|Mookie Betts (MVP), Rick Porcello (Cy Young) named AL awards finalists; David Ortiz, John Farrell are not||11.07.16 at 7:27 pm ET|
Mookie Betts could win his first MVP award in just his second full season. David Ortiz now knows he will never take home that hardware.
Major League Baseball announced its award finalists on Monday night, and a pair of Red Sox were represented.
Betts was named a finalist for MVP, while right-hander Rick Porcello is in the running for the Cy Young Award.
Betts, 24, will be joined by former winner Mike Trout, who has finished no worse than second in four previous seasons, as well as Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who won the batting title.
Those three squeezed out Ortiz, who finished his career with the greatest offensive walk-off season in history. Ortiz mashed 38 homers and drove in a league-leading 127 runs to claim the Hank Aaron Award, given to the best hitter in each league.
On the pitching side, Porcello is a finalist for the first time. He’ll be matched up with a pair of former winners — Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Porcello led the league with 22 wins and a 5.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
On the manager side, Red Sox skipper John Farrell was not a finalist, beaten out by Cleveland’s Terry Francona, Baltimore’s Buck Showalter, and Texas’s Jeff Banister.
The Arizona Diamondbacks introduced Torey Lovullo as their new manager on Monday, and Lovullo took the opportunity to thank the man who made much of it possible.
Red Sox manager John Farrell, whom Lovullo served under for the last three years (with a stint as interim skipper while Farrell underwent chemotherapy treatments in 2015), was singled out for his influence on his career.
“I also want to say a quick thank you to John Farrell, who’s a friend and mentor to me,” Lovullo told reporters, including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “Along the way, we walked through some very difficult times. He was the guy who took a chance on me and gave me my very first opportunity and helped me sit in this seat today.”
Lovullo, 51, won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2013. He has extensive experience as a minor-league manager and big-league bench coach, and was brought to Arizona by former Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen.
“I want to aim as high as possible,” Lovullo told reporters. “I am very optimistic that we have the capabilities of doing something special . . . We want to bring a system of communication. We want to take what we learned [in Boston] and perfect it here.”
|Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: John Farrell ‘the right guy to continue to lead this franchise’||10.12.16 at 11:55 am ET|
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday morning, following Tuesday’s press conference in which the team announced John Farrell will return as manager. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Kennedy supported Tuesday’s decision on Farrell, saying, “I think he’s the right guy to continue to lead this franchise.”
However, Kennedy was unclear where the team stands on Farrell’s 2018 option. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday that it would be ownership’s call.
“Dave will make a recommendation to ownership, and I have a seat at that table. We’ll talk about that in the coming days, to be sure,” Kennedy explained. “He knew he was going to get that question [about Farrell’s future] yesterday, again, right after a tough loss, and just wanted to address what we all knew, which was John will be back next year. [Dombrowski] will sit down and talk with us, specifically John Henry and Tom Werner, about a lot of these operations issues that we’re facing now in the immediate aftermath of going out in the postseason, including John Farrell’s option. So that will be discussed. But there’s a lot of other decisions that have to be made as well. Some will be recommendations from Dave, and some will just be firm decisions that he’s empowered to make on his own.”
Looking at the team’s disappointing performance in the ALDS, Kennedy said he can’t pinpoint a clear reason for the sweep at the hands of the Indians.
“What makes this the best baseball market on the planet is that we’d all love to try and point to one or two specific things,” Kennedy said. “I know my dad, for example, has his theories. He didn’t like the night in New York, after clinching the division and losing that awful game against the Yankees. Others may be quick to point to celebrations for David Ortiz.
“Look, if I knew what caused such a struggle with the bat in the postseason and not pitch our best, I’d probably be doing something else for a living, because I can’t point to a specific incident other than we just fell short of expectations. It was incredibly frustrating to watch those three games, because we felt we were positioned for a deep postseason run. At the end of the day, we didn’t get it done. I tip my cap to Terry Francona and [team president] Chris Antonetti and everyone at the Cleveland Indians. They beat us, and we have to tip our cap to them, as painful as it is to do that.”
|Curt Schilling on K&C: Most MLB GMs agree that ‘in-game managing is not the priority’||at 10:09 am ET|
Baseball analyst Curt Schilling, making his weekly appearance with Kirk & Callahan on Wednesday, expressed some surprise that the Red Sox are allowing John Farrell to return as manager. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.
