It's a small thing. I get that. The Sox lost their first game of 2016 yesterday. It certainly won't be their last. In a baseball season of 162 games, one singular loss is not that important. However, yesterday's game could be a microcosm for the whole season. Think about it. A starter pitcher fails to produce a quality start, the bats do their job and keep the team in the game, but then John Farrell misuses his bullpen to lose the game.
While Clay Buchholz failed to pitch well, he is not the main reason the Red Sox lost yesterday. That honor belongs to the manager, John Farrell. To his credit, he has made some gutsy moves so far that have payed off. Travis Shaw and Brock Holt have played well in these first couple games and have rewarded Farrell's faith in them. However, that does not take away the fact that Farrell is a terrible in game manager (i.e. Brandon Workman batting in the World Series) and it was on display yesterday.
The moment Boston took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 6th, Noe Ramirez's day should have ended. Ramirez is the 25th man on this roster. He is a decent pitcher with some upside, but he is easily the worst reliever in this bullpen. He is the mop up guy. Once the Sox took the lead, Farrell needs to turn it over to Matt Barnes. The Red Sox already got an inning out of Ramirez and he did his job. He came in and spelled Buchholz. Why try to stretch him an extra inning when you have a fully rested pen? Additionally, the Indians had three righties due up (Yan Gomes, Marlon Byrd, and Juan Uribe) so bringing in Barnes is the logical decision. He didn't even have to decided between bringing in a lefty or a righty. You go Barnes in that situation. It is an easy call. Then, you go to Junichi Tarawa in the 7th, Koji Uehara in the 8th, and Craig Kimbrel in the 9th. Boom game over. Easy as pie. That is how Dave Dombrowski drew it up this offseason. Instead, Farrell tries to extend Ramirez, he promptly gives up a run, and the game was tied.
Had the game still been tied entering the bottom of the 6th, leaving Ramirez in makes sense. You still need to get innings out of the bullpen and you don't want to go through everyone. However, they had the lead! Go in for the kill and end the game.
Clearly, Farrell had other ideas in mind...
Thoughts on Farrell's inept in game managerial skills?
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