Players Bail Out Hapless Farrell

In Toronto John Farrell's tactical acumen failed to live up to his reputation for intelligence and preparedness he had earned in Boston and Cleveland. Last night Red Sox fans got their first view of Farrell's poor game management. Luckily for all involved it did not cost the Red Sox the game.

The first questionable decision was the caught stealing/failed hit and run with Daniel Nava on first and Will Middlebrooks at the plate. While kinda dumb, this decision at least might have some rationale behind it. Jerry Remy suspected that the play was a busted hit and run. Despite Farrell's affinity for an "up tempo" offense, it's doubtful he would send Nava on a straight steal.

I suspect he put on the hit and run on in an effort to help Middlebrooks out of his recent slump. Managers will on occasion put on the play to get a struggling hitter to just try to make contact and hit the ball to the opposite field. Terry Fancona used to do this all the time with Jason Varitek. Up four, with an average base runner on first, and a strikeout prone hitter up at the plate might not have been the time to try this, but at least there might have been some rationale behind the decision.

Conversely there is no rationale for leaving Alfredo Aceves in as long as he did. He barely escaped the fifth inning. He left the bases loaded and got the third out on a rocket that Shane Victorino was just able to run down.

Generally I am in favor of getting as much as possible out of a starting pitcher. I didn't hate having Aceves start the 6th. Not taking him out after the lead off angle was curious. Not taking him out after either of the back to back home runs was idiotic. Letting Aceves bring the tying run to the plate in what was five minutes before a five run game is just downright negligent.

Remy figured during the game that Aceves was still out there for as long as he did because he didn't have anybody else available. Make no mistake, Farrell had his pants around his ankles. Whenever a manager leaves a starter in the game so far beyond the point where it's clear he's fatigues, we all think of Grady Little. Grady had two guys ready to go, he chose to leave Pedro in. Farrell had nobody ready. His failure to prepare left him no choice. I'd argue that that is worse, naturally excluding the significance of both games.

With any luck this is just a blip. In his third year as a manager I am afraid it might not be.