Schilling indicated that he did not believe Farrell deserved to be fired, but with Tuesday’s press conference coming on the heels of a sweep by the Indians in the ALDS, the opening was there to make a change.
“If Dave had been looking for an out, he had it. He didn’t take it,” Schilling said. “I’m glad, obviously, because John is a dear friend. I guess I’m surprised in the sense I don’t really know Dave Dombrowski that well and I was expecting something, if it was going to happen, to happen.”
Farrell has taken some heat for his strategic moves, but Schilling agreed with Dombrowski that there is much more to being a good manager than making all the right decisions during games.
“He made it very clear yesterday, which I think is a lot of the things that most general managers believe now, which is in-game managing is not the priority,” Schilling said. “It’s about — given the money and given the state of the game — it’s about managing your players, about getting them to play up their capabilities. They clearly didn’t do that this series, but I blame Cleveland for that at some point.
“But I think managers have a lot more input and say lineup-wise, roster-composition-wise. So they don’t need the Tony La Russa, who he thinks he’s very much the smartest guy, that he invented the game. They need the guy that can get Manny Ramirez out there 145 days a year.”
|Dave Dombrowski doesn’t care that you hate John Farrell’s in-game managing, because he considers other skills more important||10.11.16 at 4:17 pm ET|
John Farrell’s most vocal critics inevitably cite his perceived deficiencies as an in-game manager when pushing for his dismissal.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has a response for those people: it’s nowhere near the most important part of the job.
“I do not feel in-game strategy is the biggest thing as a manager,” Dombrowski said on Tuesday, hours after the Red Sox were swept from the American League Division Series by the Indians. “I think it’s important, but there are other things that are probably more important.
“To me, the most important thing for a manager is that their club plays up to their capabilities day-in, day-out, which means they’re communicating with their players and getting everything they can. That means their club is playing hard. In-game strategy, of course, is very important. But having been through this so much, and I’ve answered the question in the past here and I hope I’m not being too redundant, I think that’s what makes our game so interesting. A lot of people think they know more than the manager when it comes to strategy.”
Dombrowski noted that he has extensively talked strategy with Tony LaRussa, Jim Leyland, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox, four Hall of Fame-caliber skippers.
“There’s a man on first base in a 2-2 game in the eighth inning and this is how it shapes up,” Dombrowski said. “One of them bunts, one hits-and-run, one steals and one does nothing. They all have their reasons in doing it. I think it’s most important that they are able to have a reason why they’re doing it, and so for me it’s a situation where there’s a lot of different ways to go about that. I think it’s having a pulse of your personnel and what works for you.
“John Farrell, you’re going to sit up there and you are not going to agree with the strategy all the time of anyone that is your manager. I learned that having Jim Leyland and Tony LaRussa. Tony’s already in the Hall of Fame and Jim should be. It’s just one of those things that comes with the territory.”
|Dave Dombrowski announces that John Farrell and entire Red Sox coaching staff will return in 2017; Torey Lovullo will be allowed to interview for managerial openings||at 2:10 pm ET|
John Farrell will be back in 2017.
Wasting little time at his post-season postmortem press conference, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Tuesday announced that Farrell and his entire coaching staff will return next season.
“John Farrell will be our manager for 2017,” Dombrowski said. “He is all set and his whole staff will be invited back. . . . He has the respect of the clubhouse. We played well.”
Farrell is signed through 2017, with a team option for 2018. Dombrowski broke the news to Farrell as the two passed each other in the hall between their respective press conferences.
Farrell led the Red Sox to the playoffs for the second time in four seasons. The Red Sox went worst-to-first en route to 93 wins and their second AL East title on Farrell’s watch.
His coaches include Carl Willis (pitching), Chili Davis (hitting), Brian Butterfield (third base), Ruben Amaro (first base), Brian Bannister (assistant pitching), and Victor Rodriguez (assistant hitting).
