Red Sox: Nieves Fired, but At What Point Do We Start to Blame Farell?


According to a number of media reports, Juan Nieves has been relieved of his duties as the Sox pitching coach. The team’s starting pitching has been pathetic this season, and Nieves didn’t seem to help. A good example was last night when it took TEN straight balls from Masterson to finally get Nieves to visit him on the mound. While Nieves certainly deserves his fair share of blame, at what point do we start to point the finger at John Farrel?

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) walks to the mound. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The first thing that comes to Sox fans mind when they hear “John Farrel” is either the success he had as a pitching coach, or bringing the championship home in 2013, but he certainly isn’t blameless in last season’s debacle, nor the slow start to this season.

John Farrel’s biggest draw used to be the ability to help a pitching staff, but it definitely hasn’t happened this season. The Sox own a league worst 4.86 team ERA, and have a team WHIP of 1.39. The best starting pitcher this season has been Porcello, but even he owns a 4.38 ERA. Edward Mujica was a guy that Farrel was very high on, but was designated for assignment after posting a 4.61 ERA in his first 13 appearances this season.

That being said, we need to call a spade a spade, and realize that this pitching staff doesn’t have much talent on it. However, Farrel consistently makes dumb decisions when it comes to making in game changes regarding the line up.

Last night was a perfect example of that. If leaving Masterson in until after we were trailing wasn’t enough to get fans angry, Farrel’s changes during the bottom of 8th inning should’ve done the trick. His first major debacle was pinch hitting Danny Nava for Allen Craig. The bases were loaded with just 1 out, and Craig was expected to bat. Given Craig has been horrific at the plate this season, but this was the perfect time for the Sox to showcase that he can still come through in big moments. Naturally, Farrel decided to pinch hit Nava for Craig. Nava was 1 for his last 17 before that at bat, and promptly grounded into a force out that basically eliminated whatever momentum the Sox built up.

If that wasn’t dumb enough, he also pinch ran for Ortiz despite knowing there was a chance that his spot in the line up could come up at a crucial point later in the game. Low and behold that’s exactly what happened. The Sox found themselves down 5-3, with they tying runs on and 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, when Luis Jimenez promptly hit a ball that didn’t even reach the pitcher.

Now granted there is no guarantee that Craig or Ortiz would have done anything better, but Farrel continues to press the wrong buttons, and barely gets any flap for it. If his strength is getting the pitching staff to perform, and they continue at this horrendous pace, or he keeps pressing the wrong buttons in the line up, then at some point the Sox need to start looking at the manager.