|Just how poorly have the Red Sox played at home in the last year-plus?||05.05.15 at 1:20 pm ET|
Once again, the Red Sox are off to a slow start to the season — 12-14 after 26 games, the same record as they were last season when they finished 71-91 and in last place in the AL East.
A major issue for last year’s team was their poor play at home, going 34-47. This year hasn’t been much better, going 6-8, including being swept last weekend by the Yankees.
That got us to thinking, just how poor have the Red Sox been at home in the last year-plus?
Since the start of 2014 season, the Red Sox have been swept nine times at home in series’ lasting three or more games. This is compared to Terry Francona‘s eight seasons from 2004-11, where those teams were only swept at home six times in such series’ — twice in 2010, once in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011 and zero times in 2004 and 2007.
After not losing more than three games in a row in any park in 2013, John Farrell has seen nine home sweeps in 95 total home games (going into Tuesday), while Francona saw a total of six home sweeps in 567 total home games, spanning eight seasons.
Bottom line, for the Red Sox to get back to winning, they need to be better at home.
“You like to think your home ballpark is going to be friendly to you and give yourself a chance for some late-inning push,” Farrell said Sunday night after being swept by the Yankees. “What we’ve had a couple times this year. Still, makes it awful difficult to go out and expect to win more games on the road. So yeah, playing at Fenway and taking advantage of the wall or taking advantage of just a comfortable place for us, that’s got to be more the norm.”
|Terry Francona agrees to 2-year contract extension with Indians||11.04.14 at 8:56 am ET|
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona was under contract with the Indians until following the 2016 season, but now he will be around a little longer as the Indians and Francona have agreed to a two-year contract extension through 2018. The contract also includes club options for 2019 and 2020.
Francona has managed the Indians for two seasons and led them to a 92-70 record in 2013 before falling in the Wild Card play-in game. He did win the 2013 American League Manager of the Year Award. This past season the Indians finished with a 85-77 record, but missed the playoffs. He now has 1,206 career wins, the fourth-most wins among active big league managers.
The Indians are the third team Francona has managed. He spent four years with the Phillies from 1997-2000 before spending eight seasons and winning two World Series titles with the Red Sox from 2004-11.
Here are Francona’s thoughts on the extension:
|John Farrell to add Terry Francona, Ron Gardenhire to All-Star coaching staff||05.13.14 at 8:47 pm ET|
MINNEAPOLIS — The Red Sox are in Minnesota for the start of a three-game represent that represents the team’s only visit to play the Twins this season. But for several members of the organization, it’s not the only trip that they’ll make to Minnesota this year.
With the 2014 All-Star Game set to take place at Target Field, Red Sox manager John Farrell and the members of his coaching staff are assured of a return trip to Minnesota this summer. Farrell has previously taken part in a pair of All-Star games, first as a member of former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona‘s staff in 2008 and more recently as part of Texas manager Ron Washington‘s staff in 2011. Now, Farrell will return the favor for Francona, as the Red Sox skipper said that he’ll invite his longtime friend as well as Twins manager Ron Gardenhire — who as the manager of the team that hails from the All-Star Game’s host city, made a natural fit for the staff — to join him during the All-Star Game.
“It’s just an honor that our coaches and myself have a chance to be around the game’s current greatest players. It’s an honor for us,” said Farrell. “It’s a meaningful game. and to be associated with the spectacle of a midsummer classic is something that we’ll always remember and for a couple of us, this is the second time we’ve been fortunate enough to be part of it. and it will get here in time, but we’re looking forward to those days.”
|As Reds head to Fenway, legendary Pete Rose recalls teams’ classic battle in ’75 World Series||05.05.14 at 12:15 pm ET|
As the Reds head to Boston to play the Red Sox nearly 40 years after the franchises met in arguably the greatest World Series ever, exiled baseball legend Pete Rose reflected on his first visit to Fenway Park.
