Let's Talk about the manager -- The John Farrell Thread

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Dave Stapleton

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So it's been awhile since I've started a main board thread. I have really enjoyed Farrell's style to date but it was listening to him during his pre-game interview with O'Brien which drove me to start the thread.

I was taken by his responses when asked about Hanrahan and Lester. Specifically he mentioned how Hanrahan has had a bit of "hamstring" thing and he didn't like what he saw after the two walks. Wasn't pitching downhill and all that stuff. He then followed it up with how hopefully the players understand why moves are made as well as the overall program.

He then went on to talk very technically about Lester and his adjustments, etc.

To say the guy inspires confidence is an understatement.

So anyway ... I haven't seen a season thread about the manager since the season started and given the move last night and the early results from Lester and the Buck I thought it made sense.
 

SouthernBoSox

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There are two things in play here.

1) Farrell is a smart, well prepared aggressive manager

2) Our last reference was Bobby Valentine. I think that, literally, any other manager in the game would look really good to us right now.

I think his work with the aces is pretty self explanatory. I also think Juan deserves a lot of credit.

What will be interesting to see in coming months is just how horrible Bobby Valentine was with his talent.
 

drbretto

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I also think Juan deserves a lot of credit.
 
This is key. I think this entire coaching staff is fantastic. It's easy to give all the credit to Farrell but it's a team effort. The pitching, the defensive shifts, I've even seen the batters making adjustments to their approaches between games. This is a very confidence inspiring coaching staff.
 
Farrell, though, is the leader of that staff and I'm sure he's had his hand in all of it as well. So far, he hasn't said anything I've disagreed with. I like his attitude. I like his plan. I like his adjustments and I like what he has to say in interviews. His press conferences are informative and demonstrate clearly that he has a plan and his plan is good. 
 
It's too early to proclaim anything, but being that I'm still young enough to not remember too many games before Pedro Martinez made me love the game, I do feel confident in proclaiming him, so far, at least the second best manager that I've personally witnessed in a Red Sox uniform. Obviously things could change. 
 
I'm usually pretty good at compartmentalizing these things. I don't think it's just the comparisons to Bobby V that are making him look good. He's making himself look good.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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In some ways, Farrell seems like a mix of the last two managers. If Bobby V had one good trait, it was that he recognized a hot hand and rode it. Farrell has similarly given Nava a lot of rope, riding his hot hand, and his use of the bullpen shows that he knows he's got something and he's going to be aggressive with it and try to steal games early. 
 
Loved the way he won game one of the Rays series. 
 
But, instead of Bobby's mania and oversized ego, Farrell projects the all-encompassing calm that Tito was the best at. He's never too high, never too low, and he answers questions in a way that shows you he knows what he's talking about, but he's going to keep some information close to the vest. 
 
It's also clear that he values communication in the way that Tito did - already players have talked about how he informs them of what their role will be ahead of game day and gives them time to prepare. I know some people thought the players were whining when they complained that V didn't do this, but I find it easy to understand how a player with time to prepare is going to outperform a player who's preparing for any eventuality at all times. 
 
Clearly, he's on a honeymoon right now, but Farrell earns high marks from me out of the gate.
 

JMDurron

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I think it also helps that, beyond Bobby Valentine, the worst area of the team coming into the year was pitching performance, which happens to be in Farrell's wheelhouse.  I'm sure Nieves is helping as well, but between his predecessor sucking, the nature of the adjustments that needed to be made, and the knowledge of the specific players who needed to make those adjustments, Farrell has had a pretty decent hand to play when it comes to making a good first impression.  I don't get the pre/post-game coverage down here, but any comparisons that can be made to Francona's overall atittude and approach has to be a good thing. 
 
The real challenge will come when this lineup goes through a prolonged period of sucking, and good pitching performances are being wasted (6-4 with 10 solid starting pitching performances in terms of runs allowed might have been considered problematic coming into this afternoon's game, if only due to the implications for when the pitching staff isn't on a roll).  How well will Farrell and the new coaching staff steer the ship then?  I'm personally confident in the on-field management in play right now, it just has to be kept in mind that the context is helping us to see Farrell as even more of a white knight than he might truly be.
 
I wonder if Francona and Farrell might have the occasional chuckle at how well their predecessors in Boston set them up to seem awesome on their way into the job. 
 

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SouthernBoSox said:
There are two things in play here.

