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Essential Empy

Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “ejections”

How Lough Can You Go?

Joe Kelly didn’t get out of the fourth inning in the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles. He started off the season promisingly enough with a seven-inning victory against the Yankees but since then has struggled mightily. Kelly’s ERA+ is 70, the lowest of his career. Despite his velocity, perhaps he’s a National League pitcher. A Jeff Suppan with stuff. David Lough, the nine-hole hitter slugging .364 this season, clubbed a three-run homer in the second inning. At that point you could tell John Farrell had a short leash on Kelly. The starter gave up a leadoff single to J.J. Hardy in the fourth but then struck out John Flaherty and stifled Lough with a fielder’s choice. But Manny Machado’s two-out liner to left ended Kelly’s start. But he still has the rest of the season to polish up his resume for the Cy Young award… or does he? Dustin Pedroia went 1-for-4 with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. On the defensive side he sprung on Lough’s sac bunt attempt in the sixth and flipped it from his glove to Mike Napoli for a nifty play. Machado doubled off Alexi Ogando right after that to drive in...


John Farrell and Carl Willis weren’t yelling at Pablo Sandoval to get off his smartphone here but rather at Larry Vanover. The first base umpire ruled that Pedro Ciriaco didn’t go around but checked his swing and Farrell strongly expressed his disagreement. What is more disappointing, hopping onto a social media site during the game or calling a sacrifice bunt with two on, none out, with the eight-hole batter and pitcher coming up in the second inning? Not to cast a shadow on Joe Kelly’s efforts at the plate, or as the kids say today, “throw shade.” Kelly drove in a run in the fourth inning on an infield single. Jace Peterson didn’t think Kelly was fleet of foot enough to beat out his throw. The only other run the Red Sox scored came on Mike Napoli’s sixth-inning homer. At one point Napoli got red hot at the plate; perhaps this will light that spark again. In a Padres uniform Will Middlebrooks’s slash statistics are .233/.264/.403. Sandoval is doing better at .270/.323/.409, but the power numbers are comparable. And Middlebrooks doesn’t tweet at his fiancée Jenny Dell during games. They learned their lesson after tweeting a picture of themselves together...

Blanket Statement

Lindsay Buchholz visited Don and Jerry in the booth to talk about all the wonderful work her and her husband’s charitable foundation does for Boston-area children. You can read more about the Clay Buchholz Foundation and how they support charitable organizations that give aid to children who are undergoing critical medical procedures. It was cool how Lindsay got into the tense play in the third. Ben Zobrist singled to Yoenis Cespedes with Yunel Escobar at second base. Cespedes gunned down Escobar at home, which prompted an excited shout from Mrs. Buchholz. She was one of the few people that were really into the game. With both teams out of contention, Daniel Nava getting hit by a pitch didn’t elicit any opprobrium from the crowd. Buchholz hit Brandon Guyer with a pitch in the eighth but again no eyebrows were raised as there was a runner on and one out. After Guyer reached base he scored on Zobrist’s two-RBI double, which gave the Rays a 2-1 lead. Cespedes didn’t have a great read on Zobrist’s fly ball and jumped at the wrong time. David DeJesus plated Zobrist and at that point Buchholz seemed to mail it in. His pitches inside to...

Fiasco in the Fourth

The Red Sox built an early lead by scoring in each one of the first three innings. Brandon Workman had a disastrous fourth inning that saw the Mariners bat around and score seven runs. After Seattle pulled ahead Boston loaded the bases in the bottom half of the frame but didn’t capitalize on the opportunity. Brandon Workman was optioned to Pawtucket today and Heath Hembree took his place on the roster. He has lost all of his eight starts since June 27. He is the pitching equivalent of Jackie Bradley, Jr.; a young talent that just can’t consistently be successful in the majors. This youth displayed his skills in the first inning. His reaction to interfering with a ball in play was similar to Red Sox fans’ reactions to this homestand as a whole: head in hands in disbelief. Your browser does not support iframes. From the “there’s a first time for everything” department comes David Ross’s first ejection ever. Ross took issue with first base umpire Vic Carapazza’s ruling that he went around when he tried to check swing in the eighth inning. He thought he was awarded first base on a walk but then Carapazza gestured at him...

