Red Sox Need Major Shakeups to Reclaim Lead

The Boston Red Sox are stuck in a rut. The pitching is way below average. The hitting is strong but too many runners are left on base. The team’s leadership is lacking. John Farrell seems to be on auto pilot, but doesn’t see that the plane is rapidly descending. When I watch the Red Sox play, I see the inside of a grandfather clock. A clock that has a few busted gears. I honestly believe that with a little tweaking, the team could start running like clockwork again and knock the Orioles out of first place. But if that’s going to happen, the Red Sox need major shakeups in their leadership.

Let’s start with the obvious. John Farrell needs to go. Yes, some say it’s not entirely hisRed Sox Need Major Shakeups fault that the team is struggling. He’s the manager though, and has to take responsibility for what’s happening. After 2013, the team has finished dead last twice. The Red Sox will be lucky if they grab a Wild Card spot this season. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Tory Lovullo needs to take over the team. The Red Sox become much stronger when he took over as acting manager last year. If he did so well, and the Red Sox are slipping back into their annual slump, then what is Dombrowski waiting for? You don’t wait for a ship to slip half way under the water before dropping the lifeboats. The Red Sox are starting to slip under the water, so what’s taking so long to relinquish control to Lovullo?

If you’re going to ditch Farrell then pitching coach Carl Willis also has to go. I’m not sure what he’s telling pitchers on the mound when the Red Sox are down a few runs but it’s obviously not working at all.

Perhaps the biggest thing that frustrates me is the amount of runners the Red Sox leave on base. I’ve lost count of the amount of times the Red Sox had a chance to take the lead and completely blew it. I’m not talking about missing out on a grand slam. Those are hard as hell to hit. I’m talking about leaving runners on base with no outs and the bases loaded, or runners in scoring position. Earlier in the season other fans and I would get excited when this scenario presented itself because scoring at least one run seemed like a sure thing. But opposing pitchers under intense pressure have figured out how to keep the Red Sox from scoring. Is the team looking at the pitchers the opposing teams call in relief? Maybe the team should focus on the opposing relievers, if they’re not doing so already.

Red Sox Need Major Shakeups To Turn Pitching Around

Our offense in general is spectacular. Our outfield defense is also strong. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that our pitching needs help, and that the hitters don’t do well under pressure. I think a lot of it has to do with confidence. I don’t see Farrell inspiring a lot of confidence, and neither does the rest of the coaching staff (minus Lovullo). Like I said in a previous article, maybe Dustin Pedrioa should become the player manager. He certainly has what it takes to light a fire under the team. The Red Sox need major shakeups, and ditching Farrell and Willis would be a great start.

Firing John Farrell Not the Answer

In light of Boston’s recent struggles, many have suggested that it’s time for John Farrell to go. He’s the first manager in more than 20 years to guide the Sox to back-to-back losing seasons, and they’ve faded after a fast start this year. Fans and media are understandably frustrated with the team’s recent performance, but firing John Farrell is not the answer.

Dismissing Farrell would be an overreaction to one bad month; the Red Sox were great under him in April and MayFiring John Farrell. They stunk in June, but that was because their lineup cooled off and their pitching staff was exposed. Farrell doesn’t have a dependable fourth or fifth starter right now; his bullpen options are limited. Dave Dombrowski needs to get him some help, not kick him to the curb.

Making Farrell the scapegoat for one bad month of baseball isn’t just unfair—it’s wrong. It’s not his fault that the rotation is in shambles, or that a bunch of key players got hurt around the same time. Boston’s crazy offense was bound to cool off sooner or later.

The Red Sox have a lot of problems, but Farrell is the least of them. He’s not a great manager, but he’s not terrible, either. He has the respect of his players and handles the media well. Often times managers are fired to send a message, but what kind of a message would that send to Boston? They’re only a few games out of first and could easily regain control of the AL East if their hitters get hot again.

Firing Farrell isn’t going to magically fix the rotation or bolster the bullpen. It won’t make Pablo Sandoval any skinnier or Koji Uehara any younger. It’s not Farrell’s fault that David Price is struggling or that Clay Buchholz has turned into a pumpkin. The best manager in the world couldn’t help Joe Kelly find the plate or Christian Vazquez hit major league pitching.

The Red Sox are flawed, and firing John Farrell isn’t going to change that. At least give him until the end of the season. If the Sox go nowhere, then fine, fire him. But right now, there’s no need.