1) Farrell is a smart, well prepared aggressive manager

2) Our last reference was Bobby Valentine. I think that, literally, any other manager in the game would look really good to us right now.

I think his work with the aces is pretty self explanatory. I also think Juan deserves a lot of credit.

What will be interesting to see in coming months is just how horrible Bobby Valentine was with his talent.
Bobby is the lowest of low hanging fruit when it comes to insults and criticisms.
 
But I take issue with the extent of that comment in number 2.  Grady Little, for example, would look like a piece of crap to me if he was in the Red Sox dugout right now, regardless of Bobby.  I'm sure lots of other guys would, too.  It also sells the early returns on JF short.  He's doing well because of who he is and what he's done so far, and not just because Bobby turned out to be the train wreck that many anticipated.
 
Back to the Opening Post, I was also taken with how JF handled the Hanrahan comments.  I thought it was brilliant in its subtlety.  Farrell managed to throw Hanrahan a life line without making a huge deal of it.  While it's true that Bobby did nothing elegantly, I think a lot of managers wouldn't have so deftly taken the pressure off his closer...or at least tried to.
 

SouthernBoSox

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TheoShmeo said:
Bobby is the lowest of low hanging fruit when it comes to insults and criticisms.
 
But I take issue with the extent of that comment in number 2.  Grady Little, for example, would look like a piece of crap to me if he was in the Red Sox dugout right now, regardless of Bobby.  I'm sure lots of other guys would, too.  It also sells the early returns on JF short.  He's doing well because of who he is and what he's done so far, and not just because Bobby turned out to be the train wreck that many anticipated.
 
Back to the Opening Post, I was also taken with how JF handled the Hanrahan comments.  I thought it was brilliant in its subtlety.  Farrell managed to throw Hanrahan a life line without making a huge deal of it.  While it's true that Bobby did nothing elegantly, I think a lot of managers wouldn't have so deftly taken the pressure off his closer...or at least tried to.
Right. It's almost like you didn't even read the first point, which is that Farrell is a good manager. I think how well he does is amplified because our most recent managerial experience was so horrendous. I really don't feel that's such a bold claim.
 

iayork

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It seems like Farrell is a "busy" manager, compared to Tito,  who tended to pretty much set things up at the start of a game and then let them run out (until the playoffs, anyway).  Farrell's defensive shifts are the most obvious, but there's other things as well -- he seems to use the bunt more than Tito, and there's things like double steals and so on.  
 
But just about everything he does -- whether you agree with it or not, and whether it works or not -- has a solid reason behind it.  Valentine was busy too, but his interference always seemed to be just about himself, not about the game; making sure everybody knew he was a genius.  (Almost all of Tito's moves were defensible too, of course. That's the main reason SoSH likes him so much.)
 
It helps that a surprising number of his moves seem to have worked, too.  Victorino's bunt (and Iglesias's a few games ago) worked out beautifully, and having them swing away probably wouldn't have.  The shifts haven't caused any damage that I've seen, and have helped with one or two plays along the way.  That success isn't likely to continue, because these are percentage moves and some percent of the time they'll bite you, but again: Everything can be supported.
 
It's nice to see.
 

mwonow

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drbretto said:
This is key. I think this entire coaching staff is fantastic. It's easy to give all the credit to Farrell but it's a team effort. The pitching, the defensive shifts, I've even seen the batters making adjustments to their approaches between games. This is a very confidence inspiring coaching staff.
 
Farrell, though, is the leader of that staff and I'm sure he's had his hand in all of it as well. So far, he hasn't said anything I've disagreed with. I like his attitude. I like his plan. I like his adjustments and I like what he has to say in interviews. His press conferences are informative and demonstrate clearly that he has a plan and his plan is good. 
 
It's too early to proclaim anything, but being that I'm still young enough to not remember too many games before Pedro Martinez made me love the game, I do feel confident in proclaiming him, so far, at least the second best manager that I've personally witnessed in a Red Sox uniform. Obviously things could change. 
 
I'm usually pretty good at compartmentalizing these things. I don't think it's just the comparisons to Bobby V that are making him look good. He's making himself look good.
 
I agree - thus far, Farrell has looked really good, and I'm enjoying that "oh by the way, if there was any objective doubt that Bobby V was terrible, the team's performance under a new manager puts that to rest" is a nice side benefit.
 
