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

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simplyeric

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smastroyin said:
The real question is what do you do with him if they advance?  I'm completely serious.  He looked like a hopped up deer in headlights on that stage and I'm worried it would be even worse in a World Series start.  Shades of Bronson Arroyo in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS - he did not get another start and was not sharp in his later relief appearances.  At least with his next start I think you have to treat it like he is Jeremy Hellickson.  I wish I was kidding.  It wasn't just the results.  That happens once in a while.  But, his body language was terrible even in the 1-2-3 first, he had no command, he didn't once seem to know what the plan was for each hitter.  The dugout shots of him after the second inning looked like he was shell shocked.  I hate to be "sideline psychologist" and I honestly don't know what was really going on in his head, but he just looked bad all around.  
 
I am 100% sure that I am overreacting, but you have to seriously wonder after that performance.
 
For the record I was and am a big fan of the trade and will happily take him next year, and yes I know he pitched great against the Rays in that game 4.  Maybe too much rest keyed him up too much for this start or something.  Who knows. 
 
 
A. who takes his spot in the rotation?  Doubront?  Dempster?

B. Peavy needs a monocle so he can see the pitch calls from the catcher, and then let the monocle fall away so it doesn't bother him while he pitches, or something.
 
 
 

smastroyin

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Nol he still gets the spot.  My point is that upthread someone said "he's no Hellickson that you need to have someone up and ready in case he melts down"  I'm saying they probably need to plan on having Workman ready to come in in the middle of an early inning if there is another meltdown coming, and the long guys ready to go to cover the middle innings.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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rodderick said:
 
Tinkering with his arm slot mid season is seeming like a poor move in hindsight.
 
Of course we don't know, and will never know, what would have happened if they hadn't tinkered with it. I don't think we can assume the results would not have been worse. Presumably they did it for a reason.
 

Reverend

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esfr said:
Over 162-game season Daniel Nava was the best hitter on the Red Sox not named David Ortiz - avg. obp. ops - you name it.  The best hitting position player on the team.  The best hitting outfielder.  I don't know on what planet THAT GUY is relegated to the bench at the whim of the manager but it shouldn't be this planet.  There is no slump to speak of - hell, in  the 2 games he wasn't cast aside like a bubble boy he posted the highest obp on the team - doing exactly what he has done all season.  The only thing that makes this more ridiculous is that when has played he's virtually the only one doing exactly. what he did all season.  If Farrell wants to get Gomes at bats he needs to be a helluva lot more creative than benching the teams best hitting position player. And Xander needs to replace Middlebrooks.
 
ISO. 
 
Someone (in the game thread I think) mentioned that it occurred to him that playing Gomes for Nava and leaving Napoli in against Verlander suddenly made sense to him if the thought process was that against a guy pitching like Verlander has been pitching, you shouldn't expect to get too many breaks, so it makes sense to go a bit power heavy rather than relying on the "grind it out" approach that characterizes this team. (I wish I could find the post and give him credit.) I don't know if this is how the decision was made, but I think it scans--Gomes definitely has more potential power than does Nava, although on the other hand, that power wasn't coming out in September anyway.
 
From FanGraphs:
[tablegrid= Super-Platoon ]ISO Season Since 7-16 Sept. Nava .142 .144 .143 Gomes .179 .196 .140 Napoli .223 .287 .400 Carp .227 .107 .150         OBP Season Since 7-16 Sept. Nava .385 .410 .400 Gomes .344 .362 .400 Napoli .360 .389 .494 Carp .362 .351 .400 [/tablegrid] 
 
 
Lose Remerswaal said:
It's been pretty obvious the past 6 weeks or so that he's not 100%
 
Could be. It doesn't appear to have affected his production at the plate, though, and he appeared in 23 games in September--only Pedey and Ortiz appeared in more with 24.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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smastroyin said:
The real question is what do you do with him if they advance?  I'm completely serious.  He looked like a hopped up deer in headlights on that stage and I'm worried it would be even worse in a World Series start.  Shades of Bronson Arroyo in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS - he did not get another start and was not sharp in his later relief appearances.  At least with his next start I think you have to treat it like he is Jeremy Hellickson.  I wish I was kidding.  It wasn't just the results.  That happens once in a while.  But, his body language was terrible even in the 1-2-3 first, he had no command, he didn't once seem to know what the plan was for each hitter.  The dugout shots of him after the second inning looked like he was shell shocked.  I hate to be "sideline psychologist" and I honestly don't know what was really going on in his head, but he just looked bad all around.  
 
