In his weekly appearance on “Salk & Holley,” Wednesday afternoon, Red Sox skipper John Farrell said that despite the recent slump that has seen the team drop nine of its last 11, don’t expect any major shakeups, either in the rotation or the batting order.
Saying the most important thing to is “remain consistent,” he doesn’t anticipate making many changes, at least not at this point in the season.
“I think we’re still in that part of the year where we’re trying to maintain continuity and not just [making] reactionary moves because we’ve scuffled a little bit as of late,” he said. “That might be coming, but I think right now, I think it’s important for everybody in our clubhouse to know there’s stability, no one is panicking. And we’re going through a spell right now, where, you know what? We have to execute in those given moments.
“I think it’s important to remain consistent. It’s not to show that you’re going to revamp things completely, and then, that sends a mixed message. I’m more about talking to individuals,” he added. “I think the attitude of our club, our team, is still consistent as it was in April when things were falling our way, and yet, we’ve not fired on all cylinders in the three areas, pitching, defense and offensively, as we had done in the first month of the season.”
Here are some more highlights from Wednesday’s Q&A with the manager:
On the popup late in Tuesday’s game against Tampa … did it hit something or was it just that high up on a tough background?
“it did not hit anything. And amazing as it might sound, given the wires and speakers and things that hang from that ceiling, it found it’s way through some of those wires and you know what? I heard you just describe, when you think you’ve seen just about everything in this game, it ends up being a 75-foot popup that lands and sticks just inside the foul line and the two runs score. You know what? An oddity, but still, inside this ballpark, it’s certainly a fair ball.”
How much time to do you spend in this ballpark on preparing for such a strange place for baseball?
“The one thing we do going into every series, we talk about ballpark characteristics. Here you’ve got the four rings that are in the ceiling here — the first two are in play. The third and fourth ring, those are home runs if they’re hot. You talk about the characteristics. The thing you really can’t replicate until you get out there is tracking fly balls and pop ups on a background that is very different. That’s not an excuse — everybody in our clubhouse has played in this ballpark before. It comes in a situation where it ends up being the difference in the game.”
On no one taking charge on the fateful popup:
“I just think it was lost in the backdrop of the ceiling here, in the roof of the dome. That’s typically … if we’re in an open air stadium, that’s Mike Napoli’s ball, all the way. And I don’t think Pedey tracked it as well. I’m not pointing fingers or looking for alibis or excuses. It was a play that was not executed completely, as we know. Unfortunately, like I said, it was the difference in last night’s game.”
How do you handle the recent rough stretch?
“Here’s the thing, Michael. In this stretch, I think it’s important to remain consistent. It’s not to show that you’re going to revamp things completely, and then, that sends a mixed message. I’m more about talking to individuals. There might be a point in time where we need to discuss things as a group. But we reinforce what our strengths are and what our approach is going to be prior to every series in our advance series in our preparations for that given club. I think the attitude of our club, our team, is still consistent as it was in April when things were falling our way, and yet, we’ve not fired on all cylinders in the three areas, pitching, defense and offensively, as we had done in the first month of the season. We continue to create opportunities, even though from the second through the sixth inning last night, there were limited if any opportunities. And then, when we do, we line out to first base. This is part of the game. To say it’s evening out, that might be one thing. But we’re not the type in here just to slough if off as that. We continue to work at not only our preparation but how we go out and compete in given situations. Could there be a thought from our guys to try and do a little bit more because we’re in a little bit of a rut right now? Yeah. I think that’s human nature. But at the same time, this is a group we believe in, and I like our team. It’s a matter of consistency inside of those situations that are make or break on a given night.”
Of those three things you mentioned — pitching, defense and offense — which concerns you the most right now?
“If you were to ask me in April, I’d say, ‘We look to be strong in all three areas.’ And yet, we’ve had some personnel changes that have put some guys in different roles. But that doesn’t change our expectations, and I think that’s the message that is continually reinforced here: Our expectation is to compete and win this division. That goes unabated. That remains consistent. We’re in a little bit of a funk offensively. [Earlier in the season], we drew a high number of walks. We had that one through nine approach. When frustration sets in, we might come out of that a little bit. We have not been as consistent in the rotation as we were through that first month. I don’t know that you can single out any one area. We just need to be slightly better in all three.”
On his thoughts on the Dan Shaughnessy column on David Ortiz:
“I haven’t said anything to Dan. I’ve talked to David about it, in just more than anything to let him vent and get it off his chest. I think the one thing for the player in a situation like this is that there’s a system in place that is very thorough. It is very comprehensive. And even, by David’s admission, one that has seen him tested a number of times already this year. Once that has the initial reaction — and I think David has done a good job putting this behind him, just to go out and continue to perform as he’s capable of. And that means getting back to the work and staying with the work. That’s what made him the hitter he is. And that goes on daily. When the article came out, people were asking me what my response was to it. And I think if people saw the work he puts in and the way he goes about his BP, which to me is the reason why he’s become a better hitter as he’s gotten older. He knows himself better and he knows what opposing pitchers are trying to do to him. He more readily identifies sequences and way pitchers are going about it. And he takes what they are giving him. To me, that’s why he’s performed as well as he has since he came back.”
On Ortiz talking about a new injury:
“He felt some discomfort in the left rib cage, the left oblique area. It wasn’t to the point of keeping him out. There was a swing in the Saturday game, the last homestand, the last series we played at home, when he finished the swing he kind of rubbed his left side. I asked him in between at-bats if he was still good-to-go, but precautionary, we sat him on Sunday to take advantage of the off-day Monday as well to give him two days down. But the way he swung the bat last night, there’s no lingering affects. He’s back in there tonight.”
On what a manager can do to shake a team out of a slump — considered juggling the lineup or shaking up the rotation?
“Well, we do change the lineup based on the matchups. That’s where you see Nava and Gomes sharing that duty in left field, left-handed, right-handed. Saltalamacchia is back in there tonight. As far as the overall batting order, I think we’re still in that part of the year where we’re trying to maintain continuity and not just reactionary moves because we’ve scuffled a little bit as of late. That might be coming, but I think right now, I think it’s important for everybody in our clubhouse to know there’s stability, no one is panicking. And we’re going through a spell right now, where, you know what? We have to execute in those given moments.”
Injury update on Andrew Bailey:
“He threw a very good bullpen yesterday. He’ll throw to hitters here, tomorrow, early afternoon, in a simulated game situation just to see some hitters and try and create some additional adrenaline. After tomorrow, we’ll determine if it’s best served for everyone — most importantly, Andrew — to get a rehab appearance before he comes back to us. We’re thinking at the latest, it’d be Monday when he would rejoin us, in Chicago.”