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John Farrell on D&H: ‘Opportunities are created’ for Red Sox offensively

07.02.14 at 4:01 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell checked in with Dale & Holley on Wednesday to discuss the state of his team. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

The Red Sox had another tough night at the plate Tuesday in a 2-1 loss to the Cubs. The Sox were 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.

“We’ve had some moving parts in our lineup, there’s no question about that,” Farrell said. “We’ve integrated four rookies in the lineup, last night was probably the first time in quite a while the Red Sox have done that. That’s not to say or point the finger at a certain group of guys as the reason why we’ve struggled to score runs consistently.

“The one thing I continue to focus on and will remain focused on is the opportunities are created. Yes, we left another 10 men on base last night, we’re in situations where there’s bases loaded, two-out opportunities and seemingly the one thing that jumps off the page for me is the two-out RBI situations. And that’s the one thing that can make or break a given night and we have been on the short end of that probably a little too much.”

Hitting coach Greg Colbrunn returned to Fenway Park on Monday night less than a month after a brain aneurysm forced him to leave the Red Sox clubhouse for some time. Farrell said his absence is not an excuse for his team’s struggles offensively.

“I think anytime that you have continuity there’s familiarity, there’s a consistent and a familiar voice,” he said. “When you remove a guy who has been so hands on in a daily routine, there’s going to be an adjustment, there’s going to be change.

“But even when Greg is here, he’s not in the batter’s box with them as well, so our guys are well aware of what their daily work routine is and how they prepare each and every night. So to say our preparation has changed, it’s changed in the matter of it being a different voice, but the same information is used.”

Farrell said he has considered making any major changes to his lineup in response to his teams failure to score enough runs most nights.

“Ideally you look to build the top of your lineup with your on-base percentage and you’re going to get at least another at-bat, guaranteed another bat for those guys getting on base at a greater rate,” he said. “I typically take the approach, top down, rank them by on base and work on them that way.

“To say that you’re going to avoid youth or pinpoint when a guy is going to swing the bat well or not, I’d like to have that crystal ball a little bit more often.”

Farrell said he can see his team pressing at times during this stretch.

“I think that’s human nature, we’re competitive,” he said. “Guys want to win, and when things don’t happen there’s the want and the desire to go above and beyond. I think that’s sometimes when we get in a little bit of trouble. That’s expanding the strike zone or being a little bit too aggressive on the bases where a mental mistake might come and bite us.”

One significant move the Red Sox made recently was to call up Mookie Betts from Triple-A Pawtucket. Betts, 21, only played 23 games in Pawtucket before getting the call to the major leagues, but Farrell said he’s confident that Betts won’t be negatively affected by such an early call-up.

“One thing you evaluate with a young player when they come to the big leagues for the first time is, how are they going to handle struggles? Every player is going to struggle initially,” Farrell said. “If you feel like they’ve got the wherewithal mentally and they’re able to handle the focus and the attention that will be centered around them if they do struggled and if you feel confident about the person.

“Set aside the performance and the abilities, if you feel confident in the person being able to handle that, that’s more evidence to say, ‘OK, now is the time,’ because through his performance he’s told us at every level, he’s excelled at it, he’s ready for the next level of challenge and that ends up being here in Boston.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Red Sox, go to weei.com/redsox.

On whether or not Jon Lester‘s contract situation may be a distraction in the clubhouse: “No, because this was brought out coming out of spring training. I think Jon Lester has handled this as well as anyone could’ve envisioned. He’s pitched exceptionally well. With the exception of a couple of starts where there have been bumps along the way, he has been able to compartmentalize and put the whole personal side of his situation to the side and has gone out and pitched very well for us.

“The fact that it’s brought up and the questions are asked, that’s probably commonplace for a guy of his status heading into free agency. We’re hopeful and I know that every effort is being made to make he’s in a Red Sox uniform.”

On how Xander Bogaerts is handling his recent slump: “Well, one, he cares. Is he frustrated? Absolutely. This is a guy that takes a lot of accountability for his performance and for his work, and when it doesn’t click for him you see a young player wanting to do better and certainly talks about and acts as though, ‘Hey, I feel like I’m letting people down because of my performance.’ We just try to continue to stay focused and even-keeled, because we do play every day, of what is the work and preparation leading us up to game time and know that over the long haul some of these peaks and valleys will even out more so.”

On John Lackey‘s contract situation: “Everyone’s contract is in place. It’s been well-publicized what his goes to with the option year because his injury caused him to miss a year. Once again, he, too, I think is handling the situation equally to what Jon Lester is. At 35 years of age, he’s pitching exceptionally well, he’s keeping himself in great shape and looking forward to him being in a uniform as well going forward.”

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