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

The contested neighborhood play that wasn’t in the second inning inspired this parody of the classic song from “Sesame Street.” Who are the people in your neighborhood?In your neighborhood, in your neighborhoodSay! Who are the people in your neighborhood?The people that you meet each dayWell, I play on the field, but not around the diamond. I try to position myself so that I can catch balls that the batter hits high and far away.I know who you are! You’re an outfielder!(singing) That’s right! Oh, a left fielder plays the balls off the wallBut this one should be caught and not fallHe also can throw hard and get an outAnd when he’s at the dish he can clout How about this person? Can you give a few hints about you do?I get to play in the dirt most of the time. When you play in my position you have to be able to move quickly left or right and not let the ball get past you. There are exceptions if you are close to retirement, though.You definitely are a shortstop!(singing) Yep! A shortstop plays in the holeAnd stops the ball before it gets on a rollBut he has to make sure...

Bang the Drum Lowly

I can’t blame John Adams for drowsing. The game was delayed two hours and 28 minutes and then lasted until the 12th frame. The Red Sox have been having some issues with officiating but John Farrell did prevail in the fifth inning. He challenged the call that Mike Aviles was safe and the replay showed that Stephen Drew’s throw beat the runner to first. A.J. PIerzynski was ejected in the sixth inning by Quinn Wolcott after Brandon Workman walked Asdrubal Cabrera in four pitches. Pierzynski claimed it was because he disagreed with Wolcott about when the game started. Perhaps he made a comment about a small strike zone enabling a quicker game. A number of Red Sox players lengthened the game with their exploits. David Ortiz’s two-run homer in the sixth gave Boston the lead at the time. Brock Holt’s two-run single in the seventh tied the game 4-4. Relievers Burke Badenhop, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara stifled Cleveland’s offense for five innings. In the 12th Farrell aligned the infield defense so that five fielders guarded the basepaths. There was one out and runners at the corners so a double play would have sent the game into the...


The Red Sox beat the Rays in runs scored (3-2) and people ejected (4-0). So why is it that the Rays came out ahead in batters hit by pitch (3-0)? Rule 8.02(d) entitled “Intentionally Pitch at the Batter” states: If, in the umpire’s judgment, such a violation occurs, the umpire may elect either to: 1. Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or 2. may warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager. If, in the umpire’s judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially “warned” prior to the game or at any time during the game. (League Presidents may take additional action under authority provided in Rule 9.05) Rule 8.02(d) Comment: Team personnel may not come onto the playing surface to argue or dispute a warning issued under Rule 8.02(d). If a manager, coach or player leaves the dugout or his position to dispute a warning, he should be warned to stop. If he continues, he is subject to ejection. To pitch at a batter’s head is unsportsmanlike and highly dangerous. It should be—and...

Replay Dismay

John Farrell went from calm dissent against replay to outright animosity. “It’s hard to have any faith in the system,” he said. “As much as they’re trying to help the human element, it seems like it’s added the human element at a different level.” Farrell was ejected in the fourth inning for questioning the umpire crew’s reversal of a call. With runners at first and third Francisco Cervelli knocked the ball to Ryan Roberts who tossed the ball to Jonathan Herrera to start the double play. Cervelli appeared to touch the first base bag at the same time Mike Napoli received the ball from Herrera, so much so that first base umpire Bob Davidson called a double play. Cervelli injured himself on the play. The game stopped for the injury and in the meantime Joe Girardi challenged the call. The double play was reversed. Brian McCann scored and Ichiro Suzuki replaced Cervelli on the basepaths. The score was updated to 3-1. In the eighth inning Suzuki made a remarkable catch on David Ortiz’s fly ball to right, so instead of a double play the reversal doubly benefitted the home team. The Sports Lip Reader deciphered Farrell’s comments upon his ejection:...

