John Farrell's 5 Smartest Moves of the 2013 Red Sox Season
John Farrell may not deserve all the credit for the 2013 Boston Red Sox, but he has made a difference with his ability to manage certain situations throughout the season.
In 2012, Bobby Valentine did not really make the smartest dugout decisions and was released before the season ended. Farrell made an impact right away this season and has made decisions that have helped the team succeed in 2013.
While not saying that every decision of the former pitching coach has been brilliant, he has made enough good ones to spark the turnaround for the 2013 Red Sox.
5. Pulling Steven Wright in First Start
In his one inning, he walked two and allowed one hit, but his knuckleball was dancing too much for catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Two of the three earned runs charged to Wright scored on passed balls by the catcher, who totaled four in the inning.
Farrell quickly pulled the plug on Wright and replaced him with Brandon Workman as the Red Sox eventually won, 15-10, after being down, 5-0, after the second inning.
4. Using Jonny Gomes as a Defensive Replacement in Seattle Series at Fenway Park
In the final two games of the Red Sox's series against the Seattle Mariners July 30-Aug. 1, Jonny Gomes made some great plays in the outfield after being used late as a pinch hitter in both games.
On July 31, he completed a rarity with an unassisted double play after making a sliding grab in left and running it in to touch second base for the second out after Raul Ibanez got a little too greedy on the basepaths in the 15th inning. The Sox would walk off in the bottom of the 15th with the win on Stephen Drew's RBI single down the line with the bases loaded.
On Aug. 1, Gomes threw out a runner at third and made a rolling catch into the AL East standings scoreboard on the Green Monster to end the ninth inning. He later tied the game on a RBI single in the ninth as the Red Sox rallied for six runs in the ninth to beat the Mariners, 8-7.
Calling Will Middlebrooks Back Up on Aug. 10
Will Middlebrooks finally got the call back to Boston after nearly two months in the minors to get his bat right.
The combination of Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder was not getting the job done at third base for the Red Sox where they combined to go 5-for-37 and then 0-for-18 before Middlebrooks got the call up on Aug. 10.
The 24-year-old Middlebrooks had struggled to start the season at the major league level with a .192 average, 60 strikeouts and only nine walks. The only plus were his nine homers.
Since his return, Middlebrooks has gone 3-for-6 with a walk, two RBI and two runs scored. He helped the Red Sox beat the Royals, 5-3, on Saturday night and has looked good defensively at third.
If Middlebrooks can be the player he was in 2012 for the final six weeks of this season, then his bat will be welcomed back, but if he struggles again, it may be time for Xander Bogaerts to get the call at third in Boston.
For now, Middlebrooks is the third baseman for the Red Sox and John Farrell helped make that decision.
2. Giving Jose Iglesias a Chance at Third
Even after Will Middlebrooks came back from a DL stint on June 10, John Farrell did not give him a chance to really prove himself because of the stretch Jose Iglesias was having at the hot corner.
Iglesias made it look easy playing third in the month of June where he made it almost impossible to remove him from the lineup.
Middlebrooks got seven starts in 14 games from June 10 until he was optioned to Pawtucket on June 25, marking only 50 percent of the starts at third during that stretch because of Iglesias, who won AL Rookie of the Month honors for June, but then struggled at the plate in July.
The incredible defensive prowess of Iglesias blossomed over June and July where the Detroit Tigers found themselves in need of a shortstop with the likelihood of Jhonny Peralta getting suspended for 50 games.
The Red Sox used the situation to their advantage in order to complete a three-team deal to get another solid starting pitcher in Jake Peavy from the White Sox.
1. Making Koji Uehara the Closer
Koji Uehara was officially named the Red Sox closer on June 21 by manager John Farrell after incumbent Andrew Bailey kept on struggling in save situations.
The 38-year-old Uehara has been phenomenal for the most part in 2013 as the closer. He has not been scored upon in 16 appearances going back to July 9 and has a 1-0 record. Meanwhile, opponents are only hitting .140 against him with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 22-1 in save situations this season.
The veteran may be heading towards career highs for innings pitched and appearances in a single season, but Farrell definitely made the right move by making Uehara the full-time closer for the rest of the 2013 season.