Dombrowski added that bench coach Torey Lovullo will be allowed to interview for managerial openings, but that the team hopes to retain him.
He also said that Bannister will remain in uniform at the big-league level, but also have other responsibilities on the analytical side.
|Red Sox manager John Farrell declines to speculate on his future in wake of playoff elimination||10.10.16 at 11:44 pm ET|
With the Red Sox swept out of the American League Division Series on Monday in a 4-3 loss to the Indians, speculation immediately turned to the future of manager John Farrell.
Farrell declined to speculate on whether he’ll return next year, but he believes the team is pointed in the right direction.
“I’ve not thought anything beyond today’s game,” he said. “And that’s the approach I take every day, through 162 games and through the postseason. But given where this team finished last year, there’s a lot for them to be proud of. We had a chance to talk right at the end of the ballgame, we’re AL East Champions, and I know that doesn’t mean much sitting right now. But there’s been sizable progress made on the part of so many individual players for us as a team. This is a big stepping-stone for a lot of players in our clubhouse. This team is in very good shape as we move forward.”
Farrell returned from cancer to win 93 games and lead the Red Sox to the American League East title. He now has as many first-place finishes (2) as last-place finishes in the Red Sox dugout. He’s 339-309 (.523) as Red Sox manager.
Farrell’s contract runs through 2017, with a team option for 2018.
|John Farrell explains reason for pinch-hitting Chris Young for Andrew Benintendi, not Jackie Bradley Jr.||at 11:29 pm ET|
John Farrell hadn’t made any glaring mistakes in-game over the course of the first two games of the ALDS against the Indians, until the seventh inning of Game 3.
The Red Sox trailed 4-2 and left-hander Andrew Miller was on the mound for the Indians. After Xander Bogaerts grounded out, Chris Young pinch-hit for Andrew Benintendi and not Jackie Bradley Jr. two spots after him, who at that point hadn’t recorded a hit in the series and was 0 for his last 19 dating back to the regular season.
Benintendi meanwhile was 1-for-2 with a double and 3-for-9 with a home run in the series.
Young walked and then Sandy Leon lined out and Bradley Jr. struck out.
“We were looking to matchup as best we can. Chris Young was brought in for that very reason against left-handed pitching. We’re looking to matchup to get the best advantage we can,” Farrell said.
The move of not pinch-hitting for Bradley came up again in the ninth inning with right-hander closer Cody Allen on the mound. Instead of potentially having Benintendi-Leon-Young due, it was Young-Leon-Bradley Jr.
Young and Leon were retired before Bradley Jr. singled to right and Dustin Pedroia walked, but Travis Shaw popped up to end the game and the season.
Farrell further expanded on his decision to pinch-hit for Benintendi and not Bradley Jr. back in the seventh.
“The number of pitches he’s thrown, if we wait to get to Jackie in that inning, we may never get there,” he said. “And then they are going to go to [right-hander Bryan] Shaw with the right-handers coming in the next inning. That’s the shot we took with him. He draws the walk, starts with the potential of getting something going. Either Benintendi or Jackie is going to get an at-bat if that inning gets extended. But if it’s not, not going to get left with the pinch-hit starting the next inning, and then they go to Shaw to lead things off.”
The explanation really doesn’t make much sense, but in the end Bradley Jr. did single in the ninth inning, so perhaps the move in the seventh inning didn’t matter in the end. Still, the decision will be something Red Sox fans will remember into the offseason.
|Red Sox manager John Farrell won’t rule out starting Eduardo Rodriguez over David Price in Game 5||at 3:27 pm ET|
John Farrell was merely answering a question, and he made it clear that before he can think about Games 4 or 5 of the Division Series, he must win Game 3 on Monday.
That said, his response in a pregame session with beat reporters when asked if there’s a scenario by which Eduardo Rodriguez could start Game 5 over David Price certainly was interesting.
“There could be. Yeah, there could be,” Farrell said. “Price has more relief experience than Eddie. Again, to try to forecast that, I don’t know. That’s way ahead of my thinking right now.”
