Let's Talk about the manager -- The John Farrell Thread

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Rudy's Curve

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joe dokes said:
I almost never like walking the bases loaded, because it makes a pitcher ptch differently. But last night.....walking Guy Pearce guaranteed that that Chris Davis would bat with the bases loaded unless Machado hit into a DP.  Seemed like a bad gamble to me at the time. I know it was good hitting on a tough pitch, but it was still Pearce and Machado with 2nd and 3rd or Machado and Davis with the bases loaded. I didn't like the manager's choice.
 
I'll take Farrell's side.  Morales has a career .200 OPS split.  Pearce has a career .261/.341/.444 line vs. LHP, plus it was already a 1-0 count after the WP.  Machado has a 46.5 GB% and is one of the least patient hitters in baseball.  And as great as Davis has been, he's still only at .235/.286/.485 vs. LHP this year.  Forcing Morales to throw strikes isn't the most desirable of propositions, but I think the circumstances were right for this one.
 

joe dokes

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Rudy's Curve said:
 
I'll take Farrell's side.  Morales has a career .200 OPS split.  Pearce has a career .261/.341/.444 line vs. LHP, plus it was already a 1-0 count after the WP.  Machado has a 46.5 GB% and is one of the least patient hitters in baseball.  And as great as Davis has been, he's still only at .235/.286/.485 vs. LHP this year.  Forcing Morales to throw strikes isn't the most desirable of propositions, but I think the circumstances were right for this one.
 
Fair enough. I figured there were specifics that balanced the issue. I just can't avoid analyzing walking the bases loaded the same way I do Tom Cruise movies. Avoid at all costs. (YMMV, of course).
 

mfried

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When we sent in speedster Berry to run in the 11th, why was Nava instructed to bunt on the first pitch?  Give QB a chance to steal, then bunt.  If the pitch is a strike and Berry succeeds, Nava could bunt him to 3rd and he could score on an out.  If Nava fouled he would have a crack at singling him home.
 

semsox

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mfried said:
When we sent in speedster Berry to run in the 11th, why was Nava instructed to bunt on the first pitch?  Give QB a chance to steal, then bunt.  If the pitch is a strike and Berry succeeds, Nava could bunt him to 3rd and he could score on an out.  If Nava fouled he would have a crack at singling him home.
 
Anecdotally, this seems to be the route taken by most teams (not just the Red Sox), and I still find it vexing. Granted, there are maybe only a handful of players in all of MLB who are fast enough to warrant that immediate green light, but I agree 100%. If you're playing for a single run, let him steal 2nd first then bunt him over if you want.
 

Ed Hillel

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With Righty Nava up, and a lefty on the mound (making it more difficult to steal second), I had no problem with the decision to bunt. If you are looking to steal, it is probably easier to bunt the runner to second and then attempt to steal third. I am unsure whether that's even a worthy risk, I think the best way to play it is to leave it up to Berry when he's on second. The ability to get a lead varies much more with a runner on second than on third. If he gets a good lead, let him make the decision on any given pitch.
 

smastroyin

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Bunt then steal doesn't make as much sense from a tactical standpoint.  The entire point of getting Berry to third base is so that he can score the winning run on an out.  If you bunt him to second, then he requires pitches in order to get to third, which limits the ability of the batter to select a pitch to try and put into play.  
 
The only thing, literally only, that made this bunt tolerable is that you knew with a lefty on the mound Showalter would walk WMB to set up the double play with Drew, so it sets up up with runners on first and second with one out.  Of course then Drew obliged with a double play ball.  So then this raises a pretty important question - if Farrell is smart enough to recognize Nava's platoon split and say "this pushes me in favor of bunting" why can he not recognize that Drew is even worse against lefties (237/331 vs. 306/333)?  You have Snyder sitting on the bench and both Xander and Donaldson that can cover SS.  If you are worried about a righty being brought in if you pinch hit Snyder then just pinch hit Xander. 
 
