Bill Foley (@Foles74)
Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Orioles exposed two glaring weakness for the Red Sox.
One, the team’s depth is just not very good right now. Really, was Rusney Castillo pinch hitting with two out in the ninth the best the organization could come up with?
That the Red Sox are tying Farrell’s hands behind his back with the lack of a bench spells double trouble for the Old Town Team.
Brock Holt is still out with a concussion, the same injury that derailed him a bit last year. Sadly, the Red Sox can’t count on Holt to consistently be there the rest of the season. The team also can’t expect to get Blake Swihart back anytime soon, either.
Travis Shaw, who is in danger of facing a recall election for his title “Mayor of Ding Dong City,” is struggling big time, and Chris Young playing every day in left field the Red Sox bench has become nonexistent.
The bet here is Shaw will turn things around and figure things out during the 10-game home stand.
Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Red Sox trade for an outfielder or bring up a prospect to fortify the team’s overall depth. Young has been hot lately, but he would be better long term in a platoon.
Holt’s return as a utility player will help tremendously, and that might be the best role for him.
There might not be any hope for Farrell in a close game. Time after time we see opposing managers manage circles around him.
When Young was ice cold and Shaw was hot, he pinch hit Young for Shaw time after time anyway. Then, last week in San Francisco, Farrell pinch hit for a red-hot Young with Shaw, who couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat this month.
Whether it is his mismanagement of closer Craig Kimbrel or his decision to not walk the bases loaded with the losing run on third and one out in extra innings in Minnesota, Farrell’s repeated poor decisions are maddening.
They also are nothing new.
Who could forget the week he had last year when he gave away games in Seattle and Texas? He didn’t seem to realize it was within the rules to walk streaking Nelson Cruz with first base open in Seattle. Then, he intentionally walked Prince Fielder, who was the go-head run, in Texas.
The Red Sox, of course, lost both games, and it’s safe to say Billy Martin’s head would have exploded at the site of either move by a baseball manager.
The team clearly isn’t going to change managers when it is nine games over .500, and perhaps it is possible that Farrell’s positives outweigh his negatives. We in the peanut gallery do not have the benefit of knowing all that goes into a decision.
Plus, a weak bench can make even the best managers seem pedestrian, so the manager should probably get the benefit of the doubt for now.
But Boston is 4-7 after the calendar turned, and a suddenly a fun season has turned to torment. The Red Sox are full-on stuck in the middle of the dreaded June Swoon.
Without better depth and better decision making, they will not break out of it any time soon.