Saturday, April 13, 2013

Farrell doing everything right

John Farrell knows pitchers. Ask any Sox pitcher who was here when Farrell was the Red Sox pitching coach, and they'll tell you how phenomenal he was at getting through to guys, and getting the best possible performances from them. Terry Francona often said that Farrell could easily make the transition from pitching coach to manager, and everything we've seen so far backs up that assertion.

Farrell was right to put Joel Hanrahan on the mound this afternoon - and just as right with his quick hook after two straight walks from the closer. Any pitcher can have a bad outing. I was at the game on Wednesday night, and conditions were certainly less than ideal, making it totally reasonable (if not desirable) that Hanrahan might have a mistep.

After that kind of meltdown it's important for the manager to display his confidence that the poor outing was an outlier, which is exactly what Farrell did. But at the end of the day, the job of the manager is to put the right combination of players on the field to win games. Hanrahan couldn't find the strike zone, and the Red Sox were on the verge of wasting an excellent start from Jon Lester, so Farrell acted decisively and pulled him in favor of Koji Uehara.

With the exception of Hanrahan, the Sox bullpen has performed exactly as hoped (I can't be the only one with a budding love for Uehara), and Farrell has managed it admirably. Today's win was a nailbiter (I never would have expected that I would come out of it winless in fantasy baseball, seeing as I started both Lester and David Price), but all wins count the same in the end. Far more valuable that a decisive victory is the knowledge that Farrell will continue to make the difficult - and correct - decisions.

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