|David Price, John Farrell relive decision to get one more crack at Alex Rodriguez||05.02.16 at 12:51 am ET|
It was the moment David Price would want to remember on a night he probably would prefer to forget.
With the game tied, 6-6, and two outs in the seventh inning, Alex Rodriguez strode the plate for the Yankees. This was the batter who had already torched the Red Sox starter for a two-run homer and two-RBI double (both coming on fastballs) earlier in the Sunday night tilt.
So with Price sitting at 94 pitches, Red Sox manager John Farrell went to the mound to check on his starter. When the conversation was over, Farrell left in the southpaw.
It was a maneuver usually not executed by Farrell, who makes a point to only go to the mound if he is taking out the pitcher. The exceptions during the manager’s tenure are limited to Ryan Dempster and John Lackey, both coming in 2013.
“He asked me if I was going make three good pitches in that situation, and I told him, ‘Absolutely,’ ” Price said. “I appreciate him leaving me out there in that situation against a guy who’s hit the ball against me well twice that night, so it’s good.”
“I just wanted to check with him,” Farrell said. “We had [Junichi Tazawa] ready, but for a starting pitcher to work for those days in between each start, we’re in a tie ball game, he had every right to go out for that seventh. And like I said, his pitch count was still well in check. If there was a runner on, we’re probably making a move there against Rodriguez. In that spot, wanted to give him an opportunity to win and you know what, it worked out.”
|Dave Dombrowski on OM&F: John Farrell is a ‘good manager and we’re fortunate to have him’||04.27.16 at 5:23 pm ET|
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday to talk about the latest with the Red Sox, especially manager John Farrell. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Many in the media have been heavily critical of Farrell over the first 20 games of the season, questioning a number of decisions he’s made within each game. Dombrowski offered his support for the Red Sox manager.
“I think that John Farrell has done a fine job for us,” Dombrowski said. “I think he is a good manager. I think people that spend time micromanaging moves usually are the ones that are going to micromanage any manager’s moves. … I think John Farrell has done a fine job managing this team. I think he has done a good job managing this team. I think he is a good manager and we’re fortunate to have him.”
Added Dombrowski: “He has my support. He knows he has my support and so I don’t really need to tell him that on a daily basis. We work together very well. I am happy he’s our manager.”
As it relates to Pablo Sandoval, Dombrowski confirmed the team never gave Sandoval a weight mandate before he could play in games again, nor did the third baseman asked to be traded if he wasn’t going to be playing full-time.
Sandoval is set to go back to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his injured shoulder on Monday, which comes after a previous visit two weeks ago where a full exam couldn’t be performed because of how sore he was.
“Well, I’ve had it happen before,” Dombrowski said. “It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen once in awhile. I think it is also a situation where it’s not for me and I don’t find too many people to question what Dr. Andrews says. He’s about as quality of a source when it comes to medical aspects of Major League Baseball and injuries in general. When he recommends something, that is generally the practice we follow. I think we have always followed it. That is what he recommended so that’s what we’ve done.”
|Exploring working relationship between John Farrell, Dave Dombrowski||04.19.16 at 9:00 pm ET|
Let’s get this out of the way: According to John Farrell, Dave Dombrowski does not tell his manager which players to play, or when to play them.
In fact, Farrell said he has never had a boss mandate such things. Not with Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos in Toronto. Not with Ben Cherington here in Boston. And not with Dombrowski.
“The experience has been in all three situations that has been left up to what we see the best approach is against a given starter,” Farrell told WEEI.com before Tuesday night’s game against the Rays. “Ultimately the players are going to tell you where they are going to hit. Granted, we have all the information that is accessible to us with what’s the right match-ups might be, or when is the right spot to give someone a down day. That’s all part of the daily conversation.
“It’s always about your team. it’s always about trying to stay ahead of areas of your clubs that may need addressing. They’re all different people with different personalities, but the topic is still the roster and team performance and ways to get the most out of everyone.”
