After the first week of the season the Red Sox are 3-3. This certainly is not a .500 baseball roster on paper and, after a week, the record is not a big deal. When you consider the players the Red Sox had out over the week, 3-3 is acceptable. With that said, it was a very frustrating week for Red Sox fans. It was a week that saw Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Robbie Ross Jr. all miss multiple games. Not to mention key players on the disabled list included David Price, Tyler Thornburg, and Carson Smith. Roughly half of the Red Sox regulars have been out of the lineup and the bench players have become regulars. The offense have been dreadful. There was sickness in the clubhouse and sickness from the fans having to watch a AAA lineup struggle to score a run. Week One is over. It’s time to look forward.
We all know that the Red Sox offense is going to improve simply by getting the right players on the field. No more Marco Hernandez, Steve Selsky, Chris Young (batting cleanup), and Brock Holt in the every day lineup. Bradley is on the disabled list and the Red Sox will tell you it’s short term. What they say means nothing when it comes to injury. The Sox spin these updates with the very best. What you see is more important and the fact that Bradley walked off the field without a problem should be a good sign.
The Red Sox have strong hitting. They have strong pitching. They’re strong in the field. So, what can hold them back? If you watch the games on a daily basis, it’s obvious. The talent of the manager is holding this team back. John Farrell costs the Boston Red Sox games. It’s as simple as that. In a close game in the late innings, the Red Sox get out managed consistently. It was obvious in the ALDS last year. Terry Francona was very aggressive from the get go. Farrell sat back and failed to make adjustments. It happens more than the average fan would think.
Let’s take Friday’s game vs. Detroit as an example. The Red Sox battled back to take a 5-4 lead in the 8th inning. Heath Hembree struck out the first two batters and then walked the next two, putting the winning run of first base. The Red Sox needed just one out. Craig Kimbrel was in the bullpen and fully available. Farrell chose to go with Robbie Scott against a .195 hitter named Mike Mahtook. Mahtook doubled and tied the game. What did Farrell do next? He summoned Joe Kelly. Kelly proceeded to walk the next two batter. 6-5 Detroit just like that. Game over. The Red Sox have a depleted bullpen and a depleted team for that matter. Their best guy in the bullpen somehow was left sitting there while the team needed one out. Just one out. It cost the team the game. Most Red Sox fans would have liked Kimbrel’s chances to blow away a .195 hitter and lock up that game.
While the game itself was a tough pill to swallow for Red Sox fans, do you know what was even worse? The post game explanation. Farrell stated that he wasn’t going to bring in Kimbrel in that situation because it was “Game 3”. That’s right, Red Sox fans. When your team is missing it’s regulars and is fully in an uphill battle, just know that the manager is not going to lead that climb by putting in his closer for a few extra pitches. Game 3 didn’t matter much to Farrell. But, in July, in the same situation, he would make the move? Classic nonsense from Farrell. It’s hard to believe he really had a handle on the situation.
Baseball has changed a lot over the past few years. There’s a lot more emphasis on matchups and bullpens winning games…especially in the playoffs. When John Farrell goes head to head against managers like Francona, Joe Girardi, and Buck Showalter, the Red Sox end up on the short end of the stick. And, for what? To keep a manager who is viewed as mediocre at best across the league?
Shouldn’t a team with elite talent also strive to have elite management of the game to win with that talent? Cleveland has it. It showed in the ALDS. John Farrell can’t compete against his elite peers and the Red Sox consistently fall short in these situations like they did on Friday as a result.
In Bill We Trust. In Brad We Trust. In John We Trust?