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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Miller (Andrew)”

Don’t Call My Name Alejandro

Thanks to my friend I got to enjoy last night’s game. Thanks to Alejandro De Aza it wasn’t was entertaining as it could have been. De Aza has worked his way from obscurity to relevance. Starting with the Marlins, spending some time with the White Sox, and then finally being traded to the contending Orioles is a journey many players would envy. Your browser does not support iframes. Anthony Ranaudo should wear a shirt that says, “De Aza is my Daddy.” The rookie starter surrendered two homers to the Orioles left fielder. Ranaudo came up short on a night where the immortal Pedro Martinez was honored with a bobblehead. Batting practice was fun. Nelson Cruz was hammering moonshots over the wall with his boomstick to these fans’ delight. What a roller-coaster ride these past few seasons has been. From worst to first to worst again. Just a year ago Koji Uehara was mowing down batters at a historic pace, John Lackey and Jon Lester were an near-unstoppable one-two punch, and veteran and rookie hitters joinced forces to knock in timely hits. But what was once a humming machine has broken down into humdrum parts. Thankfully there are a few replacement...

Fifteen Ways to Lose Your Lover

It’s hard to place a finger on who or what is so unlikable about this team, but A.J. Pierzynski is as good a place to start as any. The catcher blew a kiss to the crowd and celebrated after his three-run homer in the first inning. With the various ailments plaguing the Red Sox Pierzynski was slotted in as the designated hitter in yesterday’s game. He acted as if he were Big Papi after his homer. It seemed like the necessary shakeup in the lineup prompted an offensive outburst. Boston scored five runs in the first inning against no less than the Rays’ ace David Price. But Jake Peavy couldn’t keep the Rays at bay and the game stood at a 5-5 tie for nine innings. When the Red Sox got runners on base in the 12th, 13th, and 14th innings there didn’t seem to be any excitement on the bench. The atmosphere was more like anxiety. James Loney led off the 15th with a single and was replaced on the basepaths by Cole Figueroa, who won Friday’s game for Tampa Bay. Brandon Guyer bunted Figueroa over on what should have been a sacrifice bunt. Instead the miscommunication between Andrew...

Duensing Cap

Will Middlebrooks was 0-for-3 when he stepped into the batter’s box in the ninth inning with two down and the bases loaded. He hadn’t tallied a hit since May 10 and a base on balls since May 7. Middlebrooks broke his cold streak with a sharply rapped ground ball to right field to tie the game 3-3. Your browser does not support iframes. The Red Sox celebration was short-lived. Kurt Suzuki doubled with one out and Aaron Hicks singled the catcher in. For the second time in three days Andrew Miller gave up the game-winning hit. At least this time he didn’t allow Chris Parmelee to homer; that honor went to Clay Buchholz in the second inning. Buchholz was opposed by Phil Hughes. It was interesting to compare the two former uber-pitching prospects for the Red Sox and Yankees. Because of his fragility and inconsistency Buchholz has been moved to the end of the rotation and Hughes didn’t re-sign with the Yankees after his injury-ridden career in the Bronx. It could have been worse for this pair: they could have been managed by Dusty Baker. Hughes was a Red Sox fan as a child. I wonder if he has a...

Liners, Divings, and Drives

Ernesto Frieri is the star of the Angels’ bullpen. Frieri’s big bite comes from his four-seam heater clocked in the mid-90s. The closer’s repertoire contrasted sharply with Jered Weaver’s offerings, which consist primarily of a fastball that has declined in average speed from 90 MPH in 2010 to 86.5 MPH this season. Weaver’s declining skills didn’t help the Red Sox batters score runs, however. The Red Sox were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Jacoby Ellsbury’s leadoff double in the first frame was the only extra base hit of the game for the visitors. As always J.B. Shuck misplayed Ellsbury’s fly ball. Daniel Nava followed with a single but Weaver induced a line out off Dustin Pedroia’s bat and struck out David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to end the early threat. I can only imagine the expressions John Lackey would make if Shuck played behind him. In this game Lackey had only himself to blame as two runs he relinquished were solo home runs. In the seventh he even shared a moment of levity with Napoli, who failed to glove Lackey’s underhand toss and nearly failed to complete Alberto Callaspo’s ground out. Pedroia loaned Napoli his sunglasses for the rest...

Suspended Aggravation

This team couldn’t win an extra innings game at home to save its life. Andrew Miller somehow got his tall frame out of the way of a comebacker off Eric Hosmer’s bat but the Red Sox could not avoid the Royals’ seventh inning comeback. Bobby Valentine relied on Miller longer than he would have liked because Alfredo Aceves was serving a three-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team after the reliever had a tantrum when Andrew Bailey was used as a closer instead of him. As the Red Sox once again fell in extra innings Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto arrived in Los Angeles. Gonzalez made an immediate impact with a three-run homer in the first inning. The Dodgers enjoy three-run circuit clouts while the Red Sox weather three-game suspensions. There’s two ways to rebuild a team and in Boston it will be the painful path. Game 127: August 25, 2012 ∙ 12 innings Kansas City Royals56-69 10 W: Francisley Bueno (1-0)S: Greg Holland (7)2B: Alex Gordon (41), Billy Butler (19), Eric Hosmer (19)3B: Mike Moustakas (1) Boston Red Sox60-67 9 BS: Craig Breslow (1)L: Junichi Tazawa (0-1) 2B: Dustin Pedroia (29), Jacoby Ellsbury (16)HR: Mauro Gomez...

