Transcript: John Farrell on Dale & Holley
|09.24.09 at 2:53 pm ET|
Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell joined Dale and Holley earlier this afternoon to discuss the state of the Sox pitching staff going in the last week of the season and into the playoffs. Farrell touched upon the relationship between Josh Beckett and Victor Martinez, the recent work of Daisuke Matsuzaka and the game calling approach between Martinez and Jason Varitek.
Here is the transcript:
Let’s talk about pitching and talk about last night’s guy. Do you take the positive that Josh Beckett was able to limit the damage and get his feet back under him or is there concern?
I think there are a lot more positives than negatives or things you might be concerned about last night. The raw stuff that he is featuring, the fastball, change up and the curve ball that he did use, you know, not as consistently as some other games. The stuff is clearly there. I think the most encouraging thing was , they got their hits, no doubt about it, 12 hits over six innings gave him some opportunity to pitch out of some jams which he was able to minimize damage, able to keep the ball on the ground for the most part. So, it was another step of he and Victory [Martinez] working together. Before the question comes up, there is nothing etched in stone for who will catch him in the postseason but I think it was an opportunity for us to see them work together and have time to evaluate that battery.
Josh Beckett about not being on top of the baseball when he breaks down.
With his delivery and being very much a power pitcher he rides a fine line with throwing the ball down hill and occasionally getting under the ball and elevating the ball in the strike zone. That has a lot to do his energy level, in other words if he tries to over power the baseball, typically he can get spread out and be a little bit late out of his glove and it limits his downhill plane or leverage on the baseball. He is an astute watcher of the game and it is something that we continually address between starts and work out in conversation or in the bullpen. That is the difference between being a dominant pitcher or one who can get hurt with some long balls.
Was he struggling with that at all last night?
There were a couple times in some key spots last night where he tried to overpower the baseball a bit too much and rely a little bit more on velocity than location. The one thing about Josh is that he is built to throw the baseball hard. When he keeps a quiet mind and allows his body work in an efficient timing in his delivery, that is when he works his best. When he tries to add one or two miles per hour more, that is when he can get spread out and get a little bit more uphill and elevate the baseball.
Beckett on stubborn. Enough time to get comfortable with Martinez behind plate before the postseason?
Well, that question can only be answered once you get through those repetitions. Now keep in mind that we have Victory who has caught him twice and Tek has caught him almost four years. So, the rapport and the experience level between the two is night and day. Now, the one thing that Tito mentioned about the stubbornness is the one quality that makes Josh so good because he is not going to back down from certain challenges and it has allowed him to be as fierce a competitor as we all know him to be.
There are a couple things we have to balance out here. If we are pointing toward Victor catching him in the postseason it is a pretty steep learning curve between now and the end of the season. Can it be done? Absolutely. But we have to continue to take the necessary steps to get there — the conversations between starts, the game planning that is set up. I think that it is more Victor getting to know what pitches keep Josh’s delivery in sync and what pitches he can go to to put a hitter away. There were times they were doing that well last night and there were other times where it could have possibly worked out a little bit different.
Is there the same level of concern between Daisuke Matsuzaka and Victor Martinez, who have never worked together in a game?
Good question only because we haven’t seen what the working relationship between Dice-K and Martinez might be. Daisuke is probably a little bit more free spirited when it comes to his in-game approach. There is probably a more creativity on Daiuke’s part, not that Josh doesn’t shake off pitches or that Josh doesn’t have the ability to think through a game plan and act accordingly, but because of that focused approach that Josh has, it takes a little bit more time to work through. Daisuke on the other hand? In order to comment on that we would need to see it with Victor behind the plate.
You and Tito said you were disappointed with Daisuke and reports from earlier this year. How far has he come since we last talked with you?
He has come a long way and I think it is solely the result of what Daisuke has done himself. He has made a tremendous commitment to the reshaping of his body to increasing his core strength and his shoulder strength and he deserves every compliment that he can get for what he has done.
You got back to extended spring training and in the midst of the season for about three months or so there was a lot of soul searching and a lot of digging down deep to find the self pride and motivation that has you on the field at 6 a.m. in Fort Myers when the rest of your teammates are competing on the major league schedules. He has done a great job with that and given him a little bit more flexibility with the amount of pitches thrown and how the throwing is done solely because of the way he built his foundation.
Because of the work that he has done he has put himself into a position to contribute and really be a big part of what we got going on the rest of the season.
On how the ALDS roster will be assembled.
I don’t know if we fully know how our roster will be fully allotted. Either 10 or 11 on the pitching side and 14 to 15 on the position side. Those are on going discussions and some of the last season performance will have bearing on that and some may be effected on whether we carry two or three catchers. So,while we are corralling this there is not answer on how the roster will be set as of yet.
On Victor Martinez defensive catcher. How would you rate his game calling?
He is prepared, there is no question about it. To the extent Jason is? Victor goes about his game calling a little but different than Jason does. Jason has a lot more recall based on scouting reports and based on past history with individual hitters. Victor goes a lot more on feel. When a certain starter or a certain reliever has going for him on that particular day and the feel from what he gets from the hitter standing at the plate. That is not to say that Victor’s approach is wrong, it’s a little bit different. The thing to find out is, through repetitions, he has caught Josh, he has caught Lester three or four times, the history that he gets and the feel that he has with the individual pitcher is what matters most.
He has done a good job with Clay [Buchholz]. They have gotten on a very good working page or rapport with each other and really it has taken Clay to a much higher level of perform or consistency in the last six to eight weeks. They are different in their own right but two very talented catchers.
On who starts Game 1 in ALDS.
One if the Yankees or we were to end up with the best record what format is chosen or what format you are handed. Secondly is how the rotation works out through the final week of the season. One thing we want to be careful of and pitchers get negatively effected by it is if you are dealing with more seven days or less than seven days of rest. Once you get into that eight-nine days of rest that starts to negatively effect the feel and effect of secondary pitches. Pitchers will be strong but sometimes they will be too strong and that is another thing that we will factor in. I can tell you that Lester, Beckett, Buchholz don’t want more than seven days of rest. Sometimes you can’t avoid it but if we can we will line that up accordingly.
Bill Parcells said he would never throw a young player to the wolves unless I know he is one of the wolves. Is Daniel Bard one of the wolves?
Yes. While you can say that along with youth comes inexperience we’ve also seen someone who has evolved as the year goes on. He’s got nearly three-quarters of the year here at the major league level. He has experienced settings in Tampa, settings in New York, settings in Fenway and that some key parts of the game with some heightened stages. We know that he is early in his career but at the same time when he has hit a bump in the road he has responded positively and very effectively. We have confidence in him in key parts of the game.
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