Farrell: New players will help changing culture

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Farrell: New players will help changing culture

FORT MYERS, Fla. John Farrell was not with the Red Sox for their horrendous 2012 or their disastrous final month of the 2011 season. But as the teams new manager it now falls to him to address how he hopes to improve the team's culture for 2013.

I think theres a balance to how much thats to be talked about, Farrell said Tuesday afternoon sitting outside the Sox clubhouse at the teams spring training facility. Certainly we cant wipe away whats taken place. Its important that we acknowledge it. But as Ive talked to guys throughout the offseason what we do going forward is where the focus has to be. Just by virtue of nine new players on a 25-man roster is going to have some natural tendency to change that.

"But the most important thing is that we earn the trust of one another inside the clubhouse first. And going from there is the style of play that people can identify with this group as a team and confident that the makeup of the group initially will put ourselves in a position to do that.

The new players the Sox brought in have reputations for being high-character people. Which should help to make Farrells job easier.

I think its very important because in addition to the talent that was needed and brought in, general manager Ben Cherington and his staff combined the makeup of the individual to bring into a team environment some of the culture that is in the process of changing, said Farrell. So when we sought the person inside the player these were clear targets of ours.

Its a point he hopes fan will recognize, and he can reinforce. But he also knows actions speak louder than words.

We cant just talk about it. Weve got to go out and do it, Farrell said. And part of that regaining the trust or the faith of the fans, Im confident that the talent thats here plus the people that they are thisll be a team that I really believe that people will identify with, the effort, the energy that they bring every night, and the respect for the game that they have.

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

There are still two full months of games left on the schedule and who knows what might happen in that time, or what else might befall the Red Sox.

But for now, it's no stretch to suggest that Thursday's excruciating 2-1 setback in Anaheim constitutes the worst loss of the season to date. The point hardly seems debatable.

Consider:

THE TIMING: This was the start of the longest, and in many ways, most challenging road trip of the season, with 11 games in 11 days. It comes immediately after a homestand that was highly disappointing, featuring a mere split with the last-place Minnesota Twins and a sweep at the hands of the otherwise mediocre Detroit Tigers.

There's been a great deal of attention focused on how many road games the Sox have to play through the rest of the season. Winning the opener -- and snapping a three-game losing streak in the process - would have felt like a strong statement that the club was ready and able to meet the challenges of the schedule.

THE STARTING PITCHER: The loss wiped out a standout performance by David Price, who may well hold the key to whether the Red Sox grab a playoff spot this fall.

Price has been woefully inconsistent in his first season with the Red Sox, alternating between brief stretches of dominance and periods of underwhelming outings.

For a change Thursday night, Price seