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

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JMDurron

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I was hoping to see Morales in the 9th of a 8-0 game, because the only thing worse than a mediocre reliever is a rusty mediocre reliever.  Letting the 2nd tier guys in the bullpen sit idle for 5-6 days at a time is necessary when you play a bunch of consecutive tight games with extra postseason off days, but I don't think it is likely to make them more effective in the unfortunate circumstance where they are needed. 
 
Since it's entirely likely that any combination of Lackey, Peavy, or Buchholz could be knocked out (or run out of gas) early enough to require the use of most of the bullpen, I would have liked to see at least 2 of Dempster/Morales/Doubront get a couple of batters in the last two innings just to get some work in.  Uehara, Tazawa, and Breslow haven't exactly been sitting idle due to how the ALCS played out, so I would have preferred to see all 3 of them rested to give opportunities to the back end guys.  Since Workman also pitched in Game 6 of the ALCS, I wasn't as concerned about him getting some work in in his case.
 
It's a relatively minor quibble, and I can see the value in getting Tazawa an initial taste of the World Series in a low-leverage situation, I just hope that we don't end up needing Morales to come in and throw strikes after not pitching for a week in Game 3 or Game 4.  He's not exactly reliable to begin with, but the rust factor seems to me like an added risk factor that could have been avoided by giving him 1-2 batters last night. 
 

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More than anything, this discussion is reminding me of Farrell's comments about how a pitcher who can get you 21 outs is wildly more valuable than one who can only reliably get you 18.
 

chrisfont9

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JMDurron said:
I was hoping to see Morales in the 9th of a 8-0 game, because the only thing worse than a mediocre reliever is a rusty mediocre reliever.  Letting the 2nd tier guys in the bullpen sit idle for 5-6 days at a time is necessary when you play a bunch of consecutive tight games with extra postseason off days, but I don't think it is likely to make them more effective in the unfortunate circumstance where they are needed. 
 
Since it's entirely likely that any combination of Lackey, Peavy, or Buchholz could be knocked out (or run out of gas) early enough to require the use of most of the bullpen, I would have liked to see at least 2 of Dempster/Morales/Doubront get a couple of batters in the last two innings just to get some work in.  Uehara, Tazawa, and Breslow haven't exactly been sitting idle due to how the ALCS played out, so I would have preferred to see all 3 of them rested to give opportunities to the back end guys.  Since Workman also pitched in Game 6 of the ALCS, I wasn't as concerned about him getting some work in in his case.
 
It's a relatively minor quibble, and I can see the value in getting Tazawa an initial taste of the World Series in a low-leverage situation, I just hope that we don't end up needing Morales to come in and throw strikes after not pitching for a week in Game 3 or Game 4.  He's not exactly reliable to begin with, but the rust factor seems to me like an added risk factor that could have been avoided by giving him 1-2 batters last night. 
Well, from a quick look at Morales' 2013 game log, he certainly seemed to do better with regular work, but he sometimes got hit despite regular work and sometimes pitched well after 4-5 days off. So I'm not sure there's a clear need for him to get in the game. I thought it was good to get Tazawa in for one out, get over the jitters and/or rust without any significant exposure to Cards hitters. Koji warmed up, which isn't the same as pitching, but maybe helps, and anyways he's been to the show. 
 

smastroyin

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I don't think there was any reason to get Morales in the game other than the idea that it would have prevented using other pitchers in the game.  As well, I probably would have ended Lester's night after the 7th (especially once Papi hit the HR), because if Morales can't take care of Kozma, Carpenter, and Jay (Kozma being a terrible hitter, the other two being really bad against lefties), then he can't be used any other time except in desperation.  Maybe I would have let Lester deal with Kozma so he could get the ovation.  Letting Lester go to 112 is ok I guess, it was a fairly low stress night other than the 4th.  But I would have preferred him not have those 11 pitches on his arm, because in a potential game 5 you are probably going to need him to go deep and it's probably going to be an even higher stress game.
 
So probably I would have let Morales start the 8th, get Taz up to pitch to Holliday if the inning got that far.  
 