Let's see what everything's like in August, though - this is a long season
 

reggiecleveland

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Rudy Pemberton said:
The entire organization seems to be on the same page again; and its clear to everyone who is in charge, and that he'll be in charge for awhile. Eleven games in, and no complaints, is a pretty damn good start. It all starts with pitching, and it certainly seems like the organization's long standing confidence in Farrell was for a reason. So far, so good.
 
Are you seeing a plan? Do you think they are long term headed the right way?
 

Van Everyman

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Which, loathe as anyone is to say it, is why the real culprit of 2011-12 isn't Bobby Valentine, chicken and beer, designer headphones, Ben Cherington or anything else -- it's pitching underperformance. If the staff in the last month of 2011 or for the duration of 2012 pitches up to snuff, we don't have this conversation.

I have a man crush on Farrell as much as the next guy. But let's not kid ourselves: the best asset this guy brings to the Boston Red Sox has always been the way he handles our pitching staff.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Anyone have thoughts on the running game so far? One of the big criticisms of Farrell in Toronto is that he ran into far too many outs on the basepaths. So far, well, I only have anecdotes and it seems that already we've had a few more outs on the basepaths then I expected, but that's the type of thing that really ought to be tracked.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
Anyone have thoughts on the running game so far? One of the big criticisms of Farrell in Toronto is that he ran into far too many outs on the basepaths. So far, well, I only have anecdotes and it seems that already we've had a few more outs on the basepaths then I expected, but that's the type of thing that really ought to be tracked.
 
Three caught stealing, one pickoff and four runners thrown out at the plate so far (B-R baserunning stats).  Victorino accounts for four of those eight outs on his own (2 CS, 1 PO, one out at the plate).  He strikes me as the biggest risk-taker anyway, so I'm not surprised by that.
 
My initial impression of the Brian Butterfield as 3B coach is that he's been very prudent regarding when to hold and when to send runners, so I was a bit surprised to see four outs at the plate already.  However, these are the four outs at home:

Ellsbury put out at home after breaking on contact on an infield grounder (3-2 put out on 4/1 in New York)
Victorino tagged out by catcher after trying to score from second on wild pitch (4/4 in New York)
Bradley put out at home after breaking on contact on an infield grounder (4-2 put out on 4/5 in Toronto)
Ciriaco put out at home after breaking on contact on an infield grounder (3-2 put out on 4/6 in Toronto)
 
Not one of those are really blamable on the 3B coach.  One was over-aggression by the runner, the other three were the player having a green light to react and hope the ball goes through or they can beat a throw.
 
Overall, I don't think they've made any egregious base running blunders thus far.  Victorino trying to score on the wild pitch is probably the worst, and if not for a split-second hesitation while rounding third, he might have made it.  None of the base running outs appear to have cost the team a win or a chance at a win (again, Victorino is the closest argument).
 

luckysox

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On Saturday after the win, Farrell said, "In those situations, we're going on contact. Even with an overloaded infield, we're not going to alter our attack plan on the basepaths in that situation," explained Farrell. "That's the type of game we want to play. We want to force the defense to put pressure on them. When you've got a guy with that kind of speed down there, any kind of ball that's not directly at someone, that's a pretty difficult play for an infielder to change directions and not only field a ball cleanly but throw a strike anywhere from 90-100 feet away from home plate. The contact play is something we use consistently." http://m.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/alex-speier/2013/04/14/managing-win-early-imprint-john-farrell-red-so
 
I'm not always a fan, but I think we can expect to see more of that in the future. The bad thing is, all 3 guys who were put out on contact plays were fast - Ells, Bradley, Ciriaco. I want to believe the man has stats for this and is playing the odds that are in his favor, but it sure seems like a lot of infielders who are drawn in or are half-way can indeed make a perfect thrown to home to get even a fast runner on a contact play. 
 

smastroyin

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I have no problem with the contract play with one out. With none out it is a bit harder to like. I'm sure if Napoli, wombat, Gomez and Ortiz start hitting bombs all the time then we'll see less of it.
 

Toe Nash

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The difference can almost be placed on Lester himself. The Red Sox were 8-13 in Lester's first 21 starts - through the end of July. He wasn't exceptional in 2011, for example, and they were 12-8 in his starts through the end of July that year. 
 
So on July 28 they were 50-51 with Lester going 8-13. If they had gone 13-8 in his starts (just a normal year by his standards) they'd be 55-46 even with Bobby at the helm and all of their other problems. They'd be 5 games out of the division and 1/2 game out of the WC. Probably no Punto trade even if Ben had wanted to.
 