I am 100% sure that I am overreacting, but you have to seriously wonder after that performance.
 
For the record I was and am a big fan of the trade and will happily take him next year, and yes I know he pitched great against the Rays in that game 4.  Maybe too much rest keyed him up too much for this start or something.  Who knows. 
 
I actually think you're on to something.  If the ALCS were to go 7 and the Sox to advance, Peavy's spot very well could have to pitch twice in the World Series, so it may turn into an important question.  
 
The question is, which is the real Peavy?  The one we saw last night or the one who pitched against the Rays?  I think there's a little bit of evidence it's the former.  That was his fourth playoff start.  He has been absolutely horrible in three of them.  Two of them were 7 and 8 years ago, which is a long time ago.  But if the hypothesis being considered is that he is emotionally poorly equipped for the post-season, the fact that he was great in one of those years in the regular season, decent in another, and then horrible in the post-season supports the notion.  
 
Also, of course, is the fact that he's unstable on the mound.  There have been some guys who are highly emotional who seem to be able to get results in the playoffs.  Jonathan Papelbon comes to mind.  Zambrano seems to be relatively balanced in post-season performances despite being a little crazy.  I'm sure there are others I can't think of, but I can also think of some of those guys who simply disintigrate or implode in that circumstance.  A recent example is Jose Valverde, who reminds me a lot of Peavy.  A bit more crazy, but the same kind of stomping-around-the-mound instability.  Whatever he does in the regular year, his temperament is just not right for the playoffs and he gets crushed.  Another recent example was that wild card game with Johnny Cueto.  I think guys like that, when the going is good, they can hold it together and achieve, but when adversity hits, they lose their mind a bit.  Garza is maybe an example of that -- he can be really focused and get in a rhythm, but when he goes on tilt in the post-season, it's hard to bring him back.  With the intense pressure, the long time outs, and stuff, maybe it's too much for guys like that.   
 
The divide between Peavy and Dempster in regular season stats is probably too big for the team to consider not starting Peavy in a playoff game -- on top of the fact that they gave up a highly likeable player with good skills to get him.  But keeping Dempster on high alert if Peavy gets another start seems warranted.
 

rodderick

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
Of course we don't know, and will never know, what would have happened if they hadn't tinkered with it. I don't think we can assume the results would not have been worse. Presumably they did it for a reason.
 
Command was his strong suit in Chicago and that has no longer been the case since September, which is when the change occurred. In his August starts for the Red Sox, Peavy pitched 39.2 IP with 6 BB. Since September he's pitched 33.2 innings with 16 BB. Also, I recall an interview with Peavy in which he said that while going back to his old arm slot made his stuff livelier, he would have to make adjustments in order to control it as well. Of course they did it for a reason, I just never thought losing the strike zone would be a concern with him, and it has been. Looking at the timeline, I don't think it's a stretch to say the mechanical change has played a role in his command problems, which were the main issue in his meltdown yesterday.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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DennyDoyle'sBoil said:
 
I actually think you're on to something.  If the ALCS were to go 7 and the Sox to advance, Peavy's spot very well could have to pitch twice in the World Series, so it may turn into an important question.
 
Not necessarily.  The World Series starts next Wednesday.  Whether the ALCS goes 7 or not, Lester would be lined up for Game 1 on five days rest.  Buchholz could go in Game 2 on four days (regular) rest.  Lackey would be able to pitch Game 3 on five days rest.  The only game where a fourth starter would be needed would be Game 4, same as the LCS.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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DennyDoyle'sBoil said:
I actually think you're on to something.  If the ALCS were to go 7 and the Sox to advance, Peavy's spot very well could have to pitch twice in the World Series, so it may turn into an important question.
Peavy wouldn't have to pitch twice, unless something funny happens and we have to use Lester in relief in ALCS Game 7 or something. Lester would be fine for next Wednesday, Buchholz would be on normal rest for Thursday, and Lackey would be on five days rest for the following Saturday.