That said, it's a World Series game, I can see the logic of don't risk dropping a game you have in hand.  
 

tims4wins

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I'm not worried about the extra 11 pitches - just look at Lester's game log - he is a horse. In September he went 111, 115, 116, and 123 pitches before 97 in his last start when they were cutting back. Then in the playoffs 114, 109, 98, and 112 last night. 110 pitches is his norm. He averaged 107.8 pitches per start on the year. I don't worry about those 11 pitches for game 5. If anything I think it means he is continuing to maintain his arm strength.
 

smastroyin

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Granted, but there is a reason they had him taper in that last start, right?
 
I wouldn't say I am worried, just that it seemed there was an opportunity to save him some pitches.  You could not put a Morales opportunity on any bigger platter.  You get a terrible hitter in Kozma.  Then you get Carpenter who is a good hitter but can be vulnerable to lefties - so a perfect chance to see if Morales can do the LOOGY work - Carpenter is 100% the guy you are most likely to use a LOOGY against this series.  And then you get Jay who sucks against lefties.
 
Add the opportunity to save Lester some pitches to the opportunity to learn something about Morales, and I think in a perfect world, this is what you would do.
 
This isn't a perfect world and things go wrong all the time, so I am also sympathetic to the view of not giving the Cardinals any life in the 8th inning.  But I think it's worth a short discussion.
 

chrisfont9

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smastroyin said:
Granted, but there is a reason they had him taper in that last start, right?
 
I wouldn't say I am worried, just that it seemed there was an opportunity to save him some pitches.  You could not put a Morales opportunity on any bigger platter.  You get a terrible hitter in Kozma.  Then you get Carpenter who is a good hitter but can be vulnerable to lefties - so a perfect chance to see if Morales can do the LOOGY work - Carpenter is 100% the guy you are most likely to use a LOOGY against this series.  And then you get Jay who sucks against lefties.
 
Add the opportunity to save Lester some pitches to the opportunity to learn something about Morales, and I think in a perfect world, this is what you would do.
 
This isn't a perfect world and things go wrong all the time, so I am also sympathetic to the view of not giving the Cardinals any life in the 8th inning.  But I think it's worth a short discussion.
Ultimately it's probably only fair to say that Farrell had several good options at that point and not enough innings to check them all off. Re Dempster, he tended to be pretty good for up to three innings -- only twice after the ASB did he allow a first inning run, and only 4 times did he allow runs in the 2nd. Which suggests he might have some usefulness in the WS as a 1-2 inning guy. Between seeing what he can do versus seeing what Morales, a second-lefty with a spotty record and far less experience, can do, it's not a bad choice to go with Dempster.
 

JimBoSox9

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Dogman2 said:
 
 And, yet, JBS thinks it might be worth making changes because, apparently, he isn't happy about the usage.
...
So, there is nothing to acknowledge regarding his point making any sense.  Using Dempster as anything other than a long man, after the season he just had, is not even worth thinking about, especially in this thread.  Farrell has used Dempster as the long man in all three postseason series to this point, and that makes the most sense.
 
I know I snipped quite a bit, but I had three questions about the above, which I believe are your core issues with me bringing up Dempster.
 
1) In the hours that the Sox coaching staff spent planning potential WS bullpen usage scenarios prior to last night, do you believe using Dempster in the 7th/8th inning of relatively tight games was analyzed, or dismissed out of hand?
 
2) Do you believe the Sox coaching staff decided to work around needing to spend those hours planning by just saying "let's do what we did the last two series, don't worry about it too much, it'll work out"?
 
3) Are you aware that Dempster was used for one inning (the NINTH, as it happens) last night?  Actually this is a two-parter: Do you think Farrell used Dempster because he's the lowest man on the totem pole (aside from possibly Felix, whose bullets are pretty clearly being saved for Clay insurance) and it was a low-leverage, mop-up situation so he's just willing to use whomever?
 
 
Edit:
 

...and for the rest of the night, Fenway Park was a giddy, collective hug. Fans occasionally looked up to make sure the game was still going, and then went back to giggling amongst themselves. 
 
http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/63287206/
 
I think he may have been sitting near me....
 

smastroyin

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Just to be clear, I am arguing for Morales in the 8th.  I was fine with Dempster in the 9th.
 

