision to pinch run Lars Anderson for Adrian Gonzalez in the ninth, leaving his team without one of its best hitters for five innings, didn’t turn out as well. Anderson went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a stranded runner. For 22 outs the Red Sox relievers held the Yankees scoreless. Granted, the lineup was more Scranton/Wilkes-Barre than Bronx, but Daniel Bard, Jonathan Papelbon, Franklin Morales, and Felix Doubront still kept a mix of all-stars and young players hungry to prove themselves at bay in hostile territory. I was surprised to see Scott Proctor make an appearance because Joe Torre had no...


Jacoby Ellsbury became the first Red Sox player to have 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a season, joining 36 others in an elite list that includes all-time greats like Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Barry Larkin, and Willie Mays. The list also has surprises such as Dante Bichette, Sammy Sosa, and Larry Walker. In the past few seasons there have been a smattering of players achieving the feat: Hanley Ramirez, Grady Sizemore, and Ian Kinsler. Ellsbury joined National League outfielders Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun this season. In this new wave of power/speed stars, who will go the way of the Hall of Famers and who will fade away? Such a question is a more comforting conjecture to turn in the mind when your favorite team’s playoff hopes wane along with the length of the day. Game 158: September 25, 2011 Boston Red Sox88-70 2 L: Tim Wakefield (7-9)2B: Marco Scutaro (23)HR: Jacoby Ellsbury – 2 (30) New York Yankees97-61 6 W: A.J. Burnett (11-11)2B: Derek Jeter (24)HR: Jorge Posada (14)...

Straight Pimping

The Magic Snuggie didn’t work. That narrows it down to Red Sox Pimp Dude and his crimson-wigged companion. “I thought it was real,” Don Orsillo said of the scarlet postiche. This from the man who thought a solar eclipse meant the sun positioned itself between the earth and the moon. In a night of offensive brilliance Conor Jackson had a particularly notable evening. He capped off the seventh inning with a grand slam into the second row of the Monster seats. He also had a stunning circus catch in the top of the fourth inning. Jackson dashed from his spot in left in front of the scoreboard all the way to the warning track to make a diving grab of Nick Markakis’s fly ball for the second out of the inning. In my mind John Lackey’s response wasn’t gratitude but rather, “Nice catch now, but why didn’t you come up with it when you dove into the stands in the first inning?” In reality Lackey’s response was to load the bases and allow two runs to score, bringing the Orioles within a run. The Red Sox responded with five runs in the bottom frame of the fourth but Lackey couldn’t...


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