Perhaps Valentine and the coaches deserve blame for not fixing Lester and they certainly deserve blame for lots of other things. But maybe Lester was just fighting a nagging injury or having a shitty year personally. Who knows.
 
I don't like the running into outs or the pitching changes every inning, and I didn't like giving Hanrahan the closer's job with no competition, but those are really minor if Farrell and Nieves are what is driving the change in Lester, to say nothing of any of the other starters.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
Anyone have thoughts on the running game so far? One of the big criticisms of Farrell in Toronto is that he ran into far too many outs on the basepaths. So far, well, I only have anecdotes and it seems that already we've had a few more outs on the basepaths then I expected, but that's the type of thing that really ought to be tracked.
 
Even in their best years, the Boston Red Sox in my lifetime have made me cringe with absolutely terrible baserunning.  I am convinced that if you composed a team of Cobb, Brock, Wills, Rickey in his prime, Tim Raines, Campaneris, etc. and put them in Red Sox uniforms, they would suddenly start running stupid.
 
This year, I have not yet seen an example of the moronic, mentally dull baserunning mistakes that have been all too common in recent years.
 
SSS and all that, but the team generally seems to be more alert and less prone to situational mistakes, so it seems of a piece with the general tenor of the team.
 

glennhoffmania

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The things I've noticed most so far are the basics.  The lineups seem rational, including who to sit against which pitchers.  And the pen management has been really solid in my opinion.  I don't think there's been a game where I scratched my head over why he left a starter in or why he took him out.  The big test will be to see what he does if Hanrahan continues to shit the bed and it's not just a tight hammy.  But I love the idea of Bailey as the relief ace instead of the automatic 9th inning guy.  What will be really interesting is when the Sox are up by one in the 7th against some tough hitters and whether he'd use Bailey then instead of saving him for the 8th.  But using Uehara in that spot would be totally defensible as well.
 
So overall I'm thrilled so far with Farrell and I see no reason why he won't continue to do a great job.
 

Laschelle Tarver

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Even in their best years, the Boston Red Sox in my lifetime have made me cringe with absolutely terrible baserunning.  I am convinced that if you composed a team of Cobb, Brock, Wills, Rickey in his prime, Tim Raines, Campaneris, etc. and put them in Red Sox uniforms, they would suddenly start running stupid.
 
This year, I have not yet seen an example of the moronic, mentally dull baserunning mistakes that have been all too common in recent years.
 
SSS and all that, but the team generally seems to be more alert and less prone to situational mistakes, so it seems of a piece with the general tenor of the team.
 
I think Victorino trying to score from second on the WP in NY was probably the most egregious base running error to date. I think looking at what happens anecdotally is very dangerous with things like base running. Quantifying it with number of attempts that are considered "aggressive" is very difficult (how does one define what's aggressive and what is not?), and then to truly have context, that would have to be weighted against the rest of the league. Contact plays with above average speed on third base are fairly normal throughout the league.

I mean, anecdotally, they scored the winning run on Saturday because of aggressive play on the basepaths.
 

JimBoSox9

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luckysox said:
On Saturday after the win, Farrell said, "In those situations, we're going on contact. Even with an overloaded infield, we're not going to alter our attack plan on the basepaths in that situation," explained Farrell. "That's the type of game we want to play. We want to force the defense to put pressure on them. When you've got a guy with that kind of speed down there, any kind of ball that's not directly at someone, that's a pretty difficult play for an infielder to change directions and not only field a ball cleanly but throw a strike anywhere from 90-100 feet away from home plate. The contact play is something we use consistently." http://m.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/alex-speier/2013/04/14/managing-win-early-imprint-john-farrell-red-so
 
I'm not always a fan, but I think we can expect to see more of that in the future. The bad thing is, all 3 guys who were put out on contact plays were fast - Ells, Bradley, Ciriaco. I want to believe the man has stats for this and is playing the odds that are in his favor, but it sure seems like a lot of infielders who are drawn in or are half-way can indeed make a perfect thrown to home to get even a fast runner on a contact play. 
 
This.  The contact play with the infield in is #1 and maybe the sole item on my early-season Farrell Quibble list.  I don't like it one bit.  It's good to have a team ethos but you have to have some guardrails on the fringes.  With the infield in, the defense is essentially trading an increased chance that you'll be able to walk home from third (a gift) in exchange for an increased chance to get you out in the smaller-chance scenario that they get good glove on it.  They're saying 'I want you to try it'.  Why play into their strategy?  The Sox have a lot of guys whose total package amounts to elite baserunner rather than pure blazing wheels; you need to be a true speed merchant to beat the infield in unless it's a LHP and you can get a huge secondary lead.  Honestly, if they want to call a contact play with a RHB, I'd rather they do a straight safety squeeze; instead of gambling that the infielder can beat me home, I'm gambling that the catcher won't throw behind my batter and nab the runner flashing down too far if the batter misses.
 

