Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Let's be honest, John Farrell didn't have
huge shoes to fill when he was named the manager of the Boston Red Sox this
It wasn't exactly Terry Francona he was replacing. He took over for Bobby
Valentine, who for a number of reasons will likely go down as the worst
manager in team history.
But Farrell has experienced no such growing pains and his impact on the club
has almost been immediate. More importantly, the Red Sox seem to be
responding, as they have taken on his relentless approach to the game and to a
man they say this is the most prepared team they have ever been on.
And not lost on anyone is the open line of communication the team has not only
with Farrell, but his entire staff. A key ingredient that was indeed lacking
under the Valentine regime and was probably the biggest factor in him not
being with the organization today.
Heading into action on Wednesday the Red Sox, the team most people assumed
would be fighting it out with the New York Yankees for last place in the
American League East, sit atop the division and own the second-best record in
the league behind only the Oakland Athletics.
Of course, it's early in the season, but still it's quite a contrast from the
4-10 start the team went through last season on their way to 93 losses.
Truth be told, the Red Sox wanted Farrell to replace Francona in 2012, but he
wanted to give it a go with the Toronto Blue Jays. Farrell, of course, had
been the pitching coach under Francona for four seasons before taking the
managerial leap with the Blue Jays in 2011.
But, after what happened last season, or more importantly why it happened, the
Red Sox did everything in their power to get Farrell, and this time the
feeling was mutual.
As bad of a match as Valentine may have been for that clubhouse, his biggest
problem may have been starting pitching. In fact, Boston's rotation has
basically been inconsistent since Farrell left.
And everyone knew it.
His biggest job was to fix that rotation, specifically Jon Lester and Clay
Buchholz. Lester last season struggled to 14 losses and a 4.82 ERA, while
Buchholz pitched to a 4.56 ERA, the highest by the way of any starter on the
Well, Lester is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA this season and Buchholz has won all three
of his starts and is pitching to a brilliant 0.41 ERA.
In fact, no Red Sox pitcher has allowed more than three runs in a start and
their 2.64 ERA is second-best in the majors at the moment.
"(Excellent starting pitching) sets the tone," Farrell said after his staff
allowed three runs in a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays. "We haven't
clicked (Nos.) 1-9 offensively. To have the game in check, low-run games,
we've talked about the importance of starting pitching."
We are not yet a month into the season, but Farrell seems to be the right guy
for the job. Both on and off the field.
And after what happened on Monday, Boston could probably use a little joy
AROUND THE DIAMOND
* It's hard to get on the MLB schedule makers. They have to come up with a
162-game slate for 30 teams. It's not easy. Of course, nobody can predict the
weather and there are going to be postponements in April. We know that. But
was it necessary for the New York Mets to play seven straight games in
Minnesota and Colorado? In that same vein, how is it possible that a New York
team wasn't at home on Monday for Jackie Robinson Day? Maybe I'm wrong, but
didn't Robinson break the color barrier in New York?
* San Francisco's Barry Zito came back to earth on Tuesday, as he was battered
by the Milwaukee Brewers for nine runs in just 2 2/3 innings. He hadn't issued
a run all season and his loss was the first since Aug. 7 of last season, a
stretch that included 16 wins for the Giants, including the postseason. Maybe
this means that whatever hex Zito put on Tim Lincecum to steal his ability has
* Milwaukee Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo became the latest Major League
Baseball player to be nabbed for drunk driving. And sadly, again MLB will do
nothing about it. These players make millions of dollars. In the last few
years, there has been a player killed by a drunk driver, as well as another
one killed while driving drunk. What else has to happen so that MLB can start
handing out penalties for this?
The Sports Network