There is no comparison to make when it comes to managers John Farrell and Bobby Valentine, so let’s not make assumptions and let’s just cut to the chase. John Farrell, the 46th manager of the Boston Red Sox is, by far, one of the most confident, casual and clairvoyant managers in baseball this season. He’s got his players under a spell and we’re watching him like a hawk; a spell in which he leads the Red Sox from a grueling season in 2012 to an outstanding 2013. His offense is stellar and pitching remarkable. Clay Buchholtz may be injured right now, but Jon Lester remains as a fantastic starter. The offense is one of the best in the AL East. As of June 11, 2013 the Red Sox held a record of 147 doubles and 47 home runs.
But this isn’t about stats. Instead, this is about a respectable, trustworthy, humble and honorable man who has
instilled camaraderie within a clubhouse which was once in disarray. Leading into the 2013 season, it seemed as though John Farrell was up against a brick wall. His team was beat. There was lack of sportsmanship amongst the players and his DH, David Ortiz, was on the DL. Thankfully, Farrell had been the Sox’ pitching coach in years passed and players like Clay Buccholz and Jon Lester knew of his style and respected him as a coach for what he could bring to the table. In an interview with Mr. Farrell, back in October, he discussed his strategy to bring the Sox to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. He has to know the individual players. He has to know what went wrong last season to get to the bottom of things, to get to the top. He knew of the lackluster, Bobby Valentine, a poor excuse, and he knew that the, “clubhouse culture had to be changed” states David Ortiz.
It’s July 16, midseason, the All-Star game was Monday at Citi Field; Buchholz, although injured, Pedroia and Ortiz will be in attendance. The Sox are up 58-38 in the AL East, and the playoffs are just around the bend. As I said before, there is no comparison to make between the two managers, Farrell and Bobby V. Case in point, Farrell “sets a good precedent for leadership”, so let’s stop and pay homage to our humble manager.
They may be number one in the AL East right now, but the Red Sox have a lot to improve if they want to stay on top. Their offense is immaculate, but that’s beside the point. It’s their pitching that is far from perfect. With Andrew Bailey as a closer this season and Joel Hanrahan out with an injury, the Red Sox bullpen is not looking so strong. Should they pull up Junichi Tazawa and Uehara from the middle and make them closers? But what would happen to the middle? No matter, manager John Farrell must take a closer look at his players and begin to consider making a trade soon, before things worsen. After all, baseball season is far from over and if the Red Sox want to remain on top they must look at their weakest link which is their bullpen.
Starters are also not looking so promising. John Lester, for example, has gone 1-4 with a 7.30 ERA and Clay Bucholz is on the disabled list for bursitis in his elbow. Ryan Dempster, John Lackey and Alfredo Aceves have made some promising starts, but being on the back end of the rotation and seemingly unpredictable most of the time (especially Aceves), it’s not going to cut it for the Red Sox if they want to remain on top as July and August approach.
They are only half way through the season, with September 29, against the Baltimore Orioles, being their closing game. If they don’t make a trade soon, or a move in the case of Koji Uehara, it will be a far cry from the World Series.
Although Uehara would be taken from the middle to closer, he is a strong athlete with consistency on the mound. The 38 year old has thus far struck out six batters in three innings over the course of his last three games, but again, the Sox still need to look for another closer so as not to tire out Uehara. One thing for sure, we, as fans, do not want to see another Sock placed on the DL.
At the start of the season I was taken aback by an email I received from the editor of the Yawkey Way Report. It stated I was to write for the Boston Red Sox for the 2013 season. I was ecstatic, for the one thing I knew, I was going to be forced to become a Red Sox fan.
I would like to tell you my background before you wonder how it would be possible to go from not a fan at all to a diehard fan without knowing much about anything. I grew up playing softball. From age 3 until 18 I was on top of my game. I joined the high school softball league at Beverly High in Beverly, and from freshman year on I played right field on varsity. I did not continue in college, but my love for the game remained. So when I say I was initiated, I already had an idea of what I was getting myself into. My parents don’t appreciate the sport despite the fact two of their three daughters played forever, so I never had the opportunity to go a game at Fenway. It would only be until I found myself dating a die hard Red Sox fan when I was in my twenties that I got to go to the famed park. It was love at first game, but as the relationship drifted the interest was lost. Years passed and I found myself wrapped up in ‘more important’ things. Like what? I don’t know what’s more important than the Red Sox now. I guess that means I truly am the die hard fan I never saw myself being, looking back. Now, if I am in the car I immediately turn the station to WEEI 93.7, and if I really want to see a game (not having a t.v), I embrace my parents with my presence. In other words, I don’t miss a day of Red Sox.
To make a long story short, this year is my year to get back onboard. Thanks to Yawkey Way Report my passion for the game has come alive again. I know the players, I love the game, I get frustrated when a bad play or call is made, I get excited when David Ortiz hits a homerun and when Dustin Pedroia dives head on for a line drive. I think no matter what happens after this season, I will always and forever be a Red Sox fan.
Thank you Yawkey Way Report!