BosRedSox5

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I can never decide how much credit the manager deserves. A while back I read something from Rob Neyer where he said the manager had as much to do with whether a team wins or loses as the peanut vendor. I like Neyer, I respect his opinions but I think he's off base here. I agree that the day to day decisions like setting a lineup, or calling for a reliever... these are things that most anyone could do and you could probably randomly select a lineup every day and still score around the same number of runs.
 
Still, what managers have to do now is handle the media, prepare their players, run the coaching staff, delegate responsibility. A baseball manager doesn't have the same effect as say, a head coach in football, but it's a vital role for a whole host of reasons that have nothing to do with calling for pinch hitters or calling for the shift. They have to instill an organizational philosophy and get everyone to buy into it. That's where Ferrell and his coaches are doing an outstanding job.
 

LondonSox

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The most important thing for me is that he has sensible reasons for his decisions. It's based mainly off analysis, not old school bullshit which all commentary teams still seem to spew out.
This seems to be reflected in defensive alignment, pitching plans, hitting plans, steals etc. If you are making informed decisions with an advantagous outcome expected and stick to it, in the long run it will look smart.

Actually the comment I heard I liked most was re man management. That the pitcher has veto over the defensive infield shifts, empowering the pitcher to be involved and feel in control not confused and distracted by the big shifts etc. I feel a lot of managers would impose their will and have an unhappy pitcher on the mound. Especially with the likes of clay and his somewhat fragile self confidence, and the likes of lackey, who if not consulted and bought in saw a hit through an infield due to the shift would likely be a little bitch and throw a tantrum.

Impressed so far.
 

Hokie Sox

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I am on the "because he's anybody other than Bobby V" boat. Just about everything he's doing right now is being perceived as good- flip flop the record round and the story changes quickly.
 
And can someone please explain to me why baseball is the only sport where a manager is tasked with "clubhouse chemistry." It's almost as if we (the public) view a baseball clubhouse as some sort of elementary school recess:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urj6sMun4sM
 

drbretto

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Hokie Sox said:
I am on the "because he's anybody other than Bobby V" boat. Just about everything he's doing right now is being perceived as good- flip flop the record round and the story changes quickly.
 
And can someone please explain to me why baseball is the only sport where a manager is tasked with "clubhouse chemistry." It's almost as if we (the public) view a baseball clubhouse as some sort of elementary school recess:
 
I can't be alone in barely even remembering last year. In my head, I'm comparing him to Playoff Tito and so far, and he's holding up. 
 
But seeing that you DO have Bobby V's stint fresh on your mind, I don't see how you can put quotation marks around "clubhouse chemistry" like that. 
 
Now seems like a good time to bring up Farrell's usage of Saltalamacchia and Ross. To start with, Ross was signed to be more than a part-time or platoon player, if I'm remembering correctly, but Farrell hasn't been using him in this way. Presumably Farrell, in Ortiz's absence, has been reluctant to keep Saltalamacchia's bat out of the lineup. Which is understandable: Salty is hitting well and also walking much more this year than last; he may have made some real improvements to his plate approach.
 
But he looks just as bad as he did last year in terms of pitch-framing, pitch-blocking, and running-game control. So why isn't Ross--whose arm is a real threat to would-be base-stealers and whose defense generally is far superior--automatically replacing Saltalamacchia in the ninth inning of a one-run game?
 
Edited: for clarity
 

Reverend

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Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
Anyone have thoughts on the running game so far? One of the big criticisms of Farrell in Toronto is that he ran into far too many outs on the basepaths. So far, well, I only have anecdotes and it seems that already we've had a few more outs on the basepaths then I expected, but that's the type of thing that really ought to be tracked.
 
 
What qualifies as too many outs though? Which is to say, what should the base-running success rate actually be? It shouldn't be 100% because that would mean that they're not being aggressive enough and there would almost certainly be benefits to risking running a bit more to advance a runner. It seems like the appropriate percentage success rate should be calculable using linear weights, and it would be really interesting to see estimate appropriate percentages for the different situations. I've never seen anything like that done though--the closest I can think of was the study that said third base coaches don't send the runner nearly often enough based on the numbers because you get blamed if the guy is tagged out but nobody blames you for playing it safe even if you leave runs on the table (though that study ended up being highly contested, as I recall, although I don't remember why).
 
