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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Twins”

Gopher Balls in the Gopher State

Who had the better pitcher sad face, Phil Hughes or Rick Porcello? Dustin Pedroia got to see Hughes’s face twice, in the third and fifth innings. Both times Pedroia drove in two runs, but the second baseman was the only Red Sox player with RBIs in this contest. Your browser does not support iframes. Porcello gave up the gopher ball twice as well. In the fourth inning Aaron Hicks clouted his first homer of the season. Eddie Rosario powered his second four-bagger in the sixth inning. There were some moves that may help the Red Sox get on track. Daniel Nava was placed on the disabled list with an injured thumb. Heath Hembree was returned to Pawtucket and Jeff Bianchi was designated for assignment. Top prospect Eduardo Rodriguez was called up and will start against the Rangers tonight. Bolstering the bullpen and outfield respectively were call-ups Robbie Ross and Carlos Peguero. Game 47: May 27, 2015 Boston Red Sox21-26 4 L: Rick Porcello (4-4) 2B: Brock Holt (8)HR: Dustin Pedroia – 2 (7) Minnesota Twins28-18 6 W: Phil Hughes (4-4)H: Brian Duensing (3), Ryan Pressly (3), Michael Tonkin (5)S: Glen Perkins (18) HR: Aaron Hicks (1), Eddie Rosario (2)...

Minnesota Flats

Whatever momentum the Red Sox built up over the weekend evaporated somewhere on the flight between Boston and Minneapolis. Joe Kelly couldn’t get out of the second inning, putting his team seven runs in the hole. Matt Barnes filled in capably by twirling three and one-third innings while surrendering five hits and striking out five. Then again, the Twins hitters weren’t particularly motivated in getting to Barnes given their lead. Ricky Nolasco took advantage of the lead and the Red Sox batters’ impatience with a seven and two-third inning gem. He gave up only two runs while striking out five and walking none. One area where both teams shone was on defense. Dustin Pedroia turned around a flashy play in the first to erase Torii Hunter from the basepaths. In the second inning Aaron Hicks robbed Daniel Nava of a base hit. It was a catch in shallow center that warranted Statcast. Your browser does not support iframes. Hanley Ramirez notched his first RBI of the month in the third inning with a line drive single to right field. Boston’s four-hole hitter didn’t have a run batted in until the 25th of the month. Let that sink in and it...

Missing in Action

Ow ard is it to ead ithout he irst onsonant? Et’s ask Swaldo Arcia, he ero of he ame or he Wins. And win the Twins did with Arcia’s two-run homer in the sixth, his run off Aaron Hicks’s double in the fifth, and a pair of scores by Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. I would have thought the Red Sox would do no worse than a series split against the Twins but end up winning only one game in the series. They lost their closer in the rout as well. There are eight words no pitcher ever wants to hear: “Dr. Andrews is ready to see you now.” Joel Hanrahan was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a flexor pronator strain in his right elbow. To his credit Hanrahan is going to try to rehab the injury instead of getting Tommy John surgery right away, but even that course of action well keep him off the mound for two months. Junichi Tazawa was tapped to close by John Farrell. Get your 三振 signs ready! Game 35: May 9, 2013 Minnesota Twins16-15 5 W: Kevin Correia (4-2)H: Brian Duensing (6), Jared Burton (7)S: Glen Perkins (8) 2B: Aaron Hicks...

Krejci Craziness

I admit to turning over to the Bruins after Allen Webster lost the lead in the second inning. Whatever energy Jonny Gomes’s grand slam generated precipitously dissipated like the ozone layer in spring. David Krejci provided welcome relief for Boston sports fans with his overtime goal to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, giving him a hat trick and Bruins a 3-1 series lead.Players I didn’t have a chance to make fun of last time:Pedro Hernandez: Peter, Ferdinand’s son.Ryan Pressly: Why can’t we get guys like this? (He was drafted in the eleventh round by the Red Sox in 2007, the 354th pick. The Twins picked him up in the Rule 5 draft in 2012.)Casey Fien: Baseball players named “Casey” should be hitters or pitchers in the National League.Brian Duensing: This is a pretty good “Game of Thrones” name, but of course the “i” needs to be converted into a “y.”Glen Perkins: There are so many more famous Perkinses than you. Carl. Anthony. Frances. You don’t know Frances? Look her up!Pedro Florimon: Florimon used air slash! It’s super effective! Florimon! Gotta catch ’em all!Oswaldo Arcia: Your name is missing a “G.” Game 34: May 8, 2013 Minnesota Twins15-15 15 W: Ryan...