It's not a big deal in the grand scheme.  It's frustrating that this game wasn't put to and end in the second inning but we had to expect them to cool off eventually.  But I'm really worried that if we re-created October 17, 2004 for John Farrell, Bill Mueller would have bunted an out away and Dave Roberts would have been standing on second base as the Yankees ran in from the outfield to celebrate their victory in the ALCS.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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smastroyin said:
Bunt then steal doesn't make sense from a tactical standpoint.  The entire point of getting Berry to third base is so that he can score the winning run on an out.  If you bunt him to second, then he requires pitches in order to get to third, which limits the ability of the batter to select a pitch to try and put into play.
 
The only thing, literally only, that made this bunt tolerable is that you knew with a lefty on the mound Showalter would walk WMB to set up the double play with Drew, so it sets up up with runners on first and second with one out.  Of course then Drew obliged with a double play ball.  So then this raises a pretty important question - if Farrell is smart enough to recognize Nava's platoon split and say "this pushes me in favor of bunting" why can he not recognize that Drew is even worse against lefties (237/331 vs. 306/333)?  You have Snyder sitting on the bench and both Xander and Donaldson that can cover SS.  If you are worried about a righty being brought in if you pinch hit Snyder then just pinch hit Xander.
 
 
Farrell's been pretty insistent all season long that Drew is his starting SS. I can't see him pinch-hitting X for him under any circumstances, even if the percentages favor it.
 

smastroyin

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Well let's hope the post-season doesn't end with Drew stubbornly being allowed to bat against a lefty, then.
 

rembrat

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smastroyin said:
Well let's hope the post-season doesn't end with Drew stubbornly being allowed to bat against a lefty, then.
 
Even playoff Tito stuck with his guys. See Damon and Bellhorn 04' and I believe they worked out.
 
The people who want to see Xander pinch hit for anyone besides a lowly catcher are going to be severely disappointed come October.
 

smastroyin

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Stephen Drew's lifetime split hitting against lefties is 233/290/390.  This isn't a matter of sticking with a guy who is slumping, this is a matter of a guy who has a very long history of not being capable of hitting lefties.
 
I can't imagine why anyone in the organization thinks there would be a benefit to him getting an important AB against a lefty if there were any other reasonable choices.  That said, I completely buy the argument that last night's game wasn't really an important at bat given the standings, etc.
 

deconstruction

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rembrat said:
Which leads us back to the fact that Farrell and his managers are working with data that we aren't privy to.
 
To echo smas's point, this year Drew is arguably the worst hitter in the AL against LHP (with at least than 150 PAs, which is about 100 too many for him). He's striking out in more than 1/3 of his PA's against lefties. Home, away--it doesn't matter. We're talking Lyle Overbay bad here. What data could mitigate this? No snark. I'm seriously curious. 
 

JakeRae

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Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
 
 
Farrell's been pretty insistent all season long that Drew is his starting SS. I can't see him pinch-hitting X for him under any circumstances, even if the percentages favor it.
But, pinch hitting with Bradley for Victorino made sense because?
 
I fail to understand how you can choose to not pinch hit with Bogaerts but do pinch hit with Bradley. I can accept that there is long term logic behind standing by your starters. I cannot accept that logic if it only applies to some players some of the time.
 
Also, the decision to pinch run and then bunt is inexcusable with a runner who steals as well as Berry. The odds of a successful steal in that situation are probably higher than those of a successfully executed bunt, and the former only costs an out when it fails whereas the latter costs an out in almost all circumstances. If they had left Berry on the bench, pinch running was a defensible choice. Once he was in the game, stealing is pretty clearly the superior option.
 

mwonow

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JakeRae said:
But, pinch hitting with Bradley for Victorino made sense because?
 
I fail to understand how you can choose to not pinch hit with Bogaerts but do pinch hit with Bradley. I can accept that there is long term logic behind standing by your starters. I cannot accept that logic if it only applies to some players some of the time.
 