Whether he should even pitch once is still an issue for consideration. I like Smas' proposal of giving him the start but the Hellickson treatment.

Edit: Beaten to the punch.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
Not necessarily.  The World Series starts next Wednesday.  Whether the ALCS goes 7 or not, Lester would be lined up for Game 1 on five days rest.  Buchholz could go in Game 2 on four days (regular) rest.  Lackey would be able to pitch Game 3 on five days rest.  The only game where a fourth starter would be needed would be Game 4, same as the LCS.
 
Ahh -- good.  Maths give me trouble.  I guess it all goes out the window if we have to play in an all-hands on deck type game, as noted by MMS.  I suppose even Peavy is potentially available later in this series if required, given his short start yesterday.
 

esfr

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Reverend said:
 
ISO. 
 
Someone (in the game thread I think) mentioned that it occurred to him that playing Gomes for Nava and leaving Napoli in against Verlander suddenly made sense to him if the thought process was that against a guy pitching like Verlander has been pitching, you shouldn't expect to get too many breaks, so it makes sense to go a bit power heavy rather than relying on the "grind it out" approach that characterizes this team. (I wish I could find the post and give him credit.) I don't know if this is how the decision was made, but I think it scans--Gomes definitely has more potential power than does Nava, although on the other hand, that power wasn't coming out in September anyway.
 
 
interesting theory...could be, but on the surface flies in the face of the entire roster construction and philosophy of the organization...
 

koufax37

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rodderick said:
 
Command was his strong suit in Chicago and that has no longer been the case since September, which is when the change occurred. In his August starts for the Red Sox, Peavy pitched 39.2 IP with 6 BB. Since September he's pitched 33.2 innings with 16 BB. Also, I recall an interview with Peavy in which he said that while going back to his old arm slot made his stuff livelier, he would have to make adjustments in order to control it as well. Of course they did it for a reason, I just never thought losing the strike zone would be a concern with him, and it has been. Looking at the timeline, I don't think it's a stretch to say the mechanical change has played a role in his command problems, which were the main issue in his meltdown yesterday.
 
Last night he had no command.  The ball didn't go where he intended it to go regardless of outcome (his two scoreless innings) or pitch type.  It was painfully obvious in the 2nd inning.  That happens to pitchers, and is often more sudden and difficult to quickly address in side slinging types like Peavy.  I was very worried early in the second inning from watching the individual pitch command and mechanics more than the results.
 
The hope I think Farrell had, especially with a veteran who has thrown 2000 innings with a 2.7 BB/9IP and a 3.20 K/BB is that the odds of him working past it and performing better than Dempster for the next few innings is better than the chances that Dempster would perform better.  That is assuming the hope for a rally.  Without a rally it doesn't affect the outcome and getting innings out of Peavy is likely a better option than maxing out your long guys early.
 
As down as I was on his command and effectiveness, and how much I would have gone to Dempster early, I think the reality is that he still had a reasonable chance of being the better option of the two, and with better BABIP/defense following the Jackson walk things could have worked out differently, and his 1-2-3 third inning showed that he wasn't completely done and useless.
 
I don't like bad command poorly pitched five run second innings, and I would have gone with Dempster to start the third (and used the slightly more valuable and inning limited Workman behind him), but I don't think Farrell's decision contrary to this was so far off that he deserves as much criticism as he has gotten.
 
In terms of Peavy's ability to be useful moving forward, I fully expect that his next start will be more like his typical start than like his disastrous second inning last night.  Except when tied to an injury, I don't think there is a close correlation between starters having one of the "just doesn't have it today" outings and their next outing.
 
I'm speaking without broad statistical backing on that, but for example the last 10 times Peavy has given up 6+ ER in a start (other than right before his DL stint this year), his average next start is 1.7ER over 6 and 1/3rd innings.
 

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esfr said:
 
interesting theory...could be, but on the surface flies in the face of the entire roster construction and philosophy of the organization...
 
I largely agree, and I've been pounding that roster construction/philosophy drum as a hard as anyone. The key here, though, is that it's not a huge binary trade-off of power for OBP; the genius of this roster is that everyone gets on base. That's why I included OBP in the chart--to let people decide for themselves if the drop off in OBP from Nava to Gomes was made up for in power (ISO). Some more than others, obviously, but Farrell is literally never stuck trying to decide whether to stick a below average OBP guy in, but rather he can choose match-ups among a bunch of above-average OBP guys*. So you're not completely abandoning the relentlessness strategy by swapping in the power guys.
 