He’s So Nine

The right-left combination of Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester called to mind Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine in their heyday. Lester topped Buchholz’s eight-inning showing with a complete game and magnificent line: 6 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), no walks, and 9 strikeouts. The two-pronged, sustained pitching forays were exactly what the Red Sox needed after the skirmishes in the Bronx left the bullpen decimated. Francisco Liriano shut down the Red Sox on April 15, but the Red Sox batters demanded a tax rebate this time around. Liriano hadn’t allowed a home run until he faced Adrian Beltre in the second. The Red Sox third baseman lofted the ball into Boston’s bullpen for the first run of the game. Kevin Youkilis quickly tallied the second four-bagger off Liriano in the third inning with two on and two out. The umpiring crew didn’t need instant replay on the shot to dead center. Angel Sanchez, the shortstop who was called up to relieve Marco Scutaro and take Scott Schoeneweis’s place on the roster, must have been amazed watching his fellow infielder Dustin Pedroia doggedly chase down balls. The former MVP and Gold Glover dashed into shallow center to jump and snare Delmon...

Buchhing the Trend

Along with the rain, Clay Buchholz’s eight-inning performance washed away the bitterness of the series split in the Bronx. The Red Sox starter methodically dismantled one of the best offenses in the American League: Second in OBP: .356Second in batting average: .274Fourth in slugging: .426Tied for first with the Yankees in walks: 169But just seventh in homers with 38That Buchholz limited the damage to a mere run was impressive, as was the rest of his line: 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts. He also picked off Nick Punto to end the third, an accomplishment that will remain in the history books even though replay showed Punto’ s fingers touching first before the tag. To lead off the fourth Denard Span checked his swing and got enough wood on the ball so that it jotted down the third base line, kissed the corner of the left field stands, and skipped down the left field down for an improbable double. Joe Mauer humpbacked a double to right to notch a fluke run for the visitors. David Ortiz responded with a two-run homer in the fourth that would have remained an RBI triple were it not for instant replay...

Crazy Eights

Eight unanswered runs, eight punchouts by their starter — the Twins wrapped up the inaugural series at their new park with a resounding victory. When the home team’s lead widened to four runs in the fifth inning it was as if the switch controlling the Red Sox players’ competitive drive was flicked to the off position. Early in the game the Boston squad played with a purpose. In the second inning Marco Scutaro chased down a ball that had eluded Adrian Beltre’s glove, far from the area a shortstop would normally patrol. Scutaro turned and fired to first to convert Michael Cuddyer’s potential base hit to an out. By the time sixth inning rolled around such defensive crispness abandoned the visitors. J.J. Hardy reached on Beltre’s first error the season, an errant throw that pulled Kevin Youkilis off the bag. Nick Punto roped a single to left and Denard Span followed with a line drive of his own to right. J.D. Drew returned the ball to the infield in time for his team to erase the greedy Punto from the basepaths but Victor Martinez inexplicably threw to the keystone sack instead of third. Although Span was credited with a double...

Right On Target

Target Field’s façade is adorned by dolomitic limestone from Mankato. Limestone is made primarily of the remains of marine life, but the addition of dolomite makes the Minnesotan stone stronger and gives its a distinctive hue. Calcite and dolomite particles are deposited in layers and compressed. The process takes the better part of 500 millenia, much like Kevin Slowey’s pitching. Much of the Human Rain Delay’s tarrying came as the result of actual rain. Tediously cleaning his cleats of mud did not keep the basepaths clear of Red Sox runners. Slowey surrendered a run in three of the five innings he pitched and he had only a single 1-2-3 inning. The first run notched was avoidable but Delmon Young somehow avoided any contact with Dustin Pedroia’s liner and the ball skipped all the way to the wall. The Twins left fielder got caught playing the ball in between, committing neither to a diving attempt nor backing up to stop the ball from getting past him. Perhaps he was blinded by the Red Sox second baseman’s laser show. While Young chased the ball down replacement leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro scurried home all the way from first for the first run of...

