Just when the Red Sox are hot, and everything seems to be falling into place, John Farrell blows yet another game. Monday night against the Indians was one of the worst managerial performances of the season by John Farrell, and he’s had a fair share of them.
A bullpen situation that had been dubbed “Farrell-Proof” by 98.5’s Jim Murray was once again broken up by the manager himself. Anyone in their right mind assumed it would be Brandon Workman in the 7th, Addison Reed in the 8th, and Kimbrel in the ninth. Instead, Red Sox nation got served Joe Kelly in the 7th with an 8th inning Barnes-Hembree-Scott combo, the John Farrell specialty. I’m not sure what the love affair is with those three bullpen guys, but for some reason, Farrell is too stubborn to realize it doesn’t work.
This has to be the worst loss of the season for Boston and John Farrell. Brandon Workman and Addison Reed have been lights out recently in the 7th and 8th inning, but apparently, they’re just too obvious choices. So instead, Farrell decided to throw Matt Barnes in the 8th and leave Workman to face his first the tied-score ninth of the season.
I’m wondering if Farrell knows how bad Barnes is on the road. He posts a +6.00 ERA on the road and has been struggling heavily as of late. He simply CANNOT pitch on the road, and recently, hasn’t pitched well at home either. Meanwhile, Addison Reed spent Monday sitting in the bullpen watching his team go up in flames.
I know the Farrell fans of the world will make excuses. Addison Reed possibly wasn’t available to pitch because he pitched Friday. So did Brandon Workman. So the guy coming off Tommy John Surgery is fine to pitch on back-to-back days, but the guy you got at the trade deadline to be your second best in the bullpen is not available? Makes perfect sense.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this from Farrell. Last year, Brad Ziegler seemed like the perfect 8th inning guy for the Red Sox. Instead, Farrell didn’t trust him and went with “his guys” instead. Not using Reed tonight feels similar.
Other Farrell apologists may say this game didn’t mean much, and Farrell didn’t want to burn Reed out, but let’s think about this, Red Sox fans. Unless a dramatic change in the standings happens in the next month, Cleveland is most likely their first-round opponent in the playoffs. These series could determine who has home-field in the ALDS, and judging by last year, the Sox may need that advantage. This may be the most important series to date.
As if all of the bullpen blunders weren’t bad enough, we also got to see Farrell make himself look like an idiot on the offensive side. Brock Holt stealing on a 2-0 count in the ninth while down by one run seemed as stupid of a call as they come. Bradley would have had a 3-0 count with Holt on first, but instead, Holt was thrown out and the Sox lost after Bradley popped out. Before that, there was pinch-running Chris Young for Vazquez on a 3-0 count. John, why not just pinch-run him to start the at-bat? Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of a bad game, but it makes Farrell look like more of an oaf. Don’t even get me started on him not knowing the rules of trying to switch pitchers in New York last week.
So what do the Sox do now? Not much they can do. As much as I’d love to see Farrell gone, they’re not going to fire their manager with thirty-eight games left and a potential postseason run. They’re going to stick with Farrell until the end. So what does that mean for Boston? Let’s just say it’s not good. Farrell is going to be under some serious heat in playoff situations. If he can’t handle these games, no way he stays calm during even bigger moments.
Bottom line: if the Red Sox want to go far in the playoffs, Farrell needs to step up or Boston needs to win big, which they haven’t managed to do consistently. These mistakes can only be covered up for so long.