Workman’s Comp

Felix Doubront left the with just 3⅔ innings under his belt. The southpaw pitched well until the fourth where he got into trouble with the middle of the White Sox order; Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko singled and Avisail Garcia walked to load the bases. When Chicago scored four runs and the nine-hole hitter Tyler Flowers singled John Farrell finally pulled the starter. Brandon Workman took over and earned a win with just 1⅓ innings toeing the rubber. Farrell mixed the order of his relievers with Junichi Tazawa taking over for Franklin Morales with a runner on and one out in the seventh. Craig Breslow pitched in the eighth and surrendered a solo home run to Flowers. Dustin Pedroia’s togs provided visual reinforcement of his team’s name. He went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk, so perhaps the second baseman will go with his new look to support his superstitions. As part of September roster expansion the Red Sox added Quintin Berry, Rubby De La Rosa, Ryan Lavarnway, and Brandon Snyder. To make room on the roster Daniel Bard was designated for assignment. It is amazing to see the formerly heralded reliever fall so far from the ranks...

Plunk Drunk

All weekend I was wondering if a Red Sox hurler would take it upon himself to drill Alex Rodriguez. After 19 innings with nary a graze the first pitch Ryan Dempster delivered to the Yankees third baseman missed the batter’s legs. The next two pitches were inside and had Rodriguez lurching away. The fourth pitch found its target and Rodriguez’s ribcage will carry reminders of this encounter. The expression on Rodriguez’s face was a weak attempt at passivity, but I saw behind his eyes was fear. He was afraid his teammates wouldn’t leave the dugout and bullpen to back him up. He needn’t have worried. By the time home plate umpire Brian O’Nora sprang up to warn the benches his teammates got to their feet to show support for him. He took his base docilely, very unlike the 2004 game where he would have chirped all the way to first had Jason Varitek not demonstrated the virtue of silence. I think he was so relieved his comrades showed up for him that he forgot that he should be angry at the situation. Joe Girardi was plenty mad for the both of them. The Yankees skipper nearly clocked O’Nora as he...

Texas Throwdown

Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew have been names often mentioned in come-from-behind victories and last night was no exception. In the top of the seventh Gomes sent the ball over the mini-monster that inhabits Minute Maid Park’s left field. Drew smacked a three-run circuit clout into the right field stand in the ninth. Koji Uehara preserved the lead by striking out the side in the bottom of the frame. And there was much rejoicing. I think Jerry and Don enjoyed Texas more than they wanted to let on. Howdy, pardners! Mike Napoli even got friendly with Orbit. I’m not sure why Orbit would like Napoli as the fuzzy alien lists black holes as something he dislikes. I liken Napoli to black holes in a good way, as in he sucks up everything at first! This has nothing to do with his recent penchant to strike out or ground into double plays with the score close and runners in scoring position, nosirree. Shane Victorino had a frustrating evening with a single hit and three left on base. In the top of the sixth he struck out to end the inning the the bases loaded on Brian Knight’s ruling that he went...

Jerry, Just Remember, It’s Not a Lie if You Believe It

Mike O’Malley has enough self-awareness to know how baseball fans regard the interviews interspersed with the game. “Here’s everyone’s favorite part where the actor interrupts the action,” he quipped. The comedy of errors perpetrated by Jerry Meals seemed like something out of one of O’Malley’s sitcoms, but the impact on the American League East standings is more like a crime drama whose plot is ripped from the headlines. If the story seems terribly familiar it’s because you’ve seen it before. “Umpire Meals: Call ‘might have’ been wrong” said the headline from this article on MLB’s own website dated July 27, 2011. Your browser does not support iframes. Perhaps Meals was feeling a bit peaked after 19 innings and wishfully imagined that Michael McKenry’s tag missed Julio Lugo. Perhaps Meals didn’t feel up for extra innings (I mean, jeez, it could go to 19 innings again) and deluded himself into thinking Daniel Nava was out at home in the eighth, thereby avoiding the tie and another multiple-inning slog like he had in Atlanta. Meals’s call was worse than Nava’s baserunning, and that’s saying something. Nava didn’t play Stephen Drew’s deep double to right halfway between second and third, something that a...

Umpire of the Vanities

Tim Timmons had a rough night behind home plate, rougher than the Baltimore pitchers had on the mound, and that is saying something as they collectively surrendered three home runs. Brooks Baseball’s Strikezone map for Timmons demonstrates a few of the egregious calls he made. David Ortiz was particularly upset in the seventh as the 3-0 count turned into a full count on questionable strike calls. Ortiz went down swinging and didn’t stop swinging once he got into the dugout. In the sixth inning John Farrell was annoyed when neither Timmons at home nor Laz Diaz at third made a call on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s ground ball. Manny Machado tossed over to second hoping for the force but the outcome of the play wasn’t clear until Mike Winters called Mike Carp out at second. The confusion carried into the next play. Stephen Drew put a charge into the ball and it seemed to bounce off the top of the right field wall. He and Saltalamacchia rounded the bases wondering what the status of the play was. Nick Markakis relayed the ball back into the infield for a potential play at the plate but it got away from Matt Wieters. Was it...

