Red Sox: should John Farrell be on the hot seat?

Mar 14, 2016; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2016; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Boston Red Sox’s recent struggles, is manager John Farrell part of the blame and should he be back on the hot seat?

After heading into the All-Star break with arrows pointing up and starting the second half of the season by going 5-1, collecting two series wins against the hated Yankees and the SF Giants- who were at the time the No. 1 ranked team in the league- morale was at a season high for the Red Sox, and everything was “awesome”.

Fast-forward two series later, and we now sit surrounded by all the doom-and-gloom splitting a series with the abysmal Twins and getting swept by the mediocre Tigers brings.

The cloud that resides over Red Sox Nation may admittedly fog our judgement; but facts are facts.

Less than two weeks ago Boston staked claim to first in the AL East-however brief-it was a testament to how well this team and especially the offense had been performing. But now, after dropping five of their previous six games the Red Sox are barely gripping onto third in the division, and with the Evil Empire hot on their heels after going 8-2 in their own last ten contests, sit just three games clear of fourth.

Boston has failed their opportunity to make up any ground or create any sort of cushion between themselves and their competitors during these past few series.

And the road ahead is only going to get more difficult.

The back-half of the schedule for the Sox consists mostly of road games. In fact, of Boston’s remaining 63 games, 41 are away, meaning just 22 take place in the safe-haven that is Fenway Park.

Though this in its own right is cause for concern, just how Boston has lost these recent games should be more troubling.

That is because they have seemingly found new ways to lose every game. In the Detroit series alone, the bullpen failed, this seasons ace Steven Wright got hammered, the offense struggled, they had poor defensive placement, and yet again the Sox struggled in low scoring, close games.

That last point is what strikes me the most. The Red Sox are now 8-31 when they score four or fewer runs, this ranks only less-worse than the Angels and Twins in the AL.

Now, we know how good Boston’s offense is, so maybe that means there just aren’t that many games they score so few runs. Sure enough this is correct, as the Orioles who have best record in low-scoring games in the AL, have gone 22-32. That’s a 15 game difference, but where this idea falls short is explaining how the Sox have already lost nearly the same amount in so fewer games.

Some things are becoming clear, first and foremost, when the Red Sox don’t put up blistering offensive numbers the pitching simply can not bail them out. Furthermore, when the pitching does come through, the Sox are inept in situational hitting in tight games.

You can also throw in poor bullpen and pinch-hitting management, and this is where the manager comes in play. While Boston’s recent skid cannot be all blamed on manager John Farrell, there are areas he is failing them.

It has been a season long thought, that Farrell would eventually get the hook, but up until now every Sox valley has been shortly followed by a mountain of runs and wins. Still, the manager’s shortcomings have been visible throughout.

Whether it was pinch-hitting Bryce Brentz instead of Aaron Hill with the bases loaded, leaving in both Steven Wright and Robbie Ross Jr. too long, or not positioning Mookie Betts closer to the warning track than second base with Miguel Cabrera up to bat, fingers will be pointing in his direction.

And, we just touched on the last couple games, this has been a pattern throughout the season.

These type of decisions can propel a team on the cusp of the playoffs to a wild card spot, or hold them back to just miss out. They are what the great managers such as Ned Yost, Bruce Bochy, Tito and the like get right in big situations further separating themselves from the pack.

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With this season taking a sharp turn south and the Sox playoffs hopes looking less and less promising, Farrell might be relying on a strong upcoming road trip to keep himself from the firing squad.

After all, in 2015 John Farrell led the Red Sox to a 50-64 record before being relieved by Torey Lovullo, who in turn went on to help the Sox to the tune of 28-20 over the season’s final months.