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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Lackey (John)”

Onward Christian Catcher

Rookie catcher Christian Vazquez clouted two doubles, just eight fewer than A.J. Pierzynski did this season. He drove in three runs and scored twice. He did so well that he found himself receiving Edward Mujica in the ninth inning, something that only happens when Boston has a big league or John Farrell has exhausted any other options. Your browser does not support iframes. The freckle-faced youth listed his home country Puerto Rico as his favorite place to have a vacation. (Everyone say, “Awww…!”) He hails from Bayamon, which is where Yadier and Jose Molina were born (eldest brother Bengie was born in Rio Piedras). Catching excellence isn’t transmitted by proximity, but if Vazquez continues on the trajectory he set for himself in this game he will be a solid contributor. Perhaps the Red Sox have produced a long-term backstop, one of the more elusive positions to cultivate. Brock Holt’s family was louder than the Astros crowd. It is clever how they don’t mention how they had found the infant Holt in an alien rocket. The Holts had a lot to cheer for as the leadoff hitter went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a run batted in, and a base on...

Cruz Control

It’s Nelson Cruz’s world, we just live in it. The slugging left fielder went 5-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. He tried for a triple in the eighth inning to complete the cycle but was hosed at third by the combination of Daniel Nava and Stephen Drew. John Lackey had a subpar outing: 5⅓ innings, 10 hits, 5 earned runs, a walk, and 11 strikeouts. Clearly Lackey didn’t have his best stuff, but that didn’t stop him from throwing shade at Cruz. “I’m not even going to comment on him. I’ve got nothing to say about him,” he said. “There are things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.” Cruz’s 50-game suspension resulting from his involvement in Biogenesis did not taint him in voters’ eyes; the outfielder was voted to his third All-Star game. Your browser does not support iframes. Speaking of subpar, Harold Reynolds was practically giddy with each hit by the Orioles. And since they had 16 hits, there was a lot of giggling interspersed with what I assume was supposed to be in-game analysis. Sad to say that the Fire Harold Reynolds blog isn’t as active...


I think the Twins and Red Sox batters are solar-powered with a 10-inning charging cycle. They may be able to spray a few doubles here and there before being fully energized as displayed by Daniel Nava’s ground-rule double in the fifth, but it wasn’t until extra innings that any runs scored. The Red Sox pitching and defense kept their team in the game. John Lackey pitched nine innings with a sparkling line: 3 hits, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts. For just the second time this season Koji Uehara surrendered a home run. Danny Santana’s bunt attempt was foiled by Dustin Pedroia’s quick glove and flip in the sixth inning. Pedroia was on the receiving end of Nava’s eighth inning assist that erased Eduardo Escobar from the basepaths. Chris Parmelee’s go-ahead home run barely cleared the bullpen wall. Even Brock Holt couldn’t catch it before it landed in the Red Sox bullpen. I wonder if Shane Victorino or Grady Sizemore could have gloved it? Victorino’s return may be the offensive shot in the arm Boston needs. Sizemore proved he wasn’t the cure and was designated for assignment on Tuesday and officially released today. Ben Cherington made the move sooner rather than...


Even though last night converged two superstitious events, Friday the 13th and a full moon, the Red Sox scored the most runs in a single game this season. It was the first time they tallied double digits in runs. Quick, someone break a mirror or walk under a ladder! Dustin Pedrioa (Miniculus tumultuosus) put on defensive clinic for his former manager Terry Francona (Cribbagis victus). He also doubled off the far left field wall in the seventh to give his team a 7-3 lead. Your browser does not support iframes. All these charts and graphs reminded me of Wile E. Coyote’s blueprints. Instead of detailing arcane contraptions designed to capture the Road Runner (Velocitus delectiblus), this information was intended to help Brad Mills (Calvus intellectualis) strategize against the Red Sox. Instead Mills and Francona have dropped the last two games against their former organization. With the Red Sox already down two runs in the second inning Bryan Butterfield (Amans patriae subsp. amator) sent David Ortiz (Fidus obtundo) home on Daniel Nava’s (Parvus nummus) gutshot single. The team was so relaxed with a huge lead in the ninth inning A.J. Pierzynski (Pugnus facies) lost count of the strikes. He threw the...