Also, the decision to pinch run and then bunt is inexcusable with a runner who steals as well as Berry. The odds of a successful steal in that situation are probably higher than those of a successfully executed bunt, and the former only costs an out when it fails whereas the latter costs an out in almost all circumstances. If they had left Berry on the bench, pinch running was a defensible choice. Once he was in the game, stealing is pretty clearly the superior option.
 
Unless Victorino is so banged up that he needed out right then and there, this made no sense at all. JBJ isn't a better hitter than anyone on the team at this point.
 

Laser Show

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mwonow said:
 
Unless Victorino is so banged up that he needed out right then and there, this made no sense at all. JBJ isn't a better hitter than anyone on the team at this point.
 
Victorino was pulled because he needed out. I was sitting a couple rows up from the dugout when he came in from the field before that inning and he was clearly grimacing and in discomfort. That, and Mullen tweeted this after the game:
 
 
Maureen Mullen ‏@MaureenaMullen12h
Farrell said Victorino has a little bit of a jammed right thumb. #redsoxtalk
 
 

WinRemmerswaal

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On Victorino's last at bat he was constantly readjusting his thumb guard and was in obvious pain. He looked like he could not put on a proper swing, tried the bunt and then slapped at a couple of pitches and was lucky to get the single. Don't think he was able to bat for himself after that, so the JBJ pinch-hit was almost certainly for injury, not strategy. Back to the regularly scheduled debate about Drew's at bat...
 

joe dokes

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JakeRae said:
But, pinch hitting with Bradley for Victorino made sense because?
 
I fail to understand how you can choose to not pinch hit with Bogaerts but do pinch hit with Bradley. I can accept that there is long term logic behind standing by your starters. I cannot accept that logic if it only applies to some players some of the time.
 
Also, the decision to pinch run and then bunt is inexcusable with a runner who steals as well as Berry. The odds of a successful steal in that situation are probably higher than those of a successfully executed bunt, and the former only costs an out when it fails whereas the latter costs an out in almost all circumstances. If they had left Berry on the bench, pinch running was a defensible choice. Once he was in the game, stealing is pretty clearly the superior option.
 
 
Based on the TV closeups they kept showing, Victorino was grimacing through his entire last AB (the one where he got the bloop hit). And when he got to first, he took his left glove off with his teeth after unsuccessfull trying to use his right hand to do it.
 
EDIT: late to the party.
 

HriniakPosterChild

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rembrat said:
 
Even playoff Tito stuck with his guys. See Damon and Bellhorn 04' and I believe they worked out.
 
The people who want to see Xander pinch hit for anyone besides a lowly catcher are going to be severely disappointed come October.
 
Or a pitcher.
 
Mike Greenwell hit for Clemens once in October. For some reason I have trouble remembering the rest of that game.
 

Ed Hillel

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smastroyin said:
Bunt then steal doesn't make as much sense from a tactical standpoint.  The entire point of getting Berry to third base is so that he can score the winning run on an out.  If you bunt him to second, then he requires pitches in order to get to third, which limits the ability of the batter to select a pitch to try and put into play.  
I was just saying that I think the better tactical play with the lefty on the mound is to bunt him over to second and let Berry run the bases on his own. If he can steal third, steal. Let the batter hit as though it was a full AB. The manager's job would end at the decision to bunt and the decision to inform Berry to run on his own. There would be nothing to constrain the hitter.

I am definitely with you on Drew. Maybe he was thinking that Drew has had a number of big hits, but that should have been Xander. Admittedly, however, I cannot remember if Buck had a righty warming. Even then, Xander is probably the better matchup.
 

joe dokes

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Either the Manager is a lurker, or perhaps simply knows what he's doing:
http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130919&content_id=61120806&notebook_id=61122924&vkey=notebook_bos&c_id=bos
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell drew some second-guessing on the talk radio circuit after Stephen Drew batted against Orioles lefty T.J. McFarland in the 11th inning of Wednesday's loss and hit into a double play.
 