“I had never been to Boston,” said Rose, who captured the Most Valuable Player award when his Reds defeated the Sox in the 1975 World Series. The best-of-seven series featured five one-run games, including the drama of Game 6 that finished with the Sox winning on a Carlton Fisk walk-off he appeared to will into fair territory.
“I’d heard about Fenway Park so much,” Rose continued. “I played against Carl Yastrzemski and Fisk in all those All-Star Games, so it was finally good to get there. That was probably the greatest World Series ever.”
The teams split the first four games, and Cincinnati captured a pivotal Game 5 victory at Riverfront Stadium before venturing back to Fenway for the remainder of the series. The teams sat through the October rain in Boston, causing a five-day wait from Game 5 to Game 6.
“We couldn’t even work out in those rainout days at Fenway,” said Rose. “We had to go to Tufts University to work out indoors.”
Rose did not mind the inclement weather. In fact, he thought the rain simply added suspense to the series.
“That’s the only World Series in the history of baseball that had a Super Bowl flavor,” Rose explained. “I remember our PR director, Jimmy Ferguson, called me during one of the rainouts and asked me to meet with the media at 1 o’clock. Yaz was going at 2 o’clock, Johnny Bench was going at 3 o’clock, and Dwight Evans at 4 o’clock. There was so much personality on both teams. That World Series lifted baseball in the minds of the United States fans better than any other time.”
|Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I can’t imagine’ Red Sox will sign Jon Lester to long-term deal||11.14.13 at 11:46 am ET|
The AL Manager of the Year was announced on Tuesday, as former Red Sox and current Indians manager Terry Francona narrowly edged Boston manager John Farrell, with just 16 points separating the two skippers.
“It was hard,” Schilling said. “I thought the American League one was incredibly challenging, because I thought you had a bunch of guys that had phenomenal seasons. … I thought either one of them could have won it. I think the job that they both did was amazing.”
One storyline that has been discussed is what the Sox will do with pitcher Jon Lester once he enters free agency after the 2014 season. If Lester is able to post another great campaign in 2014, the southpaw could command a long-term deal worth over $100 million.
“I think if [Ben Cherington] is allowed to do the things that baseball ops people should be allowed to do and there’s no interference from people that shouldn’t be interfering, I think he’ll stick to [his previous offseason plans],” Schilling said. “You’re not going to see another eight-year, $240 million deal out of this organization, and rightfully so. … There’s literally almost maybe two or three guys in the history of the last 25 years that would have played to [$200 million-plus contracts]. He can’t do it.
“I can’t imagine they would [sign Lester to a six- or seven-year, $100 million-plus deal]. I don’t think you’ll see any team other than probably the Dodgers with [Clayton] Kershaw turn around and give their homegrown player six or seven or eight years, I don’t see it, not from this team anyway. You saw what happened when they tried to go down that path, and I think that is going to be fresh in their minds as long as these guys are still making decisions here.”
|Buster Olney on M&M: ‘I thought [John] Farrell was going to win’ AL Manager of the Year||11.13.13 at 1:54 pm ET|
The BBWAA announced on Tuesday that former Red Sox manager and current Indians skipper Terry Francona won the AL Manager of the Year award, his first in 13 years as the top man on the bench for a major league team.
‘I think it’s a great award and it’s pretty cool for Tito that he won,’ Olney said. ‘But I have been doing this for a long time and I have no idea what the criteria is, and I don’t think anybody else does. ‘¦ Generally speaking they make those choices through the prism of who won and who lost and team success. I always thought that the big market teams were always at a big, big disadvantage.’
Francona (16 first-place votes) edged Boston’s John Farrell (12 first-place votes), with Oakland’s Bob Melvin third. Many expected Farrell, who led the Red Sox from a 69-93 season in 2012 to a World Series in 2013 in his first season at the helm, to be the winner.
‘I thought Farrell was going to win, it surprised me that he didn’t,’ Olney said.
Ellsbury is expected to receive the most lucrative contract of the three. He’s been linked to a number of teams, most recently the Mariners and Rangers.
