Right-handed pitcher Luke Farrell, son of Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, made an appearance out of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen on Saturday.
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell may understandably have had some mixed emotions in the top of the ninth inning. While his team held a comfortable five run lead, we know that no lead in baseball is ever completely safe. A few more insurance runs are always welcome. On the other hand, the opposing pitcher was his son.
Luke Farrell took the mound in the top of the ninth inning for the Cincinnati Reds, giving his father a front row seat to watch him pitch in the big leagues. Luke wore the same No. 52 that his father wore during a pitching career that ended 21 years ago. We can only imagine how special that moment must have been for the Farrell family even if father and son were on opposing sides.
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During a televised interview during the NESN post-game show, the elder Farrell reflected on watching his son pitch through little league, high school and college. To finally have the opportunity to see him perform in the majors was a surreal moment for the Red Sox manager.
Luke Farrell made his major league debut earlier this season as a spot starter for the Kansas City Royals. He was lit up for five runs over 2 2/3 innings in his only appearance with the organization. He traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July before being claimed off waivers by the Reds on August 9. Saturday marked his sixth appearance with the Reds. He’s now given up three runs over eight innings during his stint in Cincinnati.
The younger Farrell is the first player to face a team managed by their father since Chicago Cubs outfielder Moises Alou faced Felipe Alou‘s San Francisco Giants in 2004. It was the first time ever that a player has pitched against a team managed by their father.
The top of the ninth inning began with Farrell getting Sam Travis to swing through a 92 mph fastball for strike three. His control began to waver as he walked the next two hitters. At that point we half expected his father to march out of the dugout for a mound visit. Farrell settled down to retire the next two batters and escape the jam. Never before has a manager been more relieved to watch his team strand two runners on base.
It was a proud moment for John Farrell, who tipped his cap as Luke made his way off the mound at the end of the inning. The Red Sox inched closer to clinching the AL East division title with a much needed win but a father watching his son live his dream makes this game an even bigger win for the Farrell family.