For what it's worth, and it's SSS, B-Ref shows 11 SBs and 3 CSs versus 97 SBs and 31 CSs, which would be a drop from 24% to 21% as a quick and dirty. It's interesting to note, though, that the team is #2 in both steals and caught stealing whereas they were 10th and 11th respectively with that percentage last year; I wonder how base running tendencies change over the course of a season.
 

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cahlton said:
Now seems like a good time to bring up Farrell's usage of Saltalamacchia and Ross. To start with, Ross was signed to be more than a part-time or platoon player, if I'm remembering correctly, but Farrell hasn't been using him in this way. Presumably Farrell, in Ortiz's absence, has been reluctant to keep Saltalamacchia's bat out of the lineup. Which is understandable: Salty is hitting well and also walking much more this year than last; he may have made some real improvements to his plate approach.
 
But he looks just as bad as he did last year in terms of pitch-framing, pitch-blocking, and running-game control. So why isn't Ross--whose arm is a real threat to would-be base-stealers and whose defense generally is far superior--automatically replacing Saltalamacchia in the ninth inning of a one-run game?
 
Edited: for clarity
I came here to post something along these same lines, but you pretty much nailed it. I trust Farrell and think he'll start pulling Salty for Ross here pretty soon.
 

joe dokes

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adam42381 said:


I came here to post something along these same lines, but you pretty much nailed it. I trust Farrell and think he'll start pulling Salty for Ross here pretty soon.
 
It sounds like a great idea, but in lots of years of watching baseball, I dont remember too many -- if ANY -- straight up defensive replacements at catcher. (not involving a PH or PR or NL double switch from a previous inning's PH ) So before we say "Farrell's gonna do it" I think that we should acknowledge that if he does, he might be one of the first. I think Salt. would have to reach Carlos delgado-Mike Ivie-Dale Murphy levels of catcher suckitude before it happens.
 

Max Venerable

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I've been a little unimpressed by Farrell's willingness to pinch hit at times.  This is a roster that seems to have a fairly weak back end of the lineup, and a fairly deep platoon type bench.  Granted I haven't watched all the games, but there have already been a few situations where I thought a pinch hitter with runners on base late in a game was well in order, yet no move was made.
 
I'm hoping he's just giving a bit of a leash to his starters to try to get them in a groove.   Long term, I feel like the optimal way to try to win games with this team is to be quite aggressive with pinch hitting rotations, getting guys like Nava and Gomez in for Drew, Salty and Bradley where appropriate.
 

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The current team is not built for pinch-hitting.
 
Until Ortiz returns, the bench is always some combination of Gomes / Nava /  Bradley / Ciriaco / Saltalamacchia / Ross / Carp - with 2 of them as starters.
 
- Pinch hit for a catcher - you have no backup.
- Pinch hit (or run) Ciriaco - you have no backup infielder
- Bradley starts? Opportunity for Nava/Gomes (whomever is not DH'g) - but you lose defense. No reason to do it if the Sox are ahead late in the game.
- Carp? I guess he's an option...but why?
 
I've watched every game, and I can't recall a situation where TF didn't react rationally. Here's where he's PH:
 
5 April: Gomes for Nava - DH  (8th inning tied 4-4)
7 April: Ignore this 13-0 Game
8 April: Carp for Gomes - DH (7th inning Sox up 3-0) Get Carp some ab's?
11 April: Gomes for Bradley - LF (7th inning Sox behind 2-3)
13 April: Saltalamacchia for Ross - C (10th inning tied 1-1)
 
That's it so far. As for Monday's game - the Sox have a 1-run lead with Bradley coming up with 1 out in the 8th. I think you keep your best defensive fielder in the game at that point.
 
It sounds like a great idea, but in lots of years of watching baseball, I
dont remember too many -- if ANY -- straight up defensive replacements
at catcher. (not involving a PH or PR or NL double switch from a
previous inning's PH ) So before we say "Farrell's gonna do it" I think
that we should acknowledge that if he does, he might be one of the
first. I think Salt. would have to reach Carlos delgado-Mike Ivie-Dale
Murphy levels of catcher suckitude before it happens.
 