Reverend

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smastroyin said:
Granted, but there is a reason they had him taper in that last start, right?
 
I wouldn't say I am worried, just that it seemed there was an opportunity to save him some pitches.  You could not put a Morales opportunity on any bigger platter.  You get a terrible hitter in Kozma.  Then you get Carpenter who is a good hitter but can be vulnerable to lefties - so a perfect chance to see if Morales can do the LOOGY work - Carpenter is 100% the guy you are most likely to use a LOOGY against this series.  And then you get Jay who sucks against lefties.
 
Add the opportunity to save Lester some pitches to the opportunity to learn something about Morales, and I think in a perfect world, this is what you would do.
 
This isn't a perfect world and things go wrong all the time, so I am also sympathetic to the view of not giving the Cardinals any life in the 8th inning.  But I think it's worth a short discussion.
 
Farrell is an analytics guy, but he's also a player's guy. Is there any value to giving Lester the psychic boost of pitching deep into the 8th? Make him feel like that stud starter, so to speak, particularly when we know he's got best only one or two future appearances even possible?
 
It's a serious question as I don't know. But I think it's a possibility. Thoughts?
 

smastroyin

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Of course, anything's possible.  But I would buy that argument more in September or even his first playoff start than in the World Series, where he has already made a bunch of high pressure starts, and is going to get only one more start.  
 
But, it's also possible that Lester was hangdog after game 5 of the ALCS (they really really could have used him at least closing out the 6th, if not getting outs in the 7th, and Lester probably felt bad that he couldn't deliver even though they ultimately won the game) and Farrell felt a need to pump his tires.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Merkle's Boner said:
I also think Farrell handled the Reversal perfectly.  He didn't come out screaming like a banshee.  He was respectful and convinced Demuth to check with the others.  Perfectly played.  Also, his discussion allowed the replay to be played various times inside the stadium- not on the main CF board by he way- which allowed the fans to make it clear what an awful call it was.
 
Edit: Apparently they may have shown the play on the main board.  If so, I'm shocked.
 
They did not show the play on the main board (or any other board).  They had a shot of the press box and EMC/State Street club areas the entire time the discussion was going on.  They never show controversial plays on the board
 

dhellers

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Reverend said:
 
Farrell is an analytics guy, but he's also a player's guy. Is there any value to giving Lester the psychic boost of pitching deep into the 8th? Make him feel like that stud starter, so to speak, particularly when we know he's got best only one or two future appearances even possible?
 
It's a serious question as I don't know. But I think it's a possibility. Thoughts?
Lester, after laboring a bit thru innings 4 and 5, cruised through 6 and 7.   So why not ride that momentum as far as it takes you? Any stress, out he comes.
 

joe dokes

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Lose Remerswaal said:
 
They did not show the play on the main board (or any other board).  They had a shot of the press box and EMC/State Street club areas the entire time the discussion was going on.  They never show controversial plays on the board
 
As I recall from past attendance, the auxiliary press area is out along the first baseline maybe around section 8(?).  There are numerous TV monitors hanging down for the press people to see, so there are many many more people that can see the TV replay than is usually the case if its not shown on the big screen (Ordinarily only those in luxury boxes?)  That could account for the large delayed crowd reaction.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Aux press is in section 3 (and maybe 4), up high in the grandstand.  And they do add 2 or 3 TVs there for the postseason.  Many GS sections have permanent TVs for folks in the back 10 or so rows.  Most folks in the park cannot see a TV, but many can and they let the rest of us know.
 

kazuneko

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smastroyin said:
Then you get Carpenter who is a good hitter but can be vulnerable to lefties - so a perfect chance to see if Morales can do the LOOGY work - Carpenter is 100% the guy you are most likely to use a LOOGY against this series.  And then you get Jay who sucks against lefties.

 
A bit of an aside, but this is really isn't that accurate..
Carpenter is clearly a better hitter against RHP but he is still a damn, good hitter against LHP (career .808 OPS vs. LHP and even better in 2013: 354/.467/.820).
In fact, the only players in this line-up where the use of a  LOOGY would be particularly strategic are Matt Adams (.654 OPS vs. LHP/ .876 OPS vs. RHP) and Jon Jay (.620 OPS vs. LHP/ .749 OPS vs. RHP) .