‘I think the Texas Rangers are viewed as the wild card, because they so desperately need help with their lineup,’ Olney said, adding: ‘I think Jacoby will end up getting an offer in the [Carl] Crawford range, because the Mariners know by now that they’ve got confederate money, that free agents don’t want to go there, and if they’re going to be interested in somebody like Jacoby, they’re going to have to go above and beyond to get him.’
|BBWAA member Asuka Brown on leaving John Farrell, Terry Francona off AL Manager of the Year ballot: ‘My heart says my votes are correct’||at 11:42 am ET|
Asuka Brown of the Japanese wire service Jiji Press, one of two members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who did not include Red Sox manager John Farrell on her ballot for American League Manager of the Year, joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to explain her thought process.
Brown tabbed Athletics manager Bob Melvin first, followed by Rays skipper Joe Maddon and Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Brown’s vote for Showalter, last year’s runner-up, was his only top-three vote this year. Melvin, last year’s winner, finished third this year, behind winner Terry Francona and Farrell.
The Seattle-based Brown, who said she has been covering Major League Baseball since 2002 and joined the BBWAA in 2011, indicated Farrell had a stronger lineup and a higher payroll.
“I think Boston had so many premium players like [David] Ortiz, [Dustin] Pedroia. They have enough leadership to manage itself pretty well,” she said. “There’s no doubt Farrell is an outstanding manager in a competitive division. However, my first vote went to Bob Melvin. I highly respect those teams that [succeeded] on very limited budgets. So, my first two votes went to those managers — Melvin and Maddon.”
Added Brown: “Also the payroll was the reason I didn’t choose Boston. I always highly respect those teams with limited budgets. Boston and maybe the New York Yankees, they have I think big payrolls. Probably managers have, if they correctly manage, they have resources, always. That’s why.”
As for the absence of Francona, who won the award, Brown said his team’s record against weaker teams played too big a role in Cleveland’s success.
“My first two votes went to those managers from limited-budget teams. Then I thought that third vote should come from the division which is the toughest division in Major League Baseball,” she said. “The reason why I didn’t vote for Francona was that a number of their wins came from easier teams to beat, or struggling teams. So, that’s why my third vote went to Showalter, who maintained the same level as last season.”
Brown said she does not regret her choices despite the criticism she has been receiving.
“That’s what I thought,” she said. “They should be honored. My heart says my votes are correct.”
The other writer to leave Farrell off her ballot was Christina Kahrl of ESPN.com, who chose Francona first, Melvin second and Maddon third. She explained her vote in an article for the website, using the Red Sox’ big budget as the main reason for the exclusion of Farrell.
|John Farrell named Sporting News AL Manager of the Year||10.22.13 at 2:17 pm ET|
The first of what is expected to be many awards for the Red Sox this year was bestowed upon John Farrell on Tuesday, as the Sox skipper was named American League Manager of the Year by the Sporting News.
One year after the Red Sox lost 90 games, Farrell took over following a stint as manager in Toronto and led the Sox to a league-best 97-65 record and the American League pennant.
Pirates bench boss Clint Hurdle was the National League winner after guiding Pittsburgh to its first winning season (94-65) and playoff appearance since 1992.
Voting was done by a panel of 19 major league managers, who voted only in their own league.
Farrell received five votes, two more than Indians manager Terry Francona, who was manager in Boston when Farrell was the team’s pitching coach from 2007-10. Bob Melvin (A’s) and Ron Washington (Rangers) received one vote apiece.
|John Henry on M&M: ‘I probably would have preferred to play Cleveland’||10.03.13 at 1:09 pm ET|
Red Sox owner John Henry joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday, one day before the Red Sox open the American League Division Series against the Rays at Fenway Park, and talked about the challenge his Red Sox face against their AL East rivals.