Maddon switched out Lobaton for Molina in the 9th inning of yesterday's game.
 

joe dokes

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cahlton said:
Maddon switched out Lobaton for Molina in the 9th inning of yesterday's game.
 
He pinch hit for Lobaton. Just as he pinch ran for Molina on Saturday.
 

Max Venerable

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HriniakPosterChild said:
What AL team is built for pinch-hitting these days?
 
Not sure about that except in relative terms...  but we are so far off our pace for pinch hitting from the last three seasons.  Each of the last three years we have been 3rd in the AL averaging 97 pinch hit at bats on the year.  This season we have 5, for a pace of 67.5. 
 
Obviously this can go up over the course of the season, and maybe it will, but given the make up of the team I thought we'd see this a greater feature of the strategy rather than a lesser one.  We have less HR power than we are used to, and a better pitching staff at least so far, which could mean more of an emphasis on situational hitting to produce a key run.  I'd say we have a bit of a top heavy lineup, and we are carrying 3 valid catchers and several guys with fairly drastic platoon splits (Salty, Victorino, Gomes, Nava, Carp, Drew). 
 
I know you always have to give up some future flexibility in the game and sometimes defense to use a pinch hitter, but this team actually seems better prepared than most to do that to me given that Napoli can cover catcher, Carp can play the OF, Ciriaco can play pretty much anywhere, and the defense overall is strong.
 
Anyway just my observations, and it is very early, but potentially worth tracking here.
 

smastroyin

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You guys really need to get a grasp on your actual complaint.  The actions so far suggest that Farrell thinks that Salty is a better catcher than you guys do.  He may be wrong and that may frustrate you, but it's different than the idea that he knows just as well as you do that Salty is terrible but keeps running him out there.  
 
For all the complaints about his handling skills, the Red Sox lead the league in RA, ERA, Ks, and are fifth in BB allowed.  It's a small sample but it's the same size as your observation (confirmation biased I might add) and it suggests that whatever Farrell is doing with the battery combos is working so far.  Not to mention that Salty is swinging the hottest bat on the team right now.  As such, I think "handling of the catcher situation" isn't really high on the list of John Farrell complaints through 12 games.
 

tims4wins

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FWIW, the 5 pinch hits place the Sox in the middle of the pack in the AL for this year - it's so early. The complete list:
 
1. Tampa - 14
2. Houston - 11
3. NYY - 10
4. Oakland - 8
5. LAA - 7
6. Detroit - 6
T-7. Boston, Minnesota, Seattle, Texas, Toronto - 5
12. KC - 4
T-13. Baltimore, ChiSox - 3
15. Cleveland - 0
 
This doesn't take into account walks so I'm not sure about total plate appearance. But the Sox are certainly not an outlier. And once Ortiz gets back I would expect to see some more pinch hitting since it opens up the roster a bit.
 

HangingW/ScottCooper

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Some moves that I support:
  • When Brett Cecil was dealing in Toronto, Farrell had Gomes on the top step to pinch hit. This gave Gibbons plenty of time to get a Right Hander ready to face Gomes. Even if that matchup wasn't favorable, the Sox were far less likely to win that game if Cecil was still in it.
  • Pulling Hanrahan after back to back walks
 

Quintanariffic

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HangingW/ScottCooper said:
Some moves that I support:
  • When Brett Cecil was dealing in Toronto, Farrell had Gomes on the top step to pinch hit. This gave Gibbons plenty of time to get a Right Hander ready to face Gomes. Even if that matchup wasn't favorable, the Sox were far less likely to win that game if Cecil was still in it.
  • Pulling Hanrahan after back to back walks
Even better, re: your second bullet.  Pulling Hanrahan after back to back walks and then extinguishing any possibility of controversy by ascribing his issues to some phantom leg injury.  Did the right thing both as a game manager and as a manager of men.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Quintanariffic said:
Even better, re: your second bullet.  Pulling Hanrahan after back to back walks and then extinguishing any possibility of controversy by ascribing his issues to some phantom leg injury.  Did the right thing both as a game manager and as a manager of men.
Such a phantom injury that they even put him on the DL! 
 
Now that's some acting!
 

geoduck no quahog

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My last comment on pinch-hitting. The Red Sox have almost always (recent years) fielded a team of professional hitters. So far this year the anomalies are Iglesias (lucky) and Bradley (not as bad as his line, I don't think).
 
Catchers are catchers.
 