Alas and Alack

John Lackey was upset when John Farrell pulled him out of Friday’s game in the eighth inning after David DeJesus sent a single up the middle. Farrell proceeded to use Junichi Tazawa for a single hitter, Evan Longoria, and then replaced the reliever with Andrew Miller. Desperate men take desperate measures and Farrell needed a win. A.J. Pierzynski led off the ninth with a single and then called for Shane Victorino to bunt Pierzynski over. Victorino came up lame on the play and Pierzynski was forced out at second anyway. Jonny Gomes replaced Victorino at first and was stranded there as Grady Sizemore popped out to Longoria and pinch-hitter Mike Carp grounded out. Miller stayed in the game in the ninth and induced James Loney to pop out to short. Desmond Jennings didn’t swing at any at Miller’s offerings and walked on six pitches. Farrell swapped Miller for Burke Badenhop and Joe Maddon countered by pinch-hitting greenhorn Cole Figueroa for Sean Rodriguez. The Rays rookie came through with a gapper to right-center. With this eighth straight loss the Red Sox’s winning percentage dipped to .426 and the Rays improved to .429. Game 47: May 23, 2014 Boston Red Sox20-27 0...

Catching Up

Robbie Ross’s name sounds like a plucky sidekick to a Stan Lee superhero. John Lackey’s, in contrast, is the moniker of a thug’s throwaway stooge. But it was Lackey who prevailed on Mother’s Day, and the Red Sox could finally say they have a winning record. Now they are two games behind the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles with lots of time to catch up. Celebrate the most important woman in your life and all the things she has told you. “Put on your jacket or you’ll catch cold.” “I caught you red-handed eating all the crust off the pumpkin pie.” “Stop playing around in the toy aisle and catch up.” “You are going to catch hell from Dad when he sees what you did with his tools.” “Wake me up when The Real Housewives of Atlanta starts; I need to catch 40 winks.” “I’m all caught up in my reading! Finished Twilight and now it’s The Hunger Games trilogy!” Happy Mother’s Day, everyone. I got my mom a three-tiered pastry stand instead of a book because she doesn’t listen to my reading recommendations anyway. Game 37: May 11, 2014 Boston Red Sox19-18 5 W: John Lackey (5-2)H: Andrew Miller (1)S:...

Neck Tar of the Gods

Signs maligning Jacoby Ellsbury were replaced with jests at Michael Pineda’s expense. On April 10 in Yankee Stadium Pineda had a splotch of pine tar on his wrist. One would think that such an incident would stop future violations of Rule 8.02. After a poor first inning Pineda’s pine tar appeared on his neck. Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley, Jr. flied out for the first two outs of the second when John Farrell halted the proceedings. After conversing with Farrell Gerry Davis inspected Pineda and quickly found the offending foreign substance. Pineda was ejected on the spot and a 10-day suspension was issued today. The starter will not appeal the ruling. Joe Girardi fiddled with the ESPN camera mounted in the Yankees dugout because it followed Pineda down the tunnel to the visitors clubhouse. This isn’t like the National Security Agency using the Heartbleed bug to spy on people. No one, including the disgraced pitcher, has any expectation of privacy in the tunnel. Derek Jeter wished camera weren’t recording a few of his moments on the field last night. This mishandling of A.J. Pierzynski’s batted ball in the first inning won’t make it to the retirement tour commemorative video. This...


The internet has led me to believe that Spanish for “bobbleheads” is “cabezónes,” although “muñecos bobblehead” is also a possibility. Some bobbleheads do a poor job of replicating a player’s likeness but David Ortiz’s was remarkably well done. NESN showed one whose right finger was broken, but the tint of the sunglasses, the bling around the neck, and the elbow guard were on point. The only thing missing was a bit of saliva on the gloves from Papi’s signature at bat preparations. In the third inning Shin-Soo Choo clouted the ball to deep center field. Grady Sizemore pursued it with reckless abandon. Fortunately for the Red Sox Sizemore didn’t injure himself. Unfortunately for us Mike Timlin is no longer playing baseball; he would be chomping at the bit to replicate the crime scene he made for Johnny Damon when he collided with the bullpen wall back in 2005. You are not a true Red Sox player until you are immortalized by committing or being victimized by a prank. Will Middlebrooks’s replacement Jonathan Herrera went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. While he hasn’t dazzled at the dish he did turn in a daring play near the Rangers’ dugout....