 

 
 

smastroyin

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I don't think you are going to waste a pitcher trying to get Jon Jay out.
 
Adams won't be playing in St. Louis unless Craig isn't healthy.  Obviously you might LOOGY him if he's used as a PH.
 
I think you would use any edge you could to shut down Carpenter in a key moment.  Therefore, I stand by my statement that he is the guy you are most likely to use a LOOGY for.  I didn't say he was the guy that you were most likely to shut down with a LOOGY.
 

JimD

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Horrid bullpen management tonight.  Should have brought Taz in after the Descalso walk.  Breslow did not look right out there.
 

KillerBs

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Nava has to PH for Drew in the 7th.

And one batter too late with Breslow. He got complacent, which is understandable, but still a mistake, I think. No good reason not to get the platoon advantage in that AB.
 

JimD

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Breslow looked like a deer in the headlights out there.  He gave Salty no chance to make a throw to third.  
 

Orel Miraculous

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CaptainLaddie said:
I fucking hate bullpen usage.  Use Koji when you pulled Lackey.  Deal with the 9th in the 9th.  Get the fucking outs when it matters.  FUCK.
 
Yup.  The first team to figure this out is going to pickup 5 extra wins over a season just because of more effective usage.
 

czar

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Rudy Pemberton said:
All these seem like a stretch to me. Breslow has been nails all year, why lift him after a 3-2 walk to the first hitter he faced, who laid off a tough pitch? Tough spot for him anyways coming in with runners on, but he's usually answered the challenge and then made a stupid error.
No he hasn't; people are selectively remembering one game from the TB series.

Breslow posted a 4.37 xFIP (thanks to medicore whiff rates) during the regular season. He was aided tremendously by a .254 BABIP and 80+% LOB%.

His xFIP in the playoffs is 5.12. He's walked nearly 1 out of every 5 batters he's faced. That's bad.

I get that you need to use him since he's probably your best lefty in the pen given Morales; but Farrell is playing with fire when he ignores platoon splits and tosses Breslow out there expecting him to get multiple outs without issue.
 

Just a bit outside

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JimD said:
Horrid bullpen management tonight.  Should have brought Taz in after the Descalso walk.  Breslow did not look right out there.
I disagree.  I think he went to Breslow at the right time and should leave him in to face Carpenter after the walk.  The walk to a number nine hitter is awful as well as leaving him in to face Beltran.  Watching the post game Beltran said it was harder to swing left handed, would have been nice to know that before the game.
 

CaptainLaddie

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Honestly? You get him up once Lackey allows a runner.  You have a one run lead.  Then you pull the whole "catcher checks on the pitcher" and the slow walk back to the plate.
 
It's ridiculous.  Get him in when it matters.
 

wilked

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I thought that Farrell did fine.  He brought the right guy in at the right time (check the game thread, every single poster agreed with the move, and I can't remember anyone calling for Koji there).  Should he have pulled Breslow out after his errant throw?  I think his error and hit pitching are not that inter-related, maybe others think otherwise.  In the end it seems it wouldn't have mattered.  
 

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I know I'm restating the obvious, but sometimes guys don't perform and it's not the manager's fault.

Maybe I shouldn't be posting this in the "It's the Manager's Fault" thread.
 

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The horrible play was initiated with an off-line throw from Gomes.  It has been a mystery how the myth of Gomes's defensive superiority has gone unchallenged.  Sit the man down.
 

JimBoSox9

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How do you know it won't matter in the 8th or the 9th?


Chicken and egg. You'd rather save your best guy for later than use him to put out a small-to-medium fire earlier. You'd rather use your best guy to put out a large fire early than save him for later. Sometimes fires go from small to large faster than all the mound visits in the world can handle. As a kicker, you really don't want to get your guy up throwing any more than you have to*.

So, my question is: what's the cut-off line between "the manager should have seen this coming and gotten the fireman up" and "this happened too fast to reshuffle your leverage deck?"


