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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Castrovince: Lester, Buchholz Re-emerge With Guidance From Farrell, Nieves

This was the best hope among Red Sox fans regarding the team’s fortunes in 2013: that 2012 would be an outlier for the starting rotation; that the return of John Farrell would mean the return of performance from Lester and Buchholz to their former peak; and that any projections that included any influence of 2012 would be assessing the rotation too negatively. While it’s less than one month, it’s fun to see that hope be fulfilled to date.

I declared a couple of weeks ago that this is the “house money” season. Expectations preclude a playoff spot, so in that sense it’s like they’re gambling with house money. If things go wrong, whatever, it’s not like it would make a difference in the season. If things go right, hey, fun times!

But what’s so fun at this point is many of the major problems seem resolved on the whole.

1. Rotation. They haven’t had a starter give up more than 3 runs in an outing, which through 14 games hasn’t happened since 1990 (Milwaukee). Lackey is hurt but prior to that looked better than he ever had in a Boston uniform.

2. Chemistry. Winning often breeds good chemistry, but this team had good chemistry before game 1 and it hasn’t changed yet. They are functioning as a team moreso than last year.

3. Manager. Still early for Farrell, but he’s not Valentine, and that’s a lot. Players are giving him a lot of credit for their focus and preparation, and I’m assuming it’s not just talk.

4. Coaching. The staff is working together, not squabbling.

The bullpen was pretty good last year in general, so I don’t want to list them here as a 2013 solution to a 2012 problem. But they are kicking butt this year so far.

And despite not having Ortiz yet the team is scoring runs aplenty.

Hey, fun times!

villageidiom Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:00 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: john farrell, pitching, red sox, sox therapy

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   1. Dale Sams Posted: April 18, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4418507)
This is the guy of thing that I would love to know exact details on. Did Farrell actually schedule meetings with each pitcher and tell them "Hey, I noticed last year...this..this and this"

What things does Farrell do without stepping on the toes of his pitching coach?
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: April 18, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4418534)
3. Manager. Still early for Farrell, but he’s not Valentine.

4. Coaching. The staff is working together, not squabbling.

It's nice when the bar has been set so low.

   3. villageidiom Posted: April 18, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4418584)
It's nice when the bar has been set so low.
Full disclosure: I was about to leave before I submitted it, and went for brevity. But, yeah.

Another example of the bar being low. They are 6 games over .500; they never achieved that in 2012.
   4. villageidiom Posted: April 18, 2013 at 08:35 PM (#4418600)
@Dale: I'm guessing it's a strategy vs. tactics thing. I'd like to think Farrell is (successfully) tinkering with his pitchers. But from the article I don't get that sense.
   5. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 18, 2013 at 08:47 PM (#4418616)
1)I think a big part of it is that if Farrell says something, the players find him credible and respectable. I also think that when Valentine said something, it was neither of those things, in the eyes of many (most?) players. I don't know why, but everything I've ever heard about Farrell from Boston players (both while he worked with Francona, and early in his managerial tenure) is that the players respect him quite a bit.

2) He is a former pitcher, and I've always assumed a former pitcher is more credible to a current pitcher than, say, some other background.

3) Valentine was a dead man walking in Boston really early in the season. A week into the season, talk radio was already taking bets on whether or not he would make it through the season. The bar truly was low for Farrell entering 2013.
   6. Jose Remains The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 18, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4418627)
There was talk that Valentine and Mike Aviles had problems in spring training and Aviles seems to have been well respected as a professional. I think Valentine completely buried himself calling out Youk in the press on Patriot's Day weekend. Regardless of what the guy is doing it seems pretty rash to go public with concerns 10 days into the season.

I think (and I'm just a schlub on the street with no inside info) that the guys in the clubhouse saw that and said "this guy doesn't have my back, I'm not trusting him" and things spiralled from there.
   7. snowles Posted: April 18, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4418674)
And yet when he was the Jays coach, almost every pitcher's arm fell off, or were bad enough I wished their arm had fallen off.

I don't know why, but everything I've ever heard about Farrell from Boston players (both while he worked with Francona, and early in his managerial tenure) is that the players respect him quite a bit.

Winning covers up a lot of warts; he had beefs with more than one Jay players in his two years there, most notably Omar Visquel - only made worse by both he and the team phoning in the last couple months of 2012.

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