Three Little Birds

Shane Victorino entered the batter’s box in the third inning with two out and the bases loaded. The day before the outfielder had won the Gold Glove, beating out Nick Markakis of the Orioles and Josh Reddick from Oakland. He was thankful for the honor but was frustrated offensively of late (along with every other hitter besides David Ortiz). Thus far in the Fall Classic Victorino was hitless and ailing. He was pulled from the lineup in Games 4 and 5 due to back spasms. When the local nine returned to Fenway, John Farrell dropped him from the second slot to the six-hole. He was back in a familiar park and situation, but which Victorino would swing the bat? The one who had been 0-for-10 or the one who sent a grand slam into the Green Monster seats against the Tigers in Game 6 of the ALCS? Your browser does not support iframes. It didn’t matter to Victorino where he hit in the order as long as he was hitting. He didn’t sulk but seized the opportunity. His high fly ball didn’t find the seats this time but it caromed high and far enough off the left field wall to...

Holding On

David Ortiz rallied his teammates and delivered a speech akin to General George S. Patton’s speech to the Third Army. The events that followed in the game were like Patton Oswalt’s “Parks and Recreation” filibuster. Oswalt mashed up Star Wars, the Avengers, and a myriad of other fandoms in his diatribe. John Farrell cobbled together a World Series victory with a last-minute lineup and a melange of arms. Ortiz laid the groundwork in the fifth inning with a double scorched to the right-center gap. “Let’s go! ¡Vámonos!” he exhorted from the keystone sack. Jonny Gomes, who filled in for late scratch Shane Victorino, worked a walk after falling behind Lance Lynn in the count and Xander Bogaerts’s five-pitch at bat also granted him a free pass. With the bases loaded, Stephen Drew got enough loft on the ball and sacrificed in Ortiz to tie the game. Your browser does not support iframes. Clay Buchholz was throwing like Tom Brady. Despite his fastball hovering around 88 MPH, the starter gutted out 4 innings and only surrendered one unearned run. No one would be surprised if some point in the future Buchholz’s and Brady’s injuries are revealed to be much worse than...

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...

Light ’Em Up Up Up

Although John Lackey was visibly annoyed that a 17-minute power outage prevented him from taking the mound for the bottom of the second that frustration channeled itself into spectacular pitching. In the first inning Lackey gave up two singles but for his remaining 5⅔ innings he only surrendered a double to Jhonny Peralta in the sixth and a single to Victor Martinez in the seventh. Lackey outdueled Justin Verlander, of all pitchers. If there were a proposition bet on such an occurrence someone would be a billionaire. Verlander didn’t permit a hit until fifth inning when Jonny Gomes tapped a two-out single to Peralta. In the sixth Jacoby Ellsbury also managed a single off the Tigers’ ace but didn’t advance past second. Mike Napoli dispensed with single-base bleeders and bloops and bopped a one-out home to left field with the count full. It was the only run in a tense contest. Your browser does not support iframes. Craig Breslow was summoned in the bottom of the seventh to take care of the final out with Martinez, a runner he inherited from Lackey, on first. Alex Avila took a called strike but Breslow failed to get the next four pitches in...

