Boston Red Sox: The Clock is Ticking on John Farrell

Apr 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) stands in the dugout prior to a game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) stands in the dugout prior to a game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox have spent big money on offseason acquisitions to put the team in a position to win. If those wins don’t start piling up, the hammer may come down on Manager John Farrell.

We’re now 11 games into the MLB regular season and the Boston Red Sox find themselves just one game above .500. The team is sitting at 6-5, currently second in the AL East behind the Baltimore Orioles, but the skepticism surrounding the Sox seems to be rising with each passing day.

Unlike their friends who play basketball a few blocks away at the TD Garden, the Red Sox do have a lot of star power and have spent a ton of money – along with trading valuable assets – to ensure that this team once again contends for a World Series title. The only problem is, there’s not much evidence at this point that leads anyone to believe that a championship is an attainable goal.

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The sample size is small, no question. The team has only played 11 games this season and the MLB regular season is a long, grueling haul that never seems to end. However, many questions have already been raised about this Boston Red Sox team in such a short time, and that it is concerning.

We all know about the disaster that is Pablo Sandoval. A 95 million dollar player who can’t keep his paws off the Little Debbie cupcakes and fried food, and although extremely large in physical size, he is only a fraction of the problem for the Sox.

The Red Sox have star power. On paper they can match-up with almost any team in the league. They have one of the best young players in the game and a rising star in Mookie Betts, a 23 year old shortstop who was contending for a batting title a season ago, seasoned veterans in David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia who can always be counted on to get the job done, arguably a top 3 pitcher in the league in David Price, and Craig Kimbrel who has been a dominant closer in the league for years now. Not to mention, the once laughable Hanley Ramirez seems to be coming into his own at first base and at the plate. So what’s the problem?

Well other than the mediocre rotation after Price, I’m putting the blame on Manager John Farrell.

Look I know he was the manager of the 2013 team that won the World Series and that’s great John thanks, but this team has finished in last place for two seasons in a row now and the only time the Red Sox seemed to play good baseball last season was when the team was being managed by Tory Lovullo.

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Obviously the circumstances that led to Lovullo managing were extremely unfortunate, and we’re all glad John Farrell has made a healthy recovery after his battle with cancer. But many would argue that the only reason Farrell still has a job is because the team did not want to fire him while we was battling cancer, which is absolutely understandable and the right thing to do. That ship has since sailed however, and it is time to reevaluate the Manager position for the Red Sox.

There aren’t many Managers around the league who would be able to sustain a job after two consecutive last place finishes, so what makes John Farrell the exception? Call it unfair if you want, tell me that I’m putting the blame on the wrong guy, but there’s obviously a reason that the Sox played better with Lovullo as Manager.

I can’t sit here and put my finger on exactly what it is that John Farrell is doing wrong. Maybe it’s the constant lineup shakeups. It seems as though the Red Sox never have the same lineup for two days in a row, and I understand you want the best match-ups for the opposing pitcher and sometimes a guy needs a day off, but how about allowing these guys the ability to get in some sort of rhythm?

The fascination with getting Chris Young as many at bats as he can (even though the guy can’t hit the side of a barn right now) and the pinch hitting for young stud Travis Shaw in late innings are just a few more things that pop into my head when thinking of where he might be going wrong.

Farrell didn’t do himself any favors in today’s match-up with the Blue Jays either.

Clay Buchholz was on his game today. And yes, I just said that. It’s the truth. For the first time in a long time I was actually enjoying watching Clay Buchholz on the mound. He had everything going for him today. He had the velocity, the movement, he was hitting his spots, and he kept the ball in the infield for the most part. From the first pitch until Farrell pulled him in the 7th, it was the most consistent start of any Red Sox pitcher all season. But instead of giving Clay the chance to go deep into a game for once, Farrell pulled his starter with 2 outs in the 7th and turned to the bullpen. Buchholz was at 97 pitches.

It was all down hill from there.

Koji laid an egg in the 8th, Farrell brought in Kimbrel way earlier than he’s used to, and the Sox ended up giving up 4 runs late in the game.

Boston Red Sox
Apr 18, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (right) speaks to starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (left) during the fifth inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports /

To be fair, the Red Sox bullpen has been pretty damn good all season long and it wasn’t like Farrell was turning to the pen with some sort of false hope. The issue I have with the decision is that, for the first time in a long time Farrell had the opportunity to prove why Buchholz is still the Red Sox number 2 starter. He had the chance to shut up some critics and give Buchholz some much needed confidence, and he blew it.

How is Farrell supposed to expect the fans and the players to have confidence in his number 2 starter if he doesn’t even have confidence in him?

It’s not like Buchholz was sitting at 125 pitches, and it’s not like he put himself in some sort of sticky situation. He was carrying a shutout with two outs in the 7th and a runner on his first and he was at 97 pitches. He was averaging less than 15 pitches an inning and at that rate could’ve finished the 8th at only 112. Buchholz looked comfortable and in the zone.

Koji on the other hand, looked completely off from the second he took the mound. He clearly didn’t have his split finger working for him, and without that pitch Koji is virtually useless. Nonetheless, Farrell elected to keep Uehara in the game to face 5 batters before pulling him and at that point it was too late. He then followed up by inserting Craig Kimbrel in the game in the 8th inning, something that the closer isn’t used to, and it showed.

Today’s actions certainly do not merit a firing. They were common mistakes that are made in Baseball on a daily basis. But how much longer will Dave Dombrowski hang on to a Manager that can’t seem to make the right decisions to help his team win? My guess is that it won’t be long.

Farrell better find a way to get this team on a steady track to success, or else he may find himself unemployed.