As Farrell noted, Anthopoulos, Cherington and Dombrowski are not really like one another at all, evidently their approach to letting the manager craft each day’s lineup has been consistent.
But there is one bit of separation between Dombrowski and the others, thanks in large part to the Red Sox president of baseball operations travel schedule.
“I don’t think it’s drastically different because you’re always having constant conversations and ongoing dialogue, whether it’s about roster changes, or what we all see as the current strengths of our team,” Farrell said. “I don’t know if there is a different style, other than Dave’s presence is more regular than others in the past. If there is any difference, that’s probably the only thing.
“If there’s any difference in the conversation is that we’re having them in person rather than on the phone.”
Through the first 12 games of the season, the Red Sox bullpen has logged 39 1/3 innings, which is 13th-most in the majors and fifth in the American League. It is also worth noting many other teams have played one or two games more than the Red Sox.
One of the Red Sox relievers who has been worked a lot is 41-year-old Koji Uehara. He has appeared in eight of the 12 games, logging 7 1/3 innings. His worst outing was Monday when he allowed four runs in just 1/3 of an inning to take the loss against the Blue Jays. He entered in the inning with the Red Sox leading 1-0.
Manager John Farrell was asked about his usage and if he would like to stay away from him for a few days?
“Ideally like to stay away from him yeah, give him a couple of days down,” Farrell said. “I’ve leaned on him, there’s no doubt about it. I’ve pushed him. Coming out as we just talked about bullpen usage, you get into situations where you have a lead, you have three guys you’re looking to go to in that seventh, eighth and ninth innings and I have pushed him early.”
As for the bullpen’s usage as a whole, Farrell expects that to go down in time with the starters being able to go deeper in games than they have been of late.
“Ideally that corrects itself,” he said. “That means we have to have starters that go through the order three times and hopefully get 21 outs as more of a regularity. That is always a positive. The fact is we’re also in every game. Whether we’ve been down early, we’ve shown tremendous fight to get ourselves back in it and then you get into where you’re leading and on most pitching staffs you have guys you’re going to go to when you’re up. We need, as I’ve mentioned earlier, more innings out of our rotation. I don’t know that you ever come away feeling that they can’t pitch more. That is not to say we have 12 guys we’re going to rely on, but the more innings your starters pitch, then your bullpen probably is coming in with appropriate rest.”
|John Farrell reflects on what playing on Patriots’ Day means to him, Red Sox||04.18.16 at 10:20 am ET|
Patriots’ Day is a special day for the City of Boston with the Boston Marathon and the Red Sox having their annual 11 a.m. start.
The day has a whole new meaning following the marathon bombings three years ago.
This will be manager John Farrell’s fourth Patriots’ Day as manager and he’s proud to be part of it.
“Well, certainly it’s not only a special day here in Massachusetts and New England obviously with the holiday and a chance to celebrate with a unique major league game or start time, but it is part of the history of this holiday and the Red Sox part in it,” Farrell said before Monday’s game. “No one is going to forget obviously three years ago, the significance of that day. We can’t forget those who were impacted directly.”
The Red Sox are 69-51 all-time on Patriots’ Day, with 26 doubleheaders between 1903 and 1966. They have won on 11 of the last 15 games played on Patriots Day.
Over the weekend there have been several reminders of the events three years ago with survivors throwing out first pitches and runners being in and around the park.
On Monday, Jeff Bauman and actor/producer Jake Gyllenhaal will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Gyllenhaal is playing the role of Bauman in the film “Stronger.”
“There’s always reminders of it,” Farrell said. “I think for those of us who were here and walked off the field that day just as those bombs were detonated, that will never be omitted or erased from our mind. The frenzy that followed immediately, but then what grew out of that day. While we remember those who were victims, I think there was a unique and special bond that was created and fostered over the rest of that summer.