The Red Sox trail the series 2-0 and will only play Game 5 if they can win the next two games in Fenway Park. Starting Price would normally be a no-brainer, but he fell to 0-8 in nine postseason starts on Friday in a listless 6-0 Game 2 loss.
That puts some pressure on Farrell to make a tough call, should the Red Sox reach a decisive Game 5. Faced with a similar decision last year, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons summoned Price for three innings of relief with a 7-1 lead in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Rangers. The Blue Jays won to force Game 5, which youngster Marcus Stroman started and the Blue Jays won, 6-3, to advance to the ALCS.
Farrell said that Price and Rodriguez will both be available in relief for Game 3. Both of Price’s postseason wins have come in relief.
“Hopefully there isn’t a spot where he has to come in in the midst of an inning,” Farrell said. “Depending on how long or how much [Drew] Pomeranz would pitch tonight, that potentially puts Eddie and/or David in that same spot tomorrow. Ideally we’d like to keep the switch-hitters on the right side of the plate, even at Fenway Park. That’ll all be dependent upon game, inning and situation.”
|Red Sox notes: David Price could pitch out of bullpen, more details on team meeting||10.08.16 at 6:21 pm ET|
The Red Sox can’t hold anything back now.
The team enters Sunday trailing the Indians 0-2 in the best-of-five series and are one loss away from their season being over.
Clay Buchholz will start Game 3, but if there is a Game 4 on Monday, Eduardo Rodriguez could be replaced in the rotation by Game 1 starter Rick Porcello on three days rest.
“We’ll take it game-to-game,” manager John Farrell said. “We’ve obviously used [Drew] Pomeranz out of the bullpen. I wouldn’t limit not using David Price out of the bullpen. That’s certainly a possibility.
“So again, you go back to all hands on deck. You figure it out as you go. But there’s certainly a starting plan tomorrow, and that’s with Clay.”
Porcello threw 72 pitches Thursday, so that would help his cause with coming back on three days rest. If there was an opportunity for Price to come out of the bullpen, it helps that he only threw 65 pitches on Friday.
When deciding on a potential Game 4 starter, it’s worth noting the splits of both Porcello and Rodriguez. Porcello is 13-1 with a 2.97 ERA at Fenway Park this year, while Rodriguez was 0-4 in nine starts with a 6.02 ERA. If there were to be a Game 5 in that scenario, it would seem likely Price would get the nod on normal rest, assuming he doesn’t come out of the bullpen in any of the games at Fenway.
Even though the Red Sox are struggling offensively in the series so far — 13-for-65 (.200) with 22 strikeouts — Farrell doesn’t expect any big changes. It’s also worth noting Game 2 marked only the eighth time in 164 games they didn’t get an extra-base hit.
“Haven’t looked at there being any wholesale changes, no,” Farrell said
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
— In the clubhouse, a few members of the team added more detail of the team meeting the team had prior to their workout on the field. The biggest message seemed to be to forget what happened in Cleveland.
“Just that we have to put everything past us and try to start new tomorrow, and win one game,” Mookie Betts said. “We can’t look too far ahead of ourselves.”
“It was everybody,” Betts added. “We all had a message, we all listened to the message and I think we’ll put everything into play tomorrow.”
— Three of the Red Sox’ youngest players have struggled so far in the series, as Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are a combined 2-for-20 with 10 strikeouts.
“It could be nerves,” Betts said. “It’s a lot of guys’ first times in the playoffs, but now we’re two games in. We kind of have settled in. I think we know what we need to do.”
— The Red Sox are hoping returning home will help give them a jump start that they desperately need.
The team is 26-13 in postseason games at Fenway since 1999 and 10-3 in ALDS play. During the regular season, the Red Sox led the AL in runs scored per game at home with 5.89 and also in batting average, hitting .300 at Fenway.
“It’s just good to be back in Boston,” Holt said. “We love playing here. Cleveland showed us what home field advantage can do, so we’re hoping to have that here. It was a good meeting. Just talked about the last couple of days and putting them behind us.”
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