Red Sox Report: John Farrell Was Masterful When It Counted For Sox
The columns were surely already written before the final out of last night’s game. The pundits nationwide were ready to declare Joe Maddon a genius for pulling his starter with no outs in the 2nd inning and then mixing and matching his pitchers all the way to game 5 of the ALDS in Boston. That never came to fruition however as Maddon was out-foxed by the guy across the field – Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Farrell managed a bit tepid in Game 3 but with the Rays breathing down their necks in Game 4 Farrell decided to roll the dice and his gambles paid off. First off was the incredible trust he showed in Craig Breslow. Farrell had a quick hook for starter Jake Peavy, who was lights out until the 6th inning, and brought Breslow in to mitigate the damage. Breslow did that and more as he set the Rays down through the 7th and into the 8th with 4 strikeouts.
Farrell also showed great confidence in 21-year old rookie Xander Boegarts. Boegarts was thrust onto the post-season roster due to the Sox’ lack of a true back-up shortstop. It’s been tempting to get Boegarts, a lefty masher, into the lineup but Farrell stuck with Stephen Drew. In the 7th inning of last night’s game Farrell finally relented and gave the kid an at-bat against lefty flame thrower Jake McGee. Boegarts worked a tough walk and then scored the tying run on a wild-pitch by Joel Peralta. Boegarts walked again in the 9th and scored the 3rd insurance run on a sack fly by Dustin Pedroia.
Farrell had a tough task coming into the year by being tasked to both exercising the Red Sox’ demons from the firing of Terry Francona and the Bobby Valentine era as well as his own after two failed seasons as manager of the Blue Jays. This was a night that has embodied what he’s done all season long – quietly led this team to the best record in baseball and the ALCS. After all that the Red Sox have been through over the past 2 seasons they now stand 8 wins away from a World Series title. The steady hand of Farrell has led them here.