That must be nice for a manager--I bet Cherington gets a Christmas card from him.
 
 
*Middlebrooks is the only below average regular over the course of the season, but he's .329 since July 16th, and that's still lowest among regulars for that time period. I'm thinking a team of hitters can simplify the decision structures a great deal.
 

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Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
 
IMO the game was lost when Pedroia bobbled a routine double play ball, which prevented Peavy from getting out of the inning down only 1-0. If Peavy was a mortal lock to implode after walking Jackson, he sure showed it strangely by getting a ground ball that should have ended the inning with no further damage.
The Red Sox win percentage after the Iglesias AB (the Pedroia bobble) only dropped from 26% to 25%.  After the Torii Hunter double, it dropped from 25% to 13%.
 

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Bone Chips said:
The Red Sox win percentage after the Iglesias AB (the Pedroia bobble) only dropped from 26% to 25%.  After the Torii Hunter double, it dropped from 25% to 13%.
 
But what would it have been if they turned two there?  Probably into the high 30's rather than mid-20's.
 

amarshal2

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IMO the game was lost when Pedroia bobbled a routine double play ball, which prevented Peavy from getting out of the inning down only 1-0. If Peavy was a mortal lock to implode after walking Jackson, he sure showed it strangely by getting a ground ball that should have ended the inning with no further damage.


1) the game was absolutely not lost. The score was 2-0 with 2 outs and 2 on. The Red Sox scored 3 runs and could have scored many more.

2) the result (a ground ball right at Pedey) is a nice thing to point to, but if you look at the process that led to the result you see plainly that Peavy had no command of any of his pitches. The result was probably nothing more than luck (and then bad luck with the bobble).

Go to mlb.com and watch the pitchfx location of Peavy's pitches. He had high school level command last night and Farrell left him in for 7 ER in the ALCS.

In my opinion it was not a defensible decision. It was no less obvious to me that the manager was making the wrong decision as it was unfolding than it was in game 7 of 2003.
 

Al Zarilla

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[SIZE=10pt]If Pedey makes the play, we're out of the inning down 1 - 0. Instead the inning finished down 5 - 0. Sure, Peavy could have picked up Pedey, as they say, but Peavy's pitchcount for the inning was way up there. He had a (severe) stress inning as Farrell calls them. He made the pitch that got the perfect inning ending grounder[/SIZE] and Pedey blew it. I’d bet even Pedey’s mother would say her boy screwed up royally.
 

KillerBs

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So it is Workman you wanted there against Hunter and, if necessary, then Cabrera and Fielder? I get it that Peavy was struggling, and this reasonably is a relevant consideration (despite what more than a few SABR guys will say) but how confident are you that Workman or Dempster improves your odds there?
 
Ross/Gomes tonight over Salty/Nava. Godspeed to these 2 bearded warriors, but that makes 6 (not 4) righties batting against Sanchez despite his conventional split. I do see Ross has little signficant career platoon split so it is not like he is handcuffed by righties. Ross's catcher ERA this year is 3.12 to Salty's 3.86; maybe there is something real there.
 
Hard to over state the importance of this one obviously. I trust Farrell will not be afraid to give 4 innings or so to the Big 3 out of the pen, unless Lester is absolutely cruising. 
 

radsoxfan

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Good to see Farrell make the obvious call and go with Xander over WMB instead of Drew. If you have two struggling players and you are going to stick with one of them, stick with the one who would require a return to his regular season performance to be successful. Middlebrooks' postseason numbers aren't even that much worse than his regular season numbers vs. righties. Playing him against Sanchez would basically just be hoping for a fluky performance.
 
As to the rest of the lineup.... I don't have much to add that hasn't been discussed already.  I think the Red Sox got to this point for a reason, and a big part of that was how they hit against right handed pitching.  I'd be curious how many times this season they willingly didn't start all 3 of Nava, Salty, and Carp in these situations.  
 