Rocky Mountain Fly

The Red Sox still have the best record in the American League even though they lost to the Rockies. If only they could have won it for this little girl, who wore her little Red Sox dictator cap, player tee, beard, everything. She may have gone home disappointed, but she had the opportunity to witness the majesty of John Lackey batting. He didn’t notch a hit but he made contact multiple times. Dennis Eckersley would say he was styling at the plate. Unfortunately Lackey didn’t have his party cheese; he surrendered three gopher balls Mike Timlin had a total of seven career plate appearances with no hits or walks and four strikeouts. He wasn’t as chatty as Eckersley or Derek Lowe but made succinct observations. “That bat didn’t die a hero’s death,” he said as the splinters of David Ortiz’s shattered bat ground out in the fourth were carried through the dugout. At first I thought the Rockies had a subtle outline of their namesake mountain range on their hats. Then I realized that Tyler Chatwood’s hat has sweat stains. In Soviet Russia scoreboard watches you. Game 158: September 24, 2013 Boston Red Sox95-63 3 L: John Lackey (10-13) 2B:...

Cinch to Clinch

Stephen Drew was on his way to hit for the cycle and John Lackey had a no-hitter going. But this team isn’t about individual accomplishments. Drew’s two-run blast in the second gave Lackey a lead to work with. Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s double lined to left put him in position to score on Dustin Pedroia’s single to Nick Markakis. It was a great example of the mix of free agents, rookies, and homegrown veterans working together for a pivotal win. It was fitting that the team that allowed the Red Sox to clinch a playoff berth this season was the same team that eliminated them from the chase in 2011. That one of the players who was so reviled that he became the poster boy for the dysfunction of previous seasons turned his career and reputation around is another poetic parallel. Lackey hurled a complete game two-hitter and perhaps could contest Clay Buchholz as the ace for the postseason. Game 154: September 19, 2013 Baltimore Orioles81-71 1 L: Chris Tillman (16-7) HR: Adam Jones (32) Boston Red Sox93-61 3 W: John Lackey (10-12) 2B: Dustin Pedroia (41), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (37), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (5)3B: Stephen Drew (7)HR: Drew (13)...

Grand Central Celebration

Jarrod Saltalamacchia shook Fenway Park with his grand slam in the eighth to shatter the 4-4 tie. The backstop drove in Shane Victorino, David Ortiz, and Jonny Gomes with a deep shot over the Red Sox bullpen. Rookie Preston Claiborne can now join Yankee Pitches Traumatized by Red Sox Batters Support Group. Boone Logan is president and Chase Wright is sergeant-at-arms. John Lackey repaid the lineup by getting his uniform dirty in the third inning. Even Dennis Eckersley said he probably wouldn’t have laid out like Lackey did in pursuit of Curtis Granderson’s bunt bid. Lackey made the play, but he didn’t pitch as well as he usually does (6⅓ innings, 7 hits, 4 earned runs, no walks, 3 strikeouts). I like to think I saw Lackey ask John Farrell, “Me?” when the skipper came to retrieve him after singles by Brendan Ryan and Chris Stewart. That would be the perfect playing dumb question by a pitcher. But as I replay the scene in my mind, perhaps the camera just caught the tail end of the exasperated question, “Really?” I like Lackey’s spirt, but he seemed to have forgotten that eight- and nine-hole hitters just got to him, and that...

Short Circuit

Xander Bogaerts clouted his first home as major leaguer in the top of the fifth. He drove in his fellow rookie Jackie Bradley, Jr., who had reached on an eight-pitch base on balls. Both these players were born in the early 1990s. This Red Sox team has such great affection between players that they didn’t give Bogaerts the silent treatment on his home run. I hope that Ryan Dempster taught him how to call Yankee Stadium the Toilet, so that Bogaerts could ask in his native tongue Papiemento, “Unda e baño ta?” Tim McCarver was disgusted by the Red Sox players’ beard-pulling. He commented on Boston’s scruffy appearance and how it contrasted with the Yankees’ clean-shaven look. I like comparing 87-57 to 75-67. On the other side of the ball the Yankees started Derek Jeter at shortstop and had him batting in the two hole. The Yankee captain could barely field his position and his .190/.288/.254 certainly does not warrant a slot so high in the lineup. He had a CT scan of his left ankle but the results were negative. Just like the results on the field. It used to be Red Sox fans that envied the young talents...

