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Friday, September 23, 2016

Playoff Farrell

For years we had the treat of watching Terry Francona execute his “Playoff Tito” persona.  Even in the great run of 2013 it seemed that sometimes John Farrell was a bit cautious with his bullpen.  In this nine game winning streak, and even going back to the Toronto series, I think we have started to see a real “Playoff Farrell” at work.

9/16 - Sox 7 - Yankees 4 - Kimbrel comes in before it is a save situation to finish it in the ninth.
9/17 - Sox 6 - Yankees 5 - Kimbrel 4 out save.
9/20 - Sox 5 - Orioles 2 - He uses Barnes for one batter, then gets Ziegler to retire Jones (albeit on a 400 foot fly ball) in the seventh.
9/21 - Sox 5 - Orioles 1 - Again uses Kimbrel in a non-save situation in the ninth before it gets hairy.

Then tonight he was not screwing around.  He had Hembree warming in the bullpen in the fourth inning.  Pomeranz wasn’t sharp but he wasn’t bad and it was a 2-1 game and still early.  Finally he lifted Pomeranz after 5 IP, 4 hits and 1 run (no walks) and just 78 pitches.

Look, this isn’t rocket science and I’m not saying John Farrell is suddenly a Sparky Anderson/Casey Stengel hybrid.  However, he has been a lot more aggressive recently.  Even little moves like sending Benintendi to pinch hit in the 8th or the way he has elevated Robby Scott to his featured LOOGY.  It would not be outrageous for a manager to rely on a veteran mid-season like Abad and trust him to work through his issues (remember Eric Gagne’s late 2007 usage?) but Farrell has in my opinion managed this team magnificently during this stretch.

The fact is the Sox now have 90 wins.  John Farrell has his critics god knows but he has this team positioned to win a second division in four years (2014 & 2015 didn’t happen so it’s OK) and if you want to criticize him, please do but I want to know how many games you think they should have won at this point.  However, the manager’s job is to win as many games as he can with his team and this team looks like a team maxing it’s potential and they are hot at the right time.

Managing tonight’s game with Kimbrel and Koji not available he didn’t screw around working through Kelly (who is assuaging my fears quickly), Ross, Barnes, Scott and finally Ziegler to get through it.

Players win and players lose.  But John Farrell deserves a lot of credit for where this team is today (but Bannister still gets my non-existent vote for MoY).

Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 23, 2016 at 10:06 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 24, 2016 at 09:58 AM (#5305970)
I like that he took Pomeranz out after 5 innings. The stat sheet (78 pitches, 1 ER) suggested keeping him in, but:

1) he was very fortunate to get out of there with one earned run
2) his velocity is down into the 85-87 range
3) If you want any chance of having a decent Pomeranz for the playoffs, you have to manage his innings right now. He is 40+ innings over his prior season high. The team has him for two more years after this, and would like to be able to rely on him for a quality 150+ innings next year.

I'm not as anti-Farrell as many here appear to be. He's been giving everybody days off over the last few weeks, Kimbrel and Uehara look fantastic, Porcello has been amazing, and how can you not be excited about an outfield in 2017 of Benintendi, Bradley, and Betts, with Bogaerts and Moncada on the left side of the infield, and Pedroia and Hanley on the right side? The team has integrated an awful lot of young talent while winning 90+ games, and Farrell has to get some credit for that. Also, he didn't allow Panda's contract to get in the way of starting Shaw this year. Overall, I've got no complaints.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: September 24, 2016 at 10:02 AM (#5305973)
Some of these moves seem to be influenced by the expanded rosters as much as they are by a playoff mentality.
   3. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 24, 2016 at 10:31 AM (#5305981)
SBPT - The one thing I'll say is I don't think Moncada is your third baseman next year, at least to start. He looks very much like a guy who would do well at AAA. It seems to me that the best thing that a hitter can gain at AAA is some experience about off speed stuff. A lot of the pitchers there seem to be guys who don't have the fastball to handle the bigs and have to get by with deception. Moncada looks like a guy who would benefit from dealing with that kind of pitcher for a few months at least.

Nate - I'm sure that played into it but at the same time I think he deserves credit for using the roster well. Just as an example, I think Showalter is a top notch manager but how on earth does he let a LOOGY like Hart face Ramirez in a one run game the other night? Having the expanded roster doesn't mean you can't make mistakes and I think Farrell has generally avoided errors the last several weeks.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: September 24, 2016 at 11:02 AM (#5305990)
I think Showalter is a top notch manager but how on earth does he let a LOOGY like Hart face Ramirez in a one run game the other night?
Or how does he leave his righty starter in to face Ortiz in the 7th with guys on base?

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