Overall, we're still talking about tinkering on the fringes and changing the probability of victory a few percentage points either way. Even though I'm worried Farrell might have moved those percentage points the wrong direction, I'll still be rooting like hell for Ross and Gomes to ride their intangibles to a big performance versus Sanchez tonight.
 

ivanvamp

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Bogaerts instead of Middlebrooks is a solid move.  I have heard from some fans that this is an overreaction, but I don't agree.  Xander is already probably a better overall baseball player than Middlebrooks, and during these playoffs, he's performed better (despite limited action).  It's not any sort of reach at all - it's a move that makes a ton of sense.
 
And with Gomes in LF, Middlebrooks still gives you a power right-handed bat off the bench if you need that.
 

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radsoxfan said:
Good to see Farrell make the obvious call and go with Xander over WMB instead of Drew. If you have two struggling players and you are going to stick with one of them, stick with the one who would require a return to his regular season performance to be successful. Middlebrooks' postseason numbers aren't even that much worse than his regular season numbers vs. righties. Playing him against Sanchez would basically just be hoping for a fluky performance.
 
As to the rest of the lineup.... I don't have much to add that hasn't been discussed already.  I think the Red Sox got to this point for a reason, and a big part of that was how they hit against right handed pitching.  I'd be curious how many times this season they willingly didn't start all 3 of Nava, Salty, and Carp in these situations.  
 
Overall, we're still talking about tinkering on the fringes and changing the probability of victory a few percentage points either way. Even though I'm worried Farrell might have moved those percentage points the wrong direction, I'll still be rooting like hell for Ross and Gomes to ride their intangibles to a big performance versus Sanchez tonight.
 
Carp was still on the bench vs. RHP when everyone was healthy and I can at least buy Ross having success with Lester against this lineup along with his defense playing up in what projects to be a low-scoring environment.  I just can't fathom how Nava, who was the best hitter on the team vs. RHP after Ortiz, is sitting against a pitcher with a pronounced split when the alternative is a right-handed hitter who's a mediocre (at best) defender.
 

riboflav

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rembrat said:
Has anyone asked him why he pinch ran WMB instead of Berry? Is Berry hurt?
 
I hope someone does ask him because I thought Buck was joking when he announced WMB as the PR.
 

smastroyin

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It was probably to justify bunting instead of having a steal on.
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(I'm kidding)
 

radsoxfan

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Xander pinch ran for Middlebrooks in the ALDS
Middlebrooks pinch ran for Xander tonight (with Berry sitting on the bench).
 
The situations were different, but honestly it feels like Farrell is outhinking himself with some of these moves. Is the pinch running skill required that different if you're up a run vs. being down a run?  Maybe slightly, but hard to believe it's enough to completely change your strategy. Did Xander's baserunning mistake in the 2nd inning spook him? I understand if he wanted Middlebrooks to play D in the 9th, but he could have just replaced Xander after the inning.
 
And holding Berry out is just plain odd.  If he isnt going to go in there, I wish JBJ was on the roster.  Will did make a nice read to get to 3rd tonight, but I think it's still a bit confusing.
 

rembrat

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Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat said:
He indicated that he likes WMB's baserunning
 
Thanks. WMB taking 3B there is a play that probably gives Farrell wet dreams. Berry is fast but maybe he doesn't take 3rd there.. 
 

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that was such a headsup baserunning play to take 3rd there, I don't know many players who get that base, but I'd think Berry or any of the speedsters would have without a problem.  Eitherway, smart baseball.
 

radsoxfan

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Rudy Pemberton said:
Isn't it likely that he simply doesn't want to burn two players? If WMB is going to come in as a defensive replacement and is seen as a better base runner, it makes sense. Berry is the guy when you really need a SB, and with a 1-run game, there was a chance they'd still need him later.
 
I suppose.  If he had decided to bunt for sure, you can say you lose some of Berry's advantage since you no longer will try for the steal.  I still think I'd rather have Berry on 2nd or 3rd base than WMB, but Will's nice baserunning play does give some credence to the idea of baserunning over speed.  
 
I wouldn't have given much weight to keeping Berry for extras though, far more important to maximize your chance of a run in the 9th there. If you think Berry is even marginally better in that situation, I think you go to him and then put WMB in for D after the inning.
 
