John Farrell

John Farrell on D&H: Work ethic, energy, effort not 'primary culprit' of Sox' struggles

June 17, 2015 - 12:04 pm
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Embattled manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show on Wednesday before the third game of the Red Sox' home-and-home series with the Braves to talk about the team's rough season. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page. Now that the Red Sox are shifting over to National League play with their trip down to Atlanta, the DH position will not be an option . For Wednesday's game, Mike Napoli will get the start at first since Atlanta is trotting out a left-handed pitcher in Alex Wood, while David Ortiz will man first Thursday against righty Shelby Miller. Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez make their returns to the lineup Wednesday as well after sitting on Tuesday, batting leadoff and fourth, respectively. Farrell reflected on utility man Brock Holt's feat of hitting for the cycle in Tuesday's win, saying that the unlikelihood of doing so not only highlights the accomplishment itself but also Holt's play. "I think it's got to be right there, from an offensive side, with a guy that hits three home runs in a game," he said. "How it might compare to maybe a one-hit shutout, you just look at the uniqueness and how rarely it happens. I think that speaks for itself, but as it relates to Brock and what we've seen, how he's improved as a player both the versatility -- which, again, he's played seven positions this year for us -- and how he's driving the ball more consistently, it's been really fun to see his progress on an individual level come to the forefront." Holt has been heating up recently, excelling in the two-spot behind Pedroia with a .357/.438/.607 slash line in his past seven games and hits in 11 of his last 13 contests. "Brock's going to get regular at-bats, if not everyday at-bats," Farrell said. "And particularly in the American League with our DH slot, he gives us such flexibility to rest guys, and under the current alignment with David being our everyday DH, it really allows us to spell other guys more frequently." Holt has proven that he plays well wherever he is placed on the field, giving Farrell and the team plenty of options. Right now, though, the manager said that most of Holt's time will likely be spent in right field. "I see the range in which he covers the ground in right field, and because we've had such a high number of players in the lineup at that position, you can say right now that right field is our most pressing need for Brock Holt," Farrell said. "Third base I think he's played very well, so to say that we need to sit someone for Brock Holt every day, I think we're seeing that more regularly in right field. That's the obvious thing, but to say that he's going to supplant [Xander Bogaerts] at short or [Dustin Pedroia] at second, given the composition of the remaining part of our roster, he's going to get he majority of his reps at right field. But also it gives us flexibility inside of a game if we've got to make a move at another position." Even with a seven-game losing streak snapped on Tuesday, the Sox' recent struggles are still under the microscope. Farrell said that the issues plaguing Boston are not effort related, but instead a lack of consistency. "Whether that's on the offensive side, to the pitching side, there's been a stretch of games where we're swinging the bat well, but we're not getting the pitching and vice versa," he said. "To date, you look at the record, it indicates that that hasn't synced up or jelled as we might have anticipated, so it's not effort. And I will be honest, there have been times where we've had instances with that that continue to be addressed, but when we all experience, watch, monitor the work ethic that goes into games, the way guys take their at-bats or what we do on the base paths, and there have been poor decisions made on the basepaths, overall I can't point to any one of those areas, work ethic or energy or effort, as being the primary culprit." Farrell added that it's not in his nature to call out players or throw them under the bus publicly, even when things get rough. "I don't forget how difficult the game is, and I think that's first and foremost," he said. "That's not to say that everyone is insulated in here because when situations arise, they're addressed one on one. And I think in the 2 1/2 years so far, there's been times where I'm not going to air a player out if I haven't spoken to him firsthand. I just don't think that's professional. I think I've got to handle situations with a certain level of respect, but at the same time what's said to the individual person in my office or in the clubhouse, I don't know that necessarily has to be publicized or broadcast. That's the way I choose to handle it." The Red Sox still have the second-worst team ERA in the majors at 4.52, but they've shown some signs of improvement as the season has progressed. Farrell said that things haven "evened out in the sense that, as we go through a third of the year, you've got a pretty good understanding of what to expect for a given guy." "There's been games where it's been a shorter start than anticipated, so those are becoming a little bit less," he added, "and I think because we're a little bit more equipped, particularly with Steven Wright in the bullpen to cover maybe a higher number of innings in a given outing, our pitching staff is constructed to absorb that if that situation does come up. ... So I think we're just getting to know guys a little bit more and they've evened out some of that performance." Because of things he's seen from his team, even among the muck, Farrell said he still believes in this club because of the "glimpses of production" he's seen in some of the spots in the lineup. "You see glimpses of guys getting on a hot streak," he said. "Mike Napoli, again, swings the bat well [Tuesday] with three hard hits and a couple of base hits. And I realize that nine guys at one time are not going to be all clicking, but I think if we get guys to perform to what their track records have proven over a long period, that's what gives you that belief that this team is a good one, and we certainly haven't given up on it."

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