Defensive Difference

In a low-scoring game often the difference is in the defense. Two Red Sox infielders made particularly scintillating plays, which made up for Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s erratic throw that allowed Brett Gardner to score in the fourth. Brandon Snyder kept Ichiro Suzuki off the basepaths in front of Gardner with a spectacular catch. Seeing that Johnny Gomes and Jose Iglesias wouldn’t be able to catch up to Suzuki’s pop fly, he dashed after it and fully extended to make the snare. Dustin Pedroia stopped Lyle Overbay from adding to his remarkable rejuvenation in the seventh. Initially the grounder got out of Pedroia’s control and creeped up second baseman’s arm. Living up to his Gold Glove credentials Pedroia kept with the ball, swooping after it to stop the leadoff batter from getting on base. He also ended the game by snatching Eduardo Nunez’s grounder for the final out. This sums up the Yankees’ season. Gardner is my nomination for the Paul O’Neill Whiny Yankee Award. Game 98: July 19, 2013 New York Yankees51-45 2 L: Andy Pettitte (7-7) 2B: Lyle Overbay (19), Chris Stewart (3), Robinson Cano (19)HR: Josh Donaldson (16) Boston Red Sox59-39 4 W: Felix Doubront (7-3)H: Junichi Tazawa (16),...

The Umpire Strikes Back

The Red Sox lost but not in the way you would have expected. Cy Young winner and MVP Justin Verlander didn’t baffle the Boston batters; he had a pedestrian line: 5 innings pitched, 7 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. Nothing worthy of a life-size bobblehead. Second base umpire Mike DiMuro made a controversial call in the bottom of the eighth. Avisail Garcia flied out to Daniel Nava, who seemingly made the catch but dropped it on the transfer from his glove hand. John Farrell contended that first base umpire Scott Barry had a better view of the play should have made the call and was ejected for sharing his thoughts. Instead of representing the first out Garcia stood at second as a result of Nava’s “error.” Bryan Holaday knocked a sac bunt to Andrew Miller but the reliever threw high to Dustin Pedroia at first. Miller walked Austin Jackson to load the bases with none out. Torii Hunter flied out to center to tie the game and Prince Fielder knocked a single up the middle to effectively put the game out of reach. The Red Sox rallied for a run in the bottom of the ninth...

Clap On, Clap Off

Jerry Remy’s nickname for Francisco Cervelli, the Pest, while apt, doesn’t have the zing that Boston Dirt Dogs’ moniker does. In response to Cervelli’s trained seal impersonation at home plate in the fifth inning the Yankees catcher was dubbed “the Yankee Clapper.” Give Cervelli a standing ovation, ladies and gentlemen. That was his third home run. In his career. (He made his major league debut in 2008 but didn’t have appreciable at bats until 2009.) John Lackey stuck a four-seamer in Cervelli’s spine when he led off the seventh inning. Rather than take his base the backstop made a move to the mound only to be blocked by Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s sizable bulk. The benches cleared and the bullpens made their way to the infield but no blows were exchanged. The retaliatory pitch bit the local nine in the end as Cervelli advanced on a passed ball, proceeded to third on Brett Gardner’s bunt single, and scored when Derek Jeter grounded into a double play. The extra run would yield the game’s final score, 5-2. It was amazing the brawl wasn’t more lively. The game opened with Curtis Granderson not getting a base in the first inning as home plate umpire...

