Alright guys it’s Memorial Day weekend which means two things. One, if you’re over the age of 21 (or 18… Or 16… Or 12 whatever, I don’t know what middle schoolers do anymore) you’re probably a little bit buzzed right now, and two, it’s about time to do a quarterly evaluation of our boys down at Fenway.
At this point, it’s fairly safe to say that the Red Sox have been markedly better this year than they have been in the previous two. The lineup is setting the world on fire, the bullpen has been dominant and the starting pitching has been just able to keep its head above water, getting the Red Sox out to a 29-19 record, good for first in the AL East.
Now a lot of people want to point to manager John Farrell as the catalyst for the Red Sox success. And why wouldn’t they? With the exception of Ruben Amaro Jr. the coaching staff is exactly the same as last year. A lot of the same players are back too. They all have another year under their belts and they’ve all figured it out right?
So wrong. Sooooooooo f*cking wrong, Farrell should be fired, Jimmy Stewart is right and you are WRONG. “They all” haven’t figured it out, some of them have, but John Farrell just isn’t one of them.
I am wholeheartedly convinced that the Red Sox thought long and hard about sh!tcanning Farrell after last season and promoting Torey Lovullo. And if he didn’t have lymphoma, I bet they would have without a second thought. But you can’t fire the guy with cancer. That’s like… Like… No there isn’t even an analogy for that, that is the analogy. So now Red Sox are stuck with Farrell as manager for another season.
“But Nick, things are way better now, why should we get rid of the manager?”, you ask very stupidly. Well stupid, it’s because I don’t want “better” I want “best”. Call me spoiled or call me right I don’t care which. This team in this town should be contending for the World Series, not for the over on an 86.5 win Vegas line.
Even though things are better right now, Farrell is still making the same boneheaded calls that cost us games over the last 2 years. The only difference is the rest of the staff is mitigating more of those mistakes now.
Torey Lovullo (who should be the manager right now) has brought in a stylistic change that has helped tremendously this season. Last season we wrote that Lovello drew a lot of similarities between the Sox and the World Series winning Royals. Well “coincidentally” this year the Sox are doing some classic Royals sh!t.
They’re stealing more bases, going first to third, second to home, and generally forcing the other team to execute perfectly to beat them. And with – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – Ruben Amaro Jr. as the first base coach, the Red Sox are better prepared to run more. Look I liked Arnie Beyeler, he was a great fielding coach, but that was his primary focus and baserunning was an afterthought. Amaro appears to be jelling well with Brian Butterfield and the baserunning has improved dramatically, and in turn, the Red Sox are scoring more runs.
Unfortunately while the coaches are doing their part to improve the team, they can only do so much with the manager f*cking it up. Need proof? Just look at the last two games. Last game of the Rockies series, he decides to hit Jackie Bradley Jr. – in the middle of a month long hitting streak – lead off for the first time all season and he went 0 – 4 snapping his streak and the Sox lost the game. And then the next game in Toronto, in the ninth down 2, he leaves David Ortiz on the bench and the Sox go down in order with freaking Marco Hernandez and Christian Vazquez making the last 2 outs.
Am I saying those decisions singlehandedly lost those games? No. But I am saying they were bad decisions, and that Farrell consistently makes decisions like them. Even when things are going well he’s messing up. For f*ck sake he couldn’t even execute a simple double switch correctly in the goddamn World Series back in 2013. He screws everything from pinch hitters to sideline reporters (sorry I couldn’t help myself).
Look I don’t know how reasonable all this Farrell hate is but I do know this team would be better off with Lovullo at the helm. He lead a significantly inferior team to an identical record in the last 2 months of 2015, and I’m willing to guarantee he’d have a few more wins this season than Farrell does.
At the end of the day, all that matters is whether or not the Red Sox can make a run deep into October. And if they do that under Farrell, then that’s fan-f*cking-tastic. But as long as John Farrell is the manager, I just can’t really see us playing a lot of postseason baseball in 2016.