“I was watching the game last night, and I probably would have preferred to play Cleveland, because Tampa is so tough,” Henry said. “We play them 19 times a year. Every game is tough. We got the better of it this year. But their pitching is extraordinary. And our offense is the best in baseball. So it should make for an exciting three, four or five games.”
A meeting with Cleveland would have meant a reunion with former Sox manager Terry Francona, who had a falling out with Henry and the Sox ownership after his departure following the 2011 season.
“It would have added an extra dimension, no doubt about it,” Henry said. “It would be sort of like playing the Dodgers in the World Series.”
Henry said the in-house projection for this year’s Red Sox team was to post a win total in the high 80s, as it was a year ago when the Sox stumbled to a 69-93 mark.
“It was an incredibly frustrating year,” Henry said of 2012. “You lose 93 games, that’s 93 nights — and more, because you have off nights sometimes following. It’s just, I don’t know how to put it other than pure suffering. You suffer through that. The games were painful.
“This year it was just really fun to watch and be a part of.”
Henry said the key was a return to the team’s core philosophies, including on-base percentage.
“If you just look at simple things like the at-bats the players had, grinding out at-bats,” Henry said. “The difference between last year, when we had consistently poor at-bats, and this year, it’s amazing to see that turnaround in one year.”
Added Henry: “I think the players and John Farrell and his great staff and Ben [Cherington] and his staff are what got us back to where we were. You saw our on-base percentage last year dropped to either 13th or 14th. And we led the majors this year in on-base percentage. So, there’s definitely been a change in that regard.”
Henry also pointed to the Red Sox’ strategy last offseason, when they stayed away from the big-name free agents and instead loaded up on solid but unspectacular players.
“You saw Ben become much more depth-oriented, as opposed to going after, say, Josh Hamilton or someone like that last year,” the owner said.
Added Henry of Hamilton: “To my knowledge, we didn’t pursue him. Any time he was brought up for discussion, we weren’t pursuing him.”
“People have talked about Tom [Werner], as well, as commissioner. But they both seem pretty happy here,” Henry said. “Last year, I think people on the outside thought we were — you remember we had one phone call over whether or not the team was for sale.
“Even at the worst of it, I think Tom and Larry were committed. We were all three — and everyone in the organization — pretty much committed to getting back on track. And now that we are, I don’t see any of that changing, at least personnel-wise.”
|Buster Olney on M&M: John Farrell deserves Manager of the Year award||10.02.13 at 1:33 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney appeared on Mut & Merloni on Wednesday and made his picks for the Manager of the Year award and the World Series winner.
‘I turned in my picks the other day, I’ve got John Farrell,’ said Olney. ‘I think we can’t have a conversation last year about what a disaster Bobby [Valentine] was and see the team improve as much as it did and see John Farrell’s presence make as much of a difference — and I know they added other players as well — without giving him a lot of the credit for the turnaround there.
Farrell took a 69-93 team from last year and made the Sox into AL East winners with the best record in baseball (97-65) in his first year at the helm.
‘I think Terry [Francona] has done a phenomenal job in Cleveland, but I’d give it to John,’ Olney said.
Before the start of the playoffs, Olney chose Boston as the team to beat in baseball. However, he’s had a change of heart.
‘I wound up picking Oakland, because I think they’re playing really well down the stretch, I do think that like Boston, they have a heck of a home-field advantage,’ said Olney, who added that one could make a case for seven of the eight playoff teams (leaving out the Indians due to their lack of pitching depth). ‘The way they’re playing right now, they’re not concerned with convention or how people perceive them, they are going really well and to me that’s a really dangerous team.’
The wild card-winning Indians and Rays square off in Cleveland on Wednesday night for the right to play the Red Sox, the top seed in the AL. This is Cleveland’s first playoff appearance since 2007.
‘The city’s all fired up, everywhere you go everyone’s wearing Indians garb,’ Olney said. ‘I was in the Indians clubhouse after they clinched they other day, and they celebrated hard. This means a lot to those guys, and I think Terry Francona especially.”
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