[snip]
 
"Well, last night was what it was," said Farrell. "Going forward, when there's maybe more of a sense of urgency with postseason situations, I'm sure that's something that Stephen and I will talk to well in advance when that situation may come up again. I'm well aware of what Stephen is doing against left-handed pitching, but there might be a time for that."
 
 

Ed Hillel

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joe dokes said:
It doesn't really make much sense to me that he would admit Drew wouldn't be in there in the future, but wouldn't make the change last night. Home field is still being decided and why wouldn't you want to give someone like Xander the experience, while increase your odds of winning at the same time? Balanced against...I guess giving a young kid a full night off, it seems like an odd decision.

Edit - Two nights ago, not last night.
 

joe dokes

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Rudy Pemberton said:
I think it's likely that Farrell hasn't talked to Drew about pulling him in such a spot, and didn't want to potentially show him up by doing it. Seems silly, but the relationship and expectations between manager and player matter, and Farrell needs to balance matchups and showing confidence in a player. It's a lot easier to be "playoff John" when you're in the playoffs. Pulling Drew for a rookie before you've talked to him about it has the chance to not go over well.
 
Especially in a game that borders on the meaningless.
Home field is still being decided
 
 
Perhaps that doesn't move Farrell's "meaningless" needle enough to counter Rudy's point.
Tito-esque.
 

Plympton91

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The other consideration is that you may be in a spot where Drew needs to hit against a lefty--a starter gets knocked out of a game early--maybe because you don't want to lose the defensive difference in the 5th inning of a game you're up by 1 or 2 runs. So, letting him continue to get ABs now helps marginally. The same considerations may be at play for why they haven't called up Hassan and started platooning him with Nava. Let Nava keep facing lefties in what is a reasonably low leverage environment. If you value home field a lot, then you might choose differently
 

smastroyin

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It doesn't help marginally.  He's not 22 years old, he has an established history, and his recent history is worse than his older.  In general, excepting his rookie season (7 years ago, remember), the better he hits against righties, the worse he hits against lefties.
 
Regardless, he is obviously going to face lefties, because Farrell has established that he is the starter, so you are going to see him against any lefty starter.  That's fine, whatever continuity is probably worth it even in the playoffs , and unless Bogaerts is on the roster there isn't really a better option to play SS anyway.  However, in a situation where you have a chance to end the game with a base hit, letting Drew face a lefty shouldn't happen if it can be at all avoided.  That's the situation I am talking about (or the corresponding choice where you let him bat as the last out in a close game lefty vs. lefty), not a strict platoon situation, which clearly isn't going to happen if it hasn't already.
 

bosockboy

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smastroyin said:
It doesn't help marginally.  He's not 22 years old, he has an established history, and his recent history is worse than his older.  In general, excepting his rookie season (7 years ago, remember), the better he hits against righties, the worse he hits against lefties.
 
Regardless, he is obviously going to face lefties, because Farrell has established that he is the starter, so you are going to see him against any lefty starter.  That's fine, whatever continuity is probably worth it even in the playoffs , and unless Bogaerts is on the roster there isn't really a better option to play SS anyway.  However, in a situation where you have a chance to end the game with a base hit, letting Drew face a lefty shouldn't happen if it can be at all avoided.  That's the situation I am talking about (or the corresponding choice where you let him bat as the last out in a close game lefty vs. lefty), not a strict platoon situation, which clearly isn't going to happen if it hasn't already.
Drew has had a walk off hit against a lefty this year in the situation you suggest.
 

smastroyin

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Right.  One time I played a scratch ticket and won $200.  I could use $200 right now, so I should go buy scratch tickets, right?
 

JimD

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Love that he pulled no punches and went with Koji for the five-out save to lock down the win and the division.
 

radsoxfan

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Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
Well tonights not the night he's going to punch hit for Drew either. Allowed him to face Oliver in the 8th.
 