“I would hope that we played a part in the healing for some of the people that were coming to the ballpark each and every day. When you see the victims and the stories that come out of that day, it’s a place in history that we will never forget.”
|John Farrell on Hanley Ramirez: We have a completely different player than last year||04.17.16 at 11:58 am ET|
If you thought Hanley Ramirez looks like a completely different player than a year ago, you aren’t the only one.
Manager John Farrell acknowledged Ramirez is much more relaxed this year and it’s carried over to his play both at first base and at the plate.
“Everything we could have hoped. He’s played [first base] I think with ease,” Farrell said prior to Sunday’s game. “He’s put in a lot of work to get familiar with the different positioning and footwork around the bag. I’ll tell you, we have a player I think completely different than a year ago. He’s engaged. He’s having fun playing the game.
“I think being back in the infield has been a big boost to that. He’s doing one heck of a job. What he’s doing on the base paths has been impressive. The other night, the swing-and-miss on the strikeout set up the whole three-run inning in the first so he is hustling. He’s very engaged. He’s doing a very good job.”
Whether the organization admits it or not, the left field experiment was a disaster for Ramirez as not only did he struggle in left field, it carried over to the plate. In 105 games, he hit just .249 with 19 home runs and 53 RBIs. After July 5 he hit just one home run before being shut down for the season with a shoulder injury late in August.
Through 10 games this year, Ramirez has looked comfortable at first base and is off to a good start at the plate. He’s batting .293 with five RBIs and of his 12 hits, four have gone for extra bases.
There’s also been a difference in his personality, as it’s come out much more than it did a year ago.
“I think he’s playing with some freedom and it’s shown up in his personality,” Farrell said. “Heck, we see it how he interacts with fans. To Hanley’s credit, whether it’s a conscious effort to make a change, we have a different player, to his credit. He’s always in the fun and the noise and joking around in the clubhouse, which is a good thing.
“He’s in a good place.”
|Why Red Sox are adding outfield to Blake Swihart’s skill set||04.15.16 at 5:21 pm ET|
The Red Sox have two very good young catchers in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. But, thinking towards the future, it’s impossible to have both players play every day behind the plate.
This is why on the day Swihart was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Vazquez’s recall, the Red Sox revealed their long-term plan with their two prized catchers.
“As we look towards the future, and even as time goes on, we would like Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart to both be part of our club,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “They are both not going to be every day catchers with our team. [Swihart] is more athletic. He’s a converted catcher. We think he could make a conversion to another position — even on a part-time basis so we can keep his bat in the lineup.”
Swihart will take fly balls in left field with Pawtucket as the Red Sox would like him to add outfield to his skill set. In addition to taking fly balls in the outfield, he will still play catcher as it was noted they are an injury away of having him come back to Boston as a catcher. It was also revealed between the outfield, catcher and DH, Swihart will play every day in Triple-A.
Vazquez is 25 years old, while Swihart is 24 so both are young and have plenty of room to grow.
This long-term plan didn’t come out of no where as these discussions began towards the end of spring training, with Swihart starting shagging fly balls in the outfield. Some thought Swihart would be better suited for first base, but manager John Farrell said the organization viewed the outfield being the most “viable.”
“His athleticism will take over,” Farrell said of Swihart playing the outfield. “He and I had a couple of conversations in spring training about this. He would shag in left field during BP. Confident that through repetition, much like we have talked about with him behind the plate, which is a much more difficult task then playing a major league caliber left field. That will take time. We’ve come to know Blake as not only an upfront guy, but is a smart athletic player who is going to be committed to the work.”
“Bottom line, we see both (Vazquez and Swihart) coexisting on this roster, really in the same lineup on a given day,” Farrell added. “We know [Swihart is] still going to be catching games.”