Rehabilitation (No, No, No)

Don Orsillo resurrected a tie of similar style to those he wore on May 4, June 11, and June 30. The retreading of similar styles reminds me of the multiple attempts to rehabilitate Andrew Miller. It seems clear by now that the sixth pick of the 2006 draft did not warrant that honor. Miller surrendered five earned runs and over five innings but surprisingly just walked two batters. It was two home runs early in the game that did him in. A sampling of players drafted after Miller: Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Max Scherzer, Ian Kennedy, and Daniel Bard. The same has been said about Ricky Romero, who was the sixth pick in the stacked 2005 amateur draft. Instead of Romero the Blue Jays could have had Troy Tulowitzki, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, or Matt Garza. The way the Red Sox are playing I’m beginning to wonder if they are contenders or pretenders. They have lost the last three series: Yankees, Rangers, and Blue Jays. Two of those teams will be in the playoffs. The Boston baseball squad will likely be in the postseason as well, but this spate of poor play and injuries gives one...

Bedard Off Dead

Erik Bedard missed a quality start by an inning with a solid if short line of 5 innings pitched, 7 hits, 3 earned runs, no walks, and 5 strikeouts. He departed the mound with the score 3-3 and handed the fate of his Red Sox debut game over to Franklin Morales. My friend observed that Morales wasn’t the answer. I countered that he was, if the question was, “Who is going to allow the go-ahead and insurance runs to score?” Justin Masterson’s lankiness was rivaled by Andrew Miller, who saw action out of the bullpen for the first time. In 2⅔ innings he allowed another pair of runs, effectively putting the game out of reach for the local nine. It is becoming clear that Miller is the answer to the question, “Name a first round draft pick bust by the Detroit Tigers.” Miller doesn’t even have a wife to bring cookies for Don and Jerry like Masterson does. Just another reason to miss the gangly starter. Of course the Red Sox lost and the Yankees have won the last seven games in a row, setting it up so the AL East titans enter their weekend series with identical 68-42 records....

Erik the Dead(line Deal)

As the Red Sox put the finishing touches on a topsy-turvy game Tom Caron reported that the team had acquired southpaw starter Erik Bedard from Seattle. The three-team deal broken down: Red Sox receive:Erik Bedard and Josh Fields (from Seattle) Mariners receive:Chih-Hsien Chiang (from Boston)Trayvon Robinson (from Los Angeles) Dodgers receive:Tim Federowicz, Stephen Fife, and Juan Rodriguez (from Boston) Clay Buchholz was placed on the 60-day disabled list because of his lower back pain, casting huge doubts upon his return to baseball this season. Bedard has just returned from his own stint on the disabled list for a sprained left knee. His first start after his return was a disastrous affair against the Rays: 1⅓ innings pitched, 3 hits, 5 earned runs, 4 walks, and 2 strikeouts. In his career he has been successful in the AL East but since 2008 he has pitched in a twirler’s paradise at Safeco in the middling AL West. Perhaps the lefty can return to 2007 form, and the entire team recreate that season along with him. Games such as Sunday’s displayed the character of this team. The Red Sox seemed to rudderlessly drift through the first weeks of the season but now they...

Cycle Killer

Qu’est-ce que c’est? Fa fa fa fa fa fa how the fa was Dustin Pedroia’s eighth inning fly ball to left not a home run? The second baseman fell a four-bagger short of hitting for the cycle. Someone needs to refresh the franchise feat list and replace John Valentin, who remains the most recent Red Sox batter with this achievement thanks to his June 6, 1996 performance. Who will break this 15-year drought? Terry Francona’s pinch hitting substitutions in the fifth broke open the game. The home team went into the bottom of the inning trailing six runs to seven; it was one of those games where it seemed the last team batting was going to prevail. Josh Reddick lofted a leadoff single to center and advanced to second when pinch-hitter Jacoby Ellsbury lined a single to the opposite field. Drew Sutton (who? Yes, I did just make a joke about Anglo-Saxon burial grounds) replaced Darnell McDonald and attempted to sacrifice the runners along. The Royals, perhaps motivated by noblesse oblige, refused the out the Red Sox handed to them. Nathan Adcock charged the ball and fired to first. Mike Aviles, a middle infielder covering the first base sack, missed...