So, unless there's an obvious platoon split, a team like the Red Sox has no need to feature a lot of pinch hitting, Look at the current teams who lead the league. "Professional Hitters" isn't the first thought that comes to mind.
 
Me? I'm more concerned that there is no real speed off the bench to pinch run in the right situation. Ciriaco's the only candidate and he's a pretty valuable reserve to waste in anything but the most optimal situation. But that's the American League...which I can live with. 
 

The Gray Eagle

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The manager of the Red Sox is always the dumbest man in New England at some point. Francona only got treated like that a little bit, and he almost always had a reason for his moves. The guy before him and the guy after him earned that crown honestly during the duration of their respective tenures. So far, Farrell has been a lot more like Tito than like Littlebrain or Booby V.
 
As far as the catchers are concerned, Ross hasn't played in more than 62 games since 2007 (and had a 68 OPS+ when he did.) His plate appearances the last 4 years: 151, 145, 171 and 196. And he is 36 years old. It would be dumb to play him a lot more than 60 or so games this year. He'll probably get about 150 to 170 PAs this year too. I was very glad to see him catching Lester for Lester's first Fenway start on Saturday, that was a big game, and Lester did great and Ross belted a HR off Price. Couldn't have gone better.
 
My one gripe with Farrell so far is the hit-and-run yesterday with Salty on first and Middlebrooks with 2 strikes. From the very beginning, that was most likely going to end in a DP, and it did. Just seemed like a bad time to try it and was unlikely to work out.
 
But really that is a tiny gripe. Things are great so far. We needed a good start with all those division games to start the year, and we got it. We needed the pitching to be much better and so far it has been. We've got loads of home games in the next few weeks, so hopefully we'll keep rolling. Next time we lose 2 or 3 in a row this thread will probably be a hot topic again though.
 

Harry Hooper

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From Verducci's latest:

 
Among the litany of failures last year, this struck me as the worst:
not a single Red Sox pitcher improved in 2013. Most failed epically,
especially Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, Mark Melancon
and Daniel Bard.

Re-enter Farrell, the former Boston pitching coach who took a two-year
sabbatical to manage a nondescript team in Toronto. This time he
returned as the successor to Valentine, which is to say he immediately
was welcomed in the clubhouse the way Neil Armstrong was down the
Canyon of Heroes. With the longest spring training in history, thanks to the
concessions for the World Baseball Classic, Farrell imposed his will and
ideologies upon the team; he devoted much of his time to getting
underneath the hoods of the sputtering pitchers.

"Yes, I was able to be there in the bullpens for their sessions,"
Farrell said Saturday. "I don't have the time to stand in on bullpens
now [during the season] because of the time demands of the job. And
[pitching coach] Juan Nieves does a great job with these guys. But spring
training? Yes, I had plenty of time to work with them."
 
It is no coincidence that Lester and Buchholz, who were a combined 36-16
in 2010, Farrell's last season as Boston pitching coach, suddenly have
returned to form. Lester fell into poor mechanical habits last year and
posted a 4.82 ERA while losing 14 games -- only the third Red Sox
lefthander ever with such poor numbers and the first since Fritz Ostermueller
way back in 1936.
 
 

Quintanariffic

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Lose Remerswaal said:
Such a phantom injury that they even put him on the DL! 
 
Now that's some acting!
Right - it was such an acute injury that despite the fact that it was noticed in spring training, they decided to keep running Hanrahan out there in critical situations.  Must have really flared up after those two walks to leadoff the 9th the other nght!
 
As if no one has ever gone on the DL with the Hellenic flu.  Please.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Quintanariffic said:
Right - it was such an acute injury that despite the fact that it was noticed in spring training, they decided to keep running Hanrahan out there in critical situations.  Must have really flared up after those two walks to leadoff the 9th the other nght!
 
As if no one has ever gone on the DL with the Hellenic flu.  Please.
Or he told no one before then.


  
Mugsys Jock said:
From Verducci's latest:

 



Among the litany of failures last year, this struck me as the worst:  not a single Red Sox pitcher improved in 2013
Just to be a contrarian douchebag, I'll put Franklin Morales out there.
 
But the point still stands.
Little early to be making such bold statements about 2013, no?
 

HriniakPosterChild

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Would Tito have tried to steal an out or two in the 6th from Dubront tonight? I seem to remember his doing that kind of thing, but I may be misremembering. 
 
I was glad to see Dubront out of there after 5 shaky innings. That was the scariest 6 run lead in about forever.
 
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