Not Jaking It

Had Josh Beckett the run support that Red Sox batters usually lavish upon their starters he would have joined Jon Lester with double-digits in wins. He surrendered two solo home runs to two rookie infielders: Jason Kipnis in the first and Lonnie Chisenhall in the fourth. The Red Sox notched their first run in a unique fashion: with the bases loaded and none out in the second Jason Varitek swung at curve ball in the dirt. It was so deceptive that Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana failed to glove it. As it ricocheted to the visitors’ on-deck circle David Ortiz crossed the plate to tie the game 1-1. Kevin Youkilis tied the game 2-2 in a more conventional fashion in the sixth. His leadoff homer had a chance to reach Lansdowne Street on the fly but it caromed off the Sports Authority sign. The game threatened to trickle into extra innings, a seemingly common occurrence this season when the first pitch is delayed by rain. As the innings dwindled Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy finagled jackets from the Yawkey Way Store emblazoned with the logo for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. Youkilis was ejected by Gerry Davis in the eighth...

Sixteen Haiku

In honor of the Japanese women’s soccer team, nicknamed nadeshiko after a flower and the phrase for the ideal Japanese woman, winning the World Cup, last night’s (this morning’s) game is conveyed through haiku. May the United States women take this loss and let it propel them to the 2012 Olympics. 1Gonzalez singleLonely cloud in summer skyEvaporated 2Both pitchers dealingBatters dropping like mayfliesEphemeral lives 3Swift like summer stormsSix batters’ sound and furyNothing to show 4Dustin PedroiaLaser shows outshine the sunWait, that’s an orange 5Josh Reddick free passRare as a drifting snowflakeIn St. Petersburg 6Running out of waysTo describe futilityDustin grounded out 7Lawn without sprinklerKoi pond without without lily padsBatters 1-2-3 8Shower of glass shardsThe national pastime isEntombed like a corpse 9Professor FarnsworthLasers penetrate glassesLoaded base squander 10Hey, hey, hey! It’s FatAlbers! I always wantedTo make that joke. Ha. 11Three bases on ballsTwo strikeouts and a pop-upScutaro throws bat 12The twelfth was boringBut the eleventh featuredFeisty Red Sox fan 13Patient like a stoneUpton saw more than one pitchTwo is more than one 14Six innings had noBaserunners whatsoeverThis was one of them 15Three hit by pitchesOf course Youkilis was hitOne way to get on 16Pedroia drives inThe only run of the gameSing...

Lost the Plot

Home plate umpire Marty Foster would have been the worst sporting official of the day had Jacqui Melksham not stepped on the pitch of Rudolf-Harbig Stadium (also known as Glücksgas Stadion) in Dresden, Germany. The 32-year old Australian official bungled a number of calls in the quarterfinal match between the United States and Brazil for the Women’s World Cup. Melksham failed to give Carli Lloyd a yellow card for a handball but then went out of her way to make up for the error. In the 65th minute Melksham ruled that a tackle of Marta by Rachel Buehler was worth a red card and also gave the Brazilians a penalty kick. Hope Solo made a tremendous save on Christiane’s kick, but Melksham had the Brazilians retake the penalty because a US player encroached into the box. By all accounts such a strict execution of the rule is rare. Solo was given a yellow card for arguing with the retake. Solo guessed wrong on Marta’s kick and the Brazilians equaled the score 1-1. Even though they were a player down it took the world’s best female player until the second minute of extra time to pull her team ahead. Marta made...

Just Like They Drew It Up

The Red Sox wrote their first non-linear game story, a pastiche of 14 innings covering three storylines: Josh Beckett’s dominance, Jason Varitek’s and Jonathan Papelbon’s unraveling, and Alfredo Aceves’s perseverance. The first five innings of the game were a taut pitchers’ duel between Beckett and Trevor Cahill. As any good writer would, Beckett created tension when he hit David DeJesus in the foot and walked Ryan Sweeney on four pitches to begin the sixth. Cahill’s club, representing the young up and comers, tied the game with Josh Willingham’s two-run double. The local nine battled back in the bottom of the sixth with a three-run barrage sparked by Jacoby Ellsbury’s patented leadoff single/stolen base combination. Dustin Pedroia drove in the go-ahead run and Kevin Youkilis plated Pedroia with a double that eluded Willingham’s pursuit multiple times as it caromed around the left field corner. Carl Crawford, a pivotal character in late and close games, knocked a gutshot single for the third run. Beckett and Matt Albers added minor twists by allowing a run and an out between them in the seventh, but in a feel-good touch rookie Tommy Hottovy took the mound and induced an inning-ending double play. The traditional dramatic...


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