No Lack of Attack

John Lackey was forthright about his thoughts on the Alex Rodriguez/Biogenesis situation: I’ve got a problem with it. You bet I do. How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he’s playing. I’m not sure that’s right…. It’s pretty evident he’s been doing stuff for a lot of years I’ve been facing him. He took me deep the first time I faced him as a rookie, and he admitted to doing stuff back then. There are a lot of things I want back from him. Lackey didn’t exact repayment in the form of a fastball in the ribs but instead delivered 6⅔ innings of quality pitching. He stifled the Yankees lineup, allowing just 6 hits and a single earned run. Lackey walked three but only struck out one batter. The batter he struck out? None other than Rodriguez. The Red Sox got to Hiroki Kuroda in the fourth inning after three innings of getting a runner on the basepaths but failing to convert. To start the bottom of the frame David Ortiz clouted what should have been his third triple of the season to right field. Instead of pinballing about the curved corner it bounced into the stands....

Losing Orbit

The Red Sox lost to the lowly Astros and nearly lost their starting ace John Lackey. On the last play of the second inning Lackey pursued Matt Dominguez’s grounder and came down awkwardly on his ankle. He needed help to get off the field. But in the third Lackey toed the rubber again and was unaffected by the injury. John Lackey, major league troll. At first I thought the Astros’ mascot was a troll but it is in fact an alien named “Orbit” of the species Homerunus spectacularus. Three facts emerged from this game: 1) the Red Sox should have swept this historically awful team, 2) Lackey needs to stop making Boston fans’ hearts leap into their throats, and 3) Orbit needs pants. Game 114: August 5, 2013 Boston Red Sox68-46 0 L: John Lackey (7-9) 2B: Stephen Drew (16), Jonny Gomes (13) Houston Astros37-74 2 W: Brett Oberholtzer (2-0)H: Wesley Wright (8)S: Josh Fields (1) 2B: Brett Wallace (7), L.J. Hoes (1)...

Baltimore Luchador

Meet Carne Cabeza. He describes himself as the “fat, shirtless, shameless kid in the cape and tights you see at Ravens and Orioles games.” Carne’s team shut out the Red Sox, setting them up well for a series win and helping the Rays take first place. Seems like in recent years Baltimore teams have been Boston’s primary nemeses. Last year the Patriots were defeated by the Ravens in the AFC Championship game and of course there was the Red Sox 2011 collapse that culminated at Camden Yards. When John Lackey twisted his ankle Red Sox fans’ collective hearts leapt into their throats. With the offense sputtering the squad requires exceptional pitching more than ever, and Lackey had been the rotation’s stopper. But last night Chris Tillman summoned the spirit of Matt Moore and, along with Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson, blanked the Red Sox. Any reasonably sized portrait of Don Orsillo might as well be a Big Head. Game 104: July 26, 2013 Boston Red Sox61-43 0 L: John Lackey (7-8) 2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (23) Baltimore Orioles58-46 6 W: Chris Tillman (13-3) 3B: Nate McLouth (4)HR: Adam Jones – 2 (22), Manny Machdo (9), J.J. Hardy (18)...

Liking Lackey

Didn’t think it was possible, did you? The more wins John Lackey tallies the less I dislike him. He hasn’t pitched well enough to be worth the $15 million he makes, but he stepped up to fill the void while Clay Buchholz recovered. Dave Roberts returned to Fenway as the Padres’ first base coach. He survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which was detected early because he had to take a physical to join San Diego’s coaching staff. He had been on the fence between returning to baseball and becoming a television analyst but Bud Black convinced him to have a second career in baseball coaching. The Celtics traded up three spots to draft Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk. The 7' center visited Fenway before the game and towered over everyone. Olynyk was drafted by a franchise in flux, but the picture became a bit clearer today. The Celtics hired Brad Stevens, formerly of Butler, as head coach. Stevens is a proponent of advanced basketball statistics and is younger than Kevin Garnett. Perhaps he’ll bring Drew Cannon along with him. Brandon Snyder supported Lackey’s excellent showing with his three-run double in the fourth. The peripatetic infielder stepped in where Will Middlebrooks had been flailing....


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