I'd be surprised if Drew gets pinch hit for when the Sox are leading.  Xander has been solid on D so far, but I still think Farrell is more comfortable with Drew at short defensively. Thought it was weird Xander didn't PH for JBJ against Oliver in a 5-3 game in the 8th though, since apparently Victorino was replacing Bradley defensively in the 9th anyway.
 
Loved the 5 out save for Koji as well....
 

lexrageorge

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Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
Well tonights not the night he's going to punch hit for Drew either. Allowed him to face Oliver in the 8th.
There are some nights where the manager gets an automatic get out of jail free card....
 

ivanvamp

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radsoxfan said:
 
I'd be surprised if Drew gets pinch hit for when the Sox are leading.  Xander has been solid on D so far, but I still think Farrell is more comfortable with Drew at short defensively. Thought it was weird Xander didn't PH for JBJ against Oliver in a 5-3 game in the 8th though, since apparently Victorino was replacing Bradley defensively in the 9th anyway.
 
Loved the 5 out save for Koji as well....
 
And now I hope Koji gets a few days off.  But then again, I want the best record in the league.  
 

Dick Pole Upside

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radsoxfan said:
 
I'd be surprised if Drew gets pinch hit for when the Sox are leading.  Xander has been solid on D so far, but I still think Farrell is more comfortable with Drew at short defensively. Thought it was weird Xander didn't PH for JBJ against Oliver in a 5-3 game in the 8th though, since apparently Victorino was replacing Bradley defensively in the 9th anyway.
 
I also think Farrell kept Drew in there because he wanted to have the "guys who got him there" on the field for the clinch.  That's seemingly why Gomes and Victorino came into the field for the top of the ninth.
 

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I also think Farrell kept Drew in there because he wanted to have the "guys who got him there" on the field for the clinch. That's seemingly why Gomes and Victorino came into the field for the top of the ninth.

That worked so well for John McNamara...
 

lexrageorge

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Saints Rest said:
That worked so well for John McNamara...
There is a difference between having a late lead in a division clinching game when you have 7 more chances to follow; versus the chance to clinch a World Series title.  
 

mwonow

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lexrageorge said:
There is a difference between having a late lead in a division clinching game when you have 7 more chances to follow; versus the chance to clinch a World Series title.  
 
...and a difference between John McNamara and any manager you'd want sitting on your bench.
 

Harry Hooper

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ivanvamp said:
 
And now I hope Koji gets a few days off.  But then again, I want the best record in the league.  
 
As Merloni mentioned on the Baseball Show today, Farrell stressing home field advantage via best record is a diplomatic way of hoping for Oakland and Detroit to play each other in the DS.
 

JimD

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bosockboy said:
Yeah avoiding Detroit in a 5 gamer seems pretty important. Scherzer and Verlander possibly 4 of 5.
The only way I can see Leyland pitching his game 1 starter on three days rest in game 4 is if Detroit is down 2-1 and facing elimination.
 

smastroyin

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I have the most posts in this thread because I do like talking about tactical and strategic decisions.
 
I honestly don't think in-game tactical stuff is John Farrell's strength.  I also think that it is one of the highest ratios of "easy to talk about" versus "actual value to the team."
 
So I'm just going to say that here is a team that everyone picked fourth (stupidly, IMO, but they did) that has two chances to clinch best record in the league and the most wins for a Red Sox team since 2004 and a decent shot at most since 1978.  Pretty damn good, and his guidance has to be part of that.  I hate the bunting more than just about anything.  I don't think the aggressive baserunning stuff has added any tangible value.  But a broken team is put back together and that's a harder job than we credit.  So good job John Farrell.  Every player on this team when you talk about the success doesn't get through two sentences without mentioning Farrell.  Maybe his mom is paying them or something but I tend to believe it.  
 
But seriously, stop with the bunting.
 
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