If Will is such a good baserunner, I wonder why Xander pinch ran for him against Tampa.  He isn't really much faster than WMB (if at all).
 

smastroyin

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I wish we knew Berry could play the OF, because I've gotta be honest, I would love to have pinch hit for Victor in the ninth.  You can't really do it, he's a big part of the team, and you want his defense in the field.
 
But man.  I really really would have wanted to pull the trigger and hit Nava there, if I were the manager.
 

Bone Chips

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Are we really defending the manager pinch running Will Middlebrooks for Xander Boegarts after a leadoff walk in the 9th inning of a one run game? With Berry sitting on the bench? In a must win game? Wow.

I love Farrell, and I think he did a great job tonight. But he seems to have at least one moment every game that is a complete head scratcher.
 

Noah

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Saving Berry for extra innings makes no sense. In the scenario where the Tigers score 1 run in the ninth, the best chance to win is to have already scored an extra run in the eighth.
 

judyb

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Maybe if they use Berry there, the defense immediately goes into "speedster on base mode" and they're defending against everything, with Middlebrooks, maybe they lazily just go into routine bunt mode, and that might be what opens up the possibility of getting that extra base.
 

radsoxfan

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Light-Tower-Power said:
Do we know if Berry is a good baserunner or just a good basestealer?
 
I don't know the answer that that, but I'm pretty sure what Farrell thinks. Quite clear he doesn't think he is a very good baserunner since in two obvious pinch running situations he has chosen Gomes and WMB. 
 
Going forward, we probably shouldn't think of Berry as a pinch runner.  He's more of a pinch base stealer if you're down by one run in the 9th inning or extras and you have a runner on first base not named Pedroia, Victorino, or Ellsbury.  Pretty narrow use of a roster spot.
 

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Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat said:
He indicated that he likes WMB's baserunning
Plus if you put in Berry to pinch run you are burning 2 players. If the Tigers were to tie the game and it went extras, you might need Berry to steal a base. On the other hand, to address Rad's point, how bad a fielder could Berry be?If you pinch hit for Victorino in the 9th with Nava and then put Berry in for defense would you really be losing that much? It seems like he would at least have the speed to track a ball down. Is his arm such a downgrade?  Alas, it seems like we shall never know.  He truly is the Herb Washington of the 2013 Red Sox. 
 

joe dokes

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While this doesn't address the WMB over Berry part (I'd go with "base running instinct" concerns over "idiocy" -- X already had one baserunning fart, and who knows what he thinks of Berry), on radio they were speculating that the use of the pinch runner at all was because Farrell -- or someone else -- was able to directly communicate to WMB, "hey, if the bunt is good, watch for an opening at third base.  They leave it open alot/Cabrera can;t get back." 
Which got me thinking, Wasn;t Farrell the guy who was credited with reminding papelbon to pick off Holliday in the '07 WS? Or was it a different coach? (I hope so, since it only burnishes the "he's a genius beyond our level of understanding" pedestal upon which I've placed the manager.)  :)
 
With the lead, he also might not want to have burned two players right there.
 
EDIT: my own idiocy...X not WMB
 

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joe dokes said:
While this doesn't address the WMB over Berry part (I'd go with "base running instinct" concerns over "idiocy" -- WMB already had one baserunning fart, and who knows what he thinks of Berry), on radio they were speculating that the use of the pinch runner at all was because Farrell -- or someone else -- was able to directly communicate to WMB, "hey, if the bunt is good, watch for an opening at third base." 
Which got me thinking, Wasn;t Farrell the guy who was credited with reminding papelbon to pick off Holliday in the '07 WS? Or was it a different coach? (I hope so, since it only burnishes the "he's a genius beyond our level of understanding" pedesatl upon which I've placed the manager.) :lol:
 
Different coach.  The call for the pick-off came from Brad Mills.
 

joe dokes

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
Different coach.  The call for the pick-off came from Brad Mills.
 
Ahh. I'll have to find another avenue for jaw-worship. (I suspect that if another Coach did it last night Farrell would give him credit for it.)
 

JimD

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joe dokes said:
While this doesn't address the WMB over Berry part (I'd go with "base running instinct" concerns over "idiocy" -- X already had one baserunning fart, and who knows what he thinks of Berry), on radio they were speculating that the use of the pinch runner at all was because Farrell -- or someone else -- was able to directly communicate to WMB, "hey, if the bunt is good, watch for an opening at third base.  They leave it open alot/Cabrera can;t get back." 
 
