Three reasons why John Farrell (and his staff) must be fired
|Christopher Evans/Boston Globe|
Even if the Red Sox somehow climb out of the cellar of the American League East, John Farrell has to be fired.
And bench coach Torey Lovullo clearly cannot be consider as a replacement.
The need for the dismissal of the Red Sox manager isn’t only based on the fact that the team is going to finish in last place for the second straight season. It isn’t only because Farrell is a game below .500 in three years in Boston — when one of the seasons was a 97-win campaign.
Even if Red Sox ownership can stand that embarrassment, three totally unacceptable and completely indefensible baseball decisions made this season simply cannot be accepted. All three are grounds for dismissal.
The latest came Tuesday night in Miami when Farrell, recovering from a hernia surgery, was watching from a hotel room.
With Lovullo calling the shots, the Red Sox blew a 4-0 lead and lost 5-4 in 10 innings. That isn’t entirely the fill-in skipper’s fault. Ben Cherington’s alleged bullpen was more to blame than Lovullo for the loss.
However, Lovullo , made an astonishingly bad move in the bottom of the 10th inning after Dee Gordon led things off with a triple, putting the Marlins in prime position for the win.
Of course, in such a situation on the road, the right thing to do is walk the bases loaded to set up a force out at the plate. Everybody knows that. Dennis Eckersley even said so.
Lovullo, who apparently never met Craig Breslow, figured the lefty was going to strike out the side to get out of the jam, intentionally walked Martin Prado because he bats right handed. Prado quickly took second on fielder’s indifference before Lovullo had Breslow pitch to Derek Dietrich and Justin Bour with a first base open.
Of course, that didn’t work out for the visiting team.
Before you try to defend the decision, ask yourself one question. What would JoeMaddon have done in that situation?
Not only would have Maddon walked the bases loaded, he probably would have changed pitchers twice in the process to make sure the situation dragged out as long as possible. Then he would, in dramatic fashion, have an outfielder run into the dugout to get an infielder’s mitt so he could stack the infield, if for no other reason than to mess with the batter.
We’ve seen it happen multiple times when Maddon managed the Rays, and it has worked a lot. That’s why Maddon can even win in the home dugout at Wrigley Field.
Then, of course, there was the May 15 game in Seattle when Farrell had Junichi Tazawa pitch to admitted cheater Nelson Cruz with first base open. Cruz, who was the hottest hitter on the planet at the time, singled in Brad Miller and the Mariners walked off with a 2-1 win.
Farrell apparently learned a lesson about pitching to hot hitters with the base open in Seattle, but he completely misinterpreted that lesson.
On May 31 in Texas, the Rangers had the tying run on second with the Red Sox leading 3-2 and one following a Pablo Sandoval error and a bunt.
So, Farrell walked red-hot Prince Fielder intentionally, willingly putting the winning run on base.
By the time they are 30, most people learn there are two things you simply can’t do. Under no circumstances can you triple stamp a double stamp, and you can never — ever — intentionally walk the winning run. Especially when Josh Hamilton is available to pinch hit.
Figuring Hamilton could never double, Farrell played the outfield straight up, and the hefty Fielder came rumbling home when Hamilton hit a deep double to left-center field.
Sure, the Red Sox would have likely found a way to lose all three of those games had the manager made the move managers have been making since the dawn of time. That’s just who the Red Sox are in 2015.
But those terrible decisions can’t be accepted.
Cherington said the Red Sox can be fixed before next season. That fix must include replacing a coaching staff that has a better chance triple stamping a double stamp than it does winning a one-run game on the road.