Minnesota Nice

Baseball as it is meant to played has returned to Minneapolis. The city sits just south of the 45th parallel north, the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole. Perhaps it’s not the ideal latitude for an open-air park, but a dirt field with tires for bases would have surpassed the Metrodome as a baseball park. And now the professional baseball players in Minnesota can claim themselves tougher than their football-playing counterparts since they play their games at the mercy of the elements... at least until it rains or snows too hard. Sometimes it snows in April. The Twins organization celebrated nearly every first in Target Field, eminent to insignificant. Just as the Twins’ first hit (Orlando Hudson’s first-inning line drive single to left), first home player’s run (Hudson crossing home on Jason Kubel’s single), and home run (Kubel again, a leadoff blast to the right field stands in the seventh) were feted, so was the first attendee, first beer purchased, and first meat on a stick ordered. Nine-hole hitter Nick Punto’s contribution to the crates of memorabilia was not only the cleats he used to tally the first stolen base but also the belt he broke sliding...


Game 48: May 28, 2009 Red Sox3W: Josh Beckett (5-2)H: Hideki Okajima (8)S: Jonathan Papelbon (13)28-20, 1 game winning streak Twins1L: Anthony Swarzak (1-1)24-25, 1 game losing streak Highlights: I listened to the radio broadcast with my new Apple In-Ear Headphones. Rather than noise-canceling they are sound-isolating, but the way they physically filled up my ear canals allowed them to transfer the vibrations of the wire hitting against my keyboard tray to travel along its length. This Morse code transmitted a message of annoyance almost as nettlesome as Todd Tichenor. You know how rookies get high numbers when they first come up? Well, Todd Tichenor’s number is 97, the highest number issued this season. He issued Mike Redmond’s first ejection in his 12-year career when the catcher disputed a call at the plate. Tichenor adjudged Jeff Bailey safe at home although at certain angles Jason Kubel’s throw and Redmond’s tag conspired to render Bailey out. The score was 3-1, so the questionable ruling in the top of the seventh did not make the difference in the game. Ron Gardenhire came out to defend Redmond and was summarily dismissed.The charged-up Minnesotans laid into Tichenor for calling a first-pitch strike against Joe...

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...


Game 46: May 26, 2009 Red Sox2L: Jon Lester (3-5)27-19, 1 game losing streak Twins5W: Nick Blackburn (4-2)H: Matt Guerrier (6)S: Joe Nathan (7)23-24, 1 game winning streak Highlights: Shouldn’t a batter be charged with a strike if they swing when time is called, like what happened in the eighth with Delmon Young batting against Takashi Saito? Saito had to throw four strikes against Young for the strikeout. It’s hard to harbor resentment towards Justin Morneau. Clean-cut, good-looking, likable, model clubhouse citizen, 2006 AL MVP, and 2007 Home Run Derby winner. On top of that he is a two-time All-Star and twice earned the Silver Slugger award. Even with all that hardware his swing is free and easy. Jon Lester shouldn’t feel terrible about Morneau taking him deep for that three-run homer in the fifth because the Twins first baseman is one of the premier players in the league. But Lester probably does.For 4⅓ innings the southpaw held the home team to goose eggs, but as is his wont this season he had that one inning that undid him. The second time the bottom third of the order saw him they were all over his pitches. Brendan Harris, Matt Tolbert,...


Game 45: May 25, 2009 Red Sox6W: Brad Penny (5-1)H: Ramon Ramirez (7)H: Hideki Okajima (7)S: Jonathan Papelbon (12)27-18, 2 game winning streak Twins5L: Francisco Liriano (2-6)22-24, 1 game losing streak Highlights: Apparently Penny was vomiting between innings. Bulimia is not the answer, Brad! Brad Penny’s regurgitation wasn’t about his body image but a sinus infection that impacted his stomach. I had the impression that Penny was something of a softie because of his frequent visits to the disability list, but beneath his squishy midsection are some steely guts.For some reason NESN played a remake of “Making Our Dreams Come True” by Those Darn Accordions. Either they didn’t realize “Laverne and Shirley” was set in Milwaukee rather than Minneapolis or they were paying homage to the Border Battle that wrapped up Sunday evening.It was adorable seeing the heated rivalry between the cheeseheads and the, um, lakeheads. A few folks got into a dispute about whose green bean casserole was better. The battle was hard-fought. Famous people from Wisconsin: Orson Wells, Georgia O’Keefe, Les Paul, Liberace, Thorstein Veblen. Minnesota: Terry Gilliam, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, Judy Garland, Charles and William Mayo. Sorry, Wisconsin, but Minnesota is superior because “Mystery Science...