WMB's comments after the game seem to support this.  Also, according to Sean McAdams on CSNNE, the staff wanted to get Middlebrooks some action rather than just throwing him into the game cold as a defender.  Probably not the best reason by itself, but defensible in combination with being able to send him in with a definitive baserunning plan for the bunt. 
 

Saints Rest

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I wonder two things about the WMB punch-running and subsequent pickup of the extra base:
1. Does Farrell see the PR as a way to get WMB into the flow of the game/warm him up for the defensive half of the inning rather than have him out there cold (both literally and figuratively)?
2a. Re: WMB over Berry as PR: Does WMB's background as a third baseman give him a bit more insight/recognition into whether taking third is feasible? On the replay that isolated WMB heading into second, it certainly looked like he had third base in mind and looked in to pick up on his keys; there was just little hesitation, merely an apparent increase in speed once he committed after rounding the base.
2b. Re: WMB over X: might this play have been discussed on the bench btw the coaches and WMB -- a discussion that couldn't have happened with X?
 

mfried

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radsoxfan said:
Xander pinch ran for Middlebrooks in the ALDS
Middlebrooks pinch ran for Xander tonight (with Berry sitting on the bench).
 
The situations were different, but honestly it feels like Farrell is outhinking himself with some of these moves. Is the pinch running skill required that different if you're up a run vs. being down a run?  Maybe slightly, but hard to believe it's enough to completely change your strategy. Did Xander's baserunning mistake in the 2nd inning spook him? I understand if he wanted Middlebrooks to play D in the 9th, but he could have just replaced Xander after the inning.
 
And holding Berry out is just plain odd.  If he isnt going to go in there, I wish JBJ was on the roster.  Will did make a nice read to get to 3rd tonight, but I think it's still a bit confusing.
1) Getting WMB into the flow of the game before inserting him defensively 2) "Teaching x a lesson" for his earlier base-running misjudgment 3) Demonstrating prophetic genius in predicting WMB's successful dash to 3rd 4) Demonstrating mental fatigue.  What's up here? 
 

Bellhorn

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Noah said:
Saving Berry for extra innings makes no sense. In the scenario where the Tigers score 1 run in the ninth, the best chance to win is to have already scored an extra run in the eighth.
Bingo. The only way the "Berry" run ends up being of less importance in the 9th than it would be in extras is if you win by two runs (or more) in 9 innings, in which case the decision is irrelevant. Farrell may have had a good reason for choosing WMB, but if it was to "save" Berry for extras, then this was simply incorrect.

This one is similar to (though not quite as obvious as) the common error of holding back the closer for the save situation in a tied game on the road.
 

glennhoffmania

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Re: WMB vs. X, at this point I wouldn't mind seeing Drew take a seat for a game and let both of them play.  I wouldn't have agreed with this a couple of days ago.  I know he's the best defensive SS but he looks absolutely lost at the plate right now.
 

Rudy's Curve

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glennhoffmania said:
Re: WMB vs. X, at this point I wouldn't mind seeing Drew take a seat for a game and let both of them play.  I wouldn't have agreed with this a couple of days ago.  I know he's the best defensive SS but he looks absolutely lost at the plate right now.
 
The problem is Middlebrooks hasn't looked any better and they're facing a RHP.  If they end up facing Kershaw in the WS, then I'd definitely bench Drew.
 

glennhoffmania

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Rudy's Curve said:
 
The problem is Middlebrooks hasn't looked any better and they're facing a RHP.  If they end up facing Kershaw in the WS, then I'd definitely bench Drew.
 
Right, but what I'm saying is leaving both WMB and Drew in there may be the best defense but neither are hitting.  Putting WMB and X in there gives you good defense and one guy who's hitting, and X can stay at his natural position.  Plus maybe Drew just needs a break.
 

RochesterSamHorn

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In the second inning, Ross has that collision at the plate with Avila, who stays in the game. Sox have Els on second and Victorino on first, two outs, and Pedroia at the plate. I was really looking for a double steal here, seeing that your two fastest position players are on and Avila was recovering from that collision. With that double steal, the runners on second and third would have forced the Tigers infield to play in and Pedroia's ground ball may have had different results. Just sayin'....
 
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