BOSTON (CBS) — When John Farrell was hired to take over for Bobby Valentine as manager of the Boston Red Sox, there were numerous things to be done. And so far, Farrell has gotten his team off to a solid start here in April.
And with that said, let’s take a look at a checklist as far as what’s been accomplished so far.
–Farrell stressed on day one that he wanted to establish a working relationship with his players. He traveled around the country to personally visit with his players and it looks like it’s paid off. There hasn’t appeared to be much whining amongst the players, as the clubhouse seems to be a happy place. Mission accomplished.
–Farrell was brought in here to try to turn around Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Daniel Bard. Lester and Buchholz have made 10 starts and the numbers are mighty impressive: 69 IP, 50 H, 13 ER, 23 BB, 67 K, 1.69 ERA. They are a combined 9-0 while the team is 10-0 in their starts. Can’t do any better than that. Meanwhile, the Bard re-build continues and his lone appearance in the bigs Thursday was fine (one scoreless inning, one hit, one strikeout). It’s still ongoing and may take a while.
–Farrell wanted an aggressive team on the base paths and for the most part we’ve seen that. Boston has stolen 20 bases this season and their opponents 17. Last year in the entire month of April? Boston had only seven stolen bases while giving up nine. Seven total! There also seems to be an overall aggressiveness on the bases, so the players seem to be getting the message. Now, it’s not always going to work and look good, but it is something that’s been noticed.
–Farrell has shown that he can make tough roster decisions too. Right out of the chute he declared that Joel Hanrahan was his closer on Opening Day in New York. Farrell told last year’s closer (before he got hurt) Andrew Bailey that he would start the season as a set-up man. Hanrahan got hurt and was ineffective. Bailey has replaced him and has been outstanding. When Hanrahan comes back, you get the sense that Farrell won’t be afraid to go with either one — whichever he feels will get the job done.
–On the flip side, Farrell never wavered when Jose Iglesias began the season as the starting shortstop because Stephen Drew was hurt. Even though Iglesias was tearing it up, Drew was given the job when he returned. Farrell was clear on that one from the start.
–Farrell also stood up to a challenge in spring training from Alfredo Aceves. He then wasn’t afraid to keep him on the roster when he could have easily asked Ben Cherington to ship him out. However, Farrell knew what Aceves could bring to the pitching staff. He kept him. Then when his performance tailed off … out he went. Granted, his bizarre attitude didn’t do Aceves any favors, but again a decision was made.
–Farrell also has brought an enthusiasm for the game and his players have seemingly embraced it.
We can go on and on with lineups, etc., but my point is that Farrell seems to be doing everything John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino and especially Ben Cherington had hoped he would do when he arrived.
It’s only one month, but it was an important month for the future of this team. A long way to go I know, but I think Sox fans have to be downright giddy with what the 2013 season has brought from John Farrell and his Sox so far.
Enjoy the ride!
Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.