With the long-term plan in mind and the Red Sox showing commitment to both players, now is the perfect time to execute it with Vazquez 100 percent healthy, but any time a player changes positions it certainly bears watching.
|Joe Kelly far from perfect, but gives Red Sox starters something to build on in win over Orioles||04.13.16 at 11:27 pm ET|
It wasn’t the greatest of starts, but with the way the Red Sox rotation had been going — entering with the worst starters ERA in baseball — it was much needed.
Joe Kelly went five innings allowing two runs to earn the win in the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Orioles Wednesday night.
For Kelly, he set a career-high with his ninth straight win over his last 11 starts since August 1 of last year. He’s just the second Red Sox starter since Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2008 to accomplish this (Clay Buchholz in 2013 was the other).
Although Kelly allowed only two runs, he wasn’t as effective as it appeared. Overall, he went five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, but he walked five and stuck out six. Kelly faced 26 batters and 10 of them worked him to a three-ball count, while eight of those got to a full count.
The biggest key for Kelly was making big pitches when he needed to, which was something other Red Sox starters couldn’t do in games prior. As a team, Baltimore went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.
“Joe made a number of big pitches with men on,” manager John Farrell said. “A high number of pitches, but still, he battled. He got a couple of key strikeouts, particularly to [Caleb] Joseph to end the fifth. … Even when guys were in scoring position, Joe did not give in one bit here tonight. I thought he used his breaking stuff, his changup well tonight. After a full five innings of work we turned it over to the bullpen who did another great job tonight.”
Red Sox starters still have combined to record just two outs after the sixth inning this season.
|Red Sox option OF Rusney Castillo to Triple-A Pawtucket||at 10:58 pm ET|
Following the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Orioles Wednesday night, the Red Sox optioned outfielder Rusney Castillo to Triple-A Pawtucket. There was no corresponding move announced and the team doesn’t need to make one until Friday as they are off on Thursday.
“We need to get him out and get him going,” manager John Farrell said. “We need to get him some at-bats and playing everyday.”
“I’m always ready for whatever news that’s being given to me,” said Castillo through a translator. “Just going to keep working hard and we’ll see what happens.”
Castillo had just four at-bats over the first eight games of the season and wasn’t likely to see any in the near future given the current outfield situation with Brock Holt and Chris Young platooning in left field.
“I look at it as an opportunity to play every day and get better,” Castillo said. “I’m excited at the opportunity to start every day, which is what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Farrell noted the corresponding move didn’t need to be an outfielder, so it is possible catcher Christian Vazquez could join the team for the weekend series against the Blue Jays.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|Clay Buchholz not concerned about Red Sox starting rotation’s struggles: ‘There shouldn’t be anyone worried’||04.12.16 at 11:32 pm ET|
Through the first seven games of the season, the Red Sox’ starting rotation has an ERA of 7.04, which is the worst in the American League.
This many be cause for concern for some, but not Clay Buchholz.
“We’re seven games in, dude,” Buchholz said after the Red Sox’ 9-5 loss to the Orioles Tuesday. “There shouldn’t be anyone worried. We have the best pitcher in the world right now on our team. Things happen and we’re playing against the best guys playing in the world too.
“It’s just one of those things, you get off to a slow start, so be it. I’d rather finish strong than start off strong and then — you want to go off in the middle. We have a lot more games to play.”
Even with having ace David Price — who Buchholz was referring to — make two starts, Red Sox starters have recorded a combined two outs after the sixth inning in the seven games.
While Buchholz isn’t panicking, manager John Farrell acknowledged as a group the starting rotation needs to improve, especially when the offense is averaging 5.71 runs per game and the team only has a 3-4 record to show for it.
“We need to be better,” Farrell said. “That goes without saying. This isn’t a matter of stuff. I thought tonight we had a number of hitters where we had two strikes and didn’t put hitter away. Last couple of games we’re spotted a starter with a lead, but still, it is a matter of going out and executing pitches. The job of a starter obviously is going to require, two, three times through the order. That is going to require a mixture of pitches and consistent execution. The execution has got to improve.”
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