*Someday someone with pull will decide that warmup pitches need to be charted, or I will die an unhappy man.
 

swingin val

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JimD said:
Breslow looked like a deer in the headlights out there.  He gave Salty no chance to make a throw to third.  
That stolen base was on both of them. They got a good jump off Breslow, but if Salty handles that high pitch properly they have a decent chance at throwing him out.
 

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swingin val said:
That stolen base was on both of them. They got a good jump off Breslow, but if Salty handles that high pitch properly they have a decent chance at throwing him out.
 
Especially with a left handed hitter up. You don't have to throw around a batter there.
 

JimD

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swingin val said:
That stolen base was on both of them. They got a good jump off Breslow, but if Salty handles that high pitch properly they have a decent chance at throwing him out.
 
I haven't watched the replay, but that pitch almost went over Salty's head IIRC.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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JimD said:
 
I haven't watched the replay, but that pitch almost went over Salty's head IIRC.
 
It wasn't that high.  To my eye, it wasn't too far off of being a pitch-out pitch.  Salty just botched the transfer out of his glove.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Mr. Wednesday said:
 
It wasn't that high.  To my eye, it wasn't too far off of being a pitch-out pitch.  Salty just botched the transfer out of his glove.
Thats actually not a bad pitch to throw on as he's already out of his crouch when he catches it. He just needs to make the transfer cleanly.
 

EllisTheRimMan

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Al Zarilla said:
Farrell's already said he'd be in LF in St Louis. Next game?
 
I believe, and I stated this on here in the past, that this decision was made well before tonight's game (win or lose... 8-0 or 7-1).  Deep depth forces some odd decisions that we'll over analyze, but Gomes starting in the friendly confines of LF in Fenway and Nava roaming the expanses of LF in Busch seemed like a no brainer if you want both to get significant playing time against a staff with all right handed SP's.  The key dilemma is, when if ever do we see Carp... Papi at first and Napoli sits... I don't think you sit Victorino and put Nava in RF and Carp in left unless Vic is hurt or goes 0-million.  Deep depth may not work so well in the playoffs... it's the kind of team construction that needs to play out over 30-50 games.
 

EllisTheRimMan

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Koufax said:
The horrible play was initiated with an off-line throw from Gomes.  It has been a mystery how the myth of Gomes's defensive superiority has gone unchallenged.  Sit the man down.
 
There was absolutely nothing wrong with that play until Breslow throws it into the stands... sac fly with 1 out and bases juiced... oh well... that's baseball.  Gomes made a decent throw, Salty decided that he might cut down the tying run by staying put and trying a sweep tag (good baseball calculus, IMHO) and Breslow backed it up (good fundamentals) at this point... STOP!!!! STOP!!!!
 
Then, Craig "The Eli" decides that since the run scored and it is tied, he needs to get the Sox out of this inning by gunning down the runner at 3rd... Ballgame.  When he throws that ball away there were 2 outs and the scored tied at 2.  Go back to the mound and get the next guy.  I'll say it again... 2 outs.  Gomes had nothing to do with the debacle in the 7th.  Maybe that's why his pretty good, but slightly off-line throw has gone unchallenged.
 

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Should have been 2-2 but that errant throw was a killer. They are missing a left-handed reliever since Thornton wasn't a viable replacement for Miller. It reared its ugly head tonight. Almost happened the other day against Detroit when Breslow also got in trouble and managed to escape also in relief of Lackey. Bottom line Breslow just didn't execute but the best option against the LH Descalso.
 
The 9th inning seemed backwards to me as well. I'd have hit Nava who is a much better hitter vs. RHP for Gomes, and used Carp with hopefully a chance to tie the game for Drew, and still use him even if no one is on for Drew.
 
Last, more on a comment on Gomes, but didn't like his set up on the throw to home which was off-line and not a great play by Salty to keep his foot on the plate given there was little chance of a tag-out.
 

kieckeredinthehead

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EllisTheRimMan said:
 
Deep depth may not work so well in the playoffs... it's the kind of team construction that needs to play out over 30-50 games.
 
Are you sure? They're 8-4 in the postseason. That seems like a pretty good indication that this construction is working.
 
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