Dust Off the Rust

Although the Red Sox hit four home runs all but one of them came without runners on base. Dustin Pedroia was the only visiting player to have a more than one extra base hit: a leadoff homer for the sixth and a inning-opening double in the eighth. Taking out his frustration about not being named an All-Star on Tampa Bay pitchers resulted in an RBI and a run scored for the second baseman, but Andrew Miller dug too deep of a hole for his team. Miller might have felt betrayed by his battery mate’s miscue in the second. Jarrod Saltalamacchia could have easily thrown out Sam Fuld at first but he wanted to throw to third, which was unoccupied because Kevin Youkilis charged to field the bunt. With none out and two on the Red Sox catcher threw to second after fielding Fuld’s sacrifice bunt. Fuld’s awesomeness dazzles everyone, even the opposition. Rays fans and their incessant cowbells remind me of our cousin, the chimpanzee, which in turn makes me think of the music video for “Head Over Heels.” Why is a there a chimpanzee in a Red Sox jersey? Was Roland Orzabal or Curt Smith or both fans of...

Playing the World’s Saddest Song on the World’s Smallest Viola

David Ortiz, Josh Reddick, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit Pedro Viola to the tune of three straight home runs in the seventh inning. J.D. Drew had a chance to be part of a home run quartet for the second time in his career but worked a walk instead. Retrosheet doesn’t have to worry about updating their page chronicling the rare quadruple quadrangular. The circuit clout trio were not the only Red Sox players who cleared the fences. Dustin Pedroia made his case to be reinserted into the clean-up spot with a three-run bomb in the third that went completely over the Monster. When it landed on Lansdowne the Red Sox took the lead. Adrian Gonzalez launched a remarkable moonshot in the fourth that was caught not by a fan but the netting next to the camera shack. Jacoby Ellsbury’s home run to right wasn’t as far but was incredibly high, so lofty that it was difficult to judge if the ball want around Pesky’s pole or over it. Ellsbury swipes bags when he’s on the basepaths and extra base hits when he’s patrolling the outfield. Tonight a running grab by the center fielder in full stride to the left field wall...

We Have Liftoff

Yamaico Navarro launched his first major league home run in his seventh-inning pinch-hitting appearance. He acted like he had been there before, if by being there before one means he had hit 366 career homers like David Ortiz. Navarro’s bat flip wasn’t Papiesque by any means and his brief admiration of his home run’s trajectory wasn’t exceptionally egregious. But a rookie should know better. Payback likely won’t come in this series, but somewhere down the line Navarro may face J.A. Happ or one of Happ’s friends. When that happens and if the circumstances are aligned, Navarro might find himself with a pitch in the ribs or dropping into the dirt to duck a high and tight pitch. In the next inning Darnell McDonald clouted a three-run homer to the train tracks to make the score 9-3, a lead that was Bobby Jenks-proof. McDonald homered off Fernando Abad, whose last name isn’t pronounced in a way that would provide commentary on his pitching ability. Or at least Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy said Abad’s name in such a way so as to save him embarrassment. Adrian Gonzalez played in right field for the second time this season and the world didn’t...

Video Game Piracy

What happened to the team from less than a week ago that dropped 14 runs on the Padres? The Red Sox need to do a Google search for the cheat codes they unlocked because they have seemingly lost the ability to hit with runners in scoring position. They also need to deselect the random injury option, because the lack of the designated hitter in National League parks compounded with Carl Crawford’s absence has upset the finely-tuned offensive engine that powered Boston to the top of the division. To cap off an ugly series the Red Sox tallied an unattractive win. Their first run came in the fourth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia ran out a double to Andrew McCutchen to start the inning. Chasing down the ball seemed to have gotten McCutchen’s juices flowing because when he fielded Josh Reddick’s fly ball the Pirates center fielder sent the relay throw over the cutoff man to third baseman Chase d’Arnaud. The ball bounced out of d’Arnaud’s glove into the stands. Saltalamacchia scored and McCutchen got the error, but if the official scorer could parse out the blame to more than one person d’Arnaud deserved a share. Reddick was the catalyst in the sixth inning,...

Miller’s Crossing

That wasn’t the man on stilts who plays catch with kids on Yawkey Way before games on the mound, that was Andrew Miller. People wondered why Miller, the sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft, had trouble with his mechanics. It’s because it takes so long for his brain to send signals to his legs. Miller kept it together in his Red Sox debut until sixth inning. Chase Headley led off with a bloop single to right and Ryan Ludwick walked on five pitches. Miller bore down to strike out Jesus Guzman but surrendered a game-tying home run to Orlando Hudson. The Padres second baseman didn’t signal his own home run, unlike how he indicates his infield singles as safe. While he didn’t earn a win, Miller pitched no worse than a typical John Lackey outing and should see a few more starts with Clay Buchholz on the disabled list. This is a league that has Bruce Chen and Roderigo Lopez pitching regularly at the major league level. Someone with Miller’s pedigree may never break through that glass ceiling stopping him from being considered a major league regular precisely because his ceiling as a prospect was so high. Speaking of...


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