John Farrell

John Farrell on D&H: 'The belief has never left our group'

July 08, 2015 - 1:07 pm
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Manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show on Wednesday before Game 2 of the Red Sox' series with the Marlins. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page. David Ortiz will get another look at first base on Wednesday night, allowing Farrell to have Hanley Ramirez DH while Alejandro De Aza plays left field. Otherwise, the rest of the lineup remains the same. With an off day scheduled for Thursday, Wednesday is the perfect time for Ortiz to play first base. "You've got to keep that in mind and how does he come out of those days, so the day off following gives him a physical day of recovery," Farrell said. "This isn't a 22-year-old we're talking about that bounced back quickly, so that's not to put anything on David, that's just to say these are the facts and we've got to work through it ... This is all about keeping everybody in a rotation and involved as well." Being able to plan this way from game-to-game has been a large part of the team's recent success. With a 7-3 record in their last 10 games, the Red Sox are making their way back into the thick of the race in the division. Farrell said part of his squad's progress comes from a different energy than it had exhibited previously in the season and an ability to come back from deficits within a game. "The belief has never left our group," he said. "Granted, our record doesn't reflect the expectation that we have internally. We're getting in that direction, but I think some guys have come back to us. Alejandro De Aza has added something to our roster, a proven guy. But I think more importantly when you point to our team's success, you look at the younger players and how they've really stepped forward. Whether it's Mookie [Betts], [Xander Bogaerts], Brock [Holt], those three guys in particular. The addition of Eduardo Rodriguez has given us quality outings almost each time he's walked to the mound, so there's been a number of factors, a number of ingredients that have come into it. "But then all of a sudden you start to catch a little fire, you start to win," Farrell continued. "I think somebody mentioned to me last night we'd forced the opposition to blow four saves in the first 81 games, and then there's been four consecutive, so there's been a turn of the tides so to speak, but I think it's the growing belief within our clubhouse." Rick Porcello, who has struggled of late, is on the mound Wednesday. The righty has allowed fewer than four earned runs in just one of his last five starts and now has a season ERA of 6.08. While some might consider this outing to be a big one for Porcello, Farrell said that the only thing that might be different to his approach is how he blocks out the static and "what is being talked about every time he turns around, understandably so." "But it's one thing to throw your bullpens," Farrell said. "It's another to carry it and execute it inside that given game, so the identity of what's at the root of all this is known and yet it's in the moment of making those decisions on pitch selection and then ultimately executing is what it boils down to. I'm looking forward to he and Ryan Hanigan to be hooking up here [Wednesday]. That's not to put this all on the catchers that have caught him before, but there's some level of comfort there and we need this to play out for us to continue the stretch we're on." Farrell said what Hanigan brings to the plate might help Porcello get back on track, noting that the catcher approaches game-calling differently than others. "He's got a very creative mind back there," he said. "There's what you would refer to as the book approach towards game-calling and yet Ryan has got some creativity, he's got freedom, he sees things a little bit differently. Ultimately he's got a way to connect and make pitchers believe in him. He talks very passionately when he talks about game-planning or in the conversation between innings based on what he's seen on a given hitter in a previous half-inning. It's all of that. It's what the pitcher feels from him, what his track record has proven over the course of time. If you watch him catch, he is physically into every single pitch and he's wringing wet by the third inning and everyone feels that energy and what he brings behind the plate. We anticipate that being the case [Wednesday]." Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox. On Bogaerts' improvement from last year to this year: "Just experience, experience and knowing that what he learned from the challenges of a year ago. And then when he got off to a decent start, I think the belief and the confidence started to come back to him, particularly offensively. He's done countless hours of work with Brian Butterfield, the work that they've done so its the overall freedom and the relaxation that's taken over because we're seeing the speed of the game in which he's playing. Defensively, he's been outstanding and we see evident by the big base hit [Tuesday], so many times in those RBI spots I think he's hitting around .390 with men in scoring position so it's the relaxation and seeing the ball really clearly. He's doing a fantastic job." On the AL East being close: "Well just by the standings alone, no one has really taken off and separated themselves, and I think we all recognized that before the season began that there was no perfect team, each team was going to have their flaws. I think the biggest thing is who would stay away from the biggest number of injuries and can you put together a stretch that allows to either one make up ground, which I think we're in the midst of that right now, or, as you go forward, what is that stretch that allows you to kind of separate yourself from the pack."

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