Game 15: April 22, 2009 Twins3L: Francisco Liriano (0-4)7-9, 2 game losing streak Red Sox7W: Brad Penny (2-0)9-6, 7 game winning streak Highlights: Dave Roberts brings happiness and and good fortune wherever he goes. He visited Fenway yesterday, Terry Francona’s birthday, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. His stopover coincided with the Red Sox’s second series sweep of the season and the team’s 16th sweep of doubleheader since its inception. Francona so clearly adores Roberts, as do we all. He is so loved he didn’t even have to don the minty green Earth Day uniforms. That uniform looks familiar.Ah yes, we saw those uniforms in the World Baseball Classic worn by our neighbors to the south. Boston’s version had a recycling logo on the right sleeve and clover emblem on the left. Even Jason Varitek’s armor was green.Kevin Youkilis covers both corner infield positions with ease. He spelled Mike Lowell at third while the recently recalled Jeff Bailey played first. Nick Punto thought he led off the third with a line shot double, but Youkilis’s glove had other ideas. There is no one else in the league who can transfer Gold Glove skills across the diamond like Youkilis. Most...


Game 14: April 22, 2009 ∙ 7 innings Twins1L: Scott Baker (0-2)7-8, 1 game losing streak Red Sox10W: Tim Wakefield (2-1)8-6, 6 game winning streak Highlights: Kevin Youkilis, Nick Green, and Mike Lowell all homered. Wakefield pitched for the entire game again, but today the game was shortened by rain. Mother Nature rewarded him for keeping his starts so crisp and efficient by giving him two innings off. Rapped to the tune of “Lazy Sunday,” a Saturday Night Live Digital ShortLazy Wednesday, wake up in the late afternoonCall Wakefield just to see how he’s doin’Hello?What up, Wakes?Yo Tito, what’s crackin’?You thinking what I’m thinkin’?Yawkey Way!Man, it’s happenin’But first my hunger pains are stickin’ like pine tarLet’s hit up El Pelón and mack on some carnitasAw, wait, that place burned in a four-alarm blazeDamn, I loved that place like Joey loved PaceyTwo, no six, no twelve, Baker’s dozen!How many runs ya gonna give up, cousin?Yo, where’s the ball flyin’?Over tha Monstah, dudeWell, let’s hit up MLB hit charts find the home run lengthI prefer FangraphsThat’s a good one, too.Hit Tracker is the bestTrue thatDouble true!Brookline and Yawkey WayStep on it, suckaWhat you wanna do, Drew?Hit attack, motherfucker!It’s the Chronic (What?) –les...


Game 94: July 9, 2008 Twins 5 L: Livan Hernandez (9-6) 50-41, 3 game losing streak Red Sox 18 W: Josh Beckett (9-5)H: Javier Lopez (9)H: Craig Hansen (7) 55-39, 3 game winning streak Highlights: The only Red Sox player not to get a hit or run yesterday was pinch runner Jeff Bailey. Boston attained their highest run total of the season thus far. The numbers were staggering. Crooked numbers littered the H column just as Brian Bass’s shards of self-esteem are scattered around the mound in Fenway.The recounting of slugfests are often boring to write. Every inning is peppered with action making it hard to extract the flavor of the game. This game was different thanks to a few oddball seasonings tossed in to lend a unique taste to this smörgåsbord of scores.From the start Josh Beckett wasn’t at his sharpest but neither was Denard Span. Perhaps Span’s looting of Red Sox hits to right field began to weigh on his conscience: he was caught stealing after earning a free pass. Despite the gift out, however, the Twins would score three runs in the first inning.Beckett had some latitude because of the hurler (using the term loosely) opposing...


Game 93: July 8, 2008 Twins 5 H: Dennys Reyes (10)BS, L: Matt Guerrier (3, 4-4) 50-40, 2 game losing streak Red Sox 6 W: David Aardsma (3-2)S: Jonathan Papelbon (27) 54-39, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Manny being Papi in the eighth inning with a game-tying two-run shot into the Monster seats. Last night’s game wasn’t as crisply played as the first game of the series. Just ask Coco Crisp himself, who dove after a rapidly descending fly off the bat of Nick Punto to begin the ninth, converting a single into a double. Or Jon Lester, who slogged through seven and one-third innings while surrendering nine hits, five earned runs, and three walks.Even the fans were slacking. A few of them crowded around when Kevin Cash pursued a Carlos Gomez pop fly into the first row of the stands in the fifth. Gomez ended up striking out, as he tends to do, but it would have been a tidy out and one less pitch on Lester’s arm.The Twins have such an unassuming lineup, much like Minnesotans themselves. They come bearing gifts of green bean casseroles and molded Jello only to make themselves too cozy and put up...

Kyūen [球宴]

Game 92: July 7, 2008 Twins 0 L: Brian Bass (3-3) 50-39, 1 game losing streak Red Sox 1 W: Hideki Okajima (2-2)S: Jonathan Papelbon (26) 53-39, 1 game winning streak Highlights: Daisuke Matsuzaka wasn’t part of the decision last night, nor will he be in next week’s All-Star Game, which is called kyūen in his native language (the first character kyū means ball and the second en stands for party or celebration). But last night he proved he is capable of shutdown stuff despite a rough first inning. In the first inning Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed three Js, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Jason Kubel, to load the bases after securing two quick outs. It had all the makings of one of those outings that Jerry Remy grouses about: walks galore thanks to Matsuzaka’s nibbling. Matsuzaka induced a ground ball out off the bat of Delmon Young to himself to end the inning.From that point on Matsuzaka went right after batters. John Farrell probably worked his magic in between frames to motivate his charge to be aggressive on the mound. The result was seven and one-third innings of fine pitching supported by upper-echelon defense and a return to form...


Game 41: May 12, 2008 Red Sox 3 L: Clay Buchholz (2-3) 24-17, 2 game losing streak Twins 7 W: Livan Hernandez (6-1) 20-17, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Coco Crisp smacked a double into the baggie to commence the game and advanced to third on Dustin Pedroia’s bunt. Pedroia could have been safe if his legs were a smidgen longer. David Ortiz blooped a single to plate Crisp. The ball drifted over the shortstop off a gentle toss from Livan Hernandez looking more like a leisurely game of badminton then baseball. Manny Ramirez blasted a commemorative ball behind the baggie where, unlike its namesake, it will not be preserved in perpetuity within an airtight seal. Ball number 498 was quickly seized and turned over Ramirez. Those three runs would be the only scores for Boston the entire evening. I turned stations between the Celtics and Red Sox looking for a New England team that wanted to trounce its opponents into submission. Neither team came through: the Carmine Hose lost their four-game series while the Big Three dropped the fourth game of their seven-game series by a score of 88-77. Delonte West, a former Celt, mentioned that he knew...


Game 40: May 11, 2008 Red Sox 8 L: Tim Wakefield (3-2) 24-16, 1 game losing streak Twins 9 W: Nick Blackburn (3-2)H: Dennys Reyes (4)S: Joe Nathan (12) 19-17, 1 game winning streak Highlights: It’s better to get close to a goal and fail rather than never having been in reach of it. Or so I keep telling myself. David Ortiz, puffing out his chest and displaying his formidable biceps, goofed off behind Terry Francona during the in-game interview in the midst of the fourth inning. Something tells me Ron Gardenhire wouldn’t countenance such behavior. My favorite part is how Ortiz turned away and whistled when Francona looked back over his shoulder, the designated hitter attempting to appear as if he were innocent any wrongdoing. In terms of drama this was one of the best games of the season so far, but unfortunately it was dulled by the plodding commentary of Joe Morgan. Just as I developed a filter when I was 16-years old that made me oblivious to my mother’s voice, I am immune to Morgan’s prattle. I was surprised how easily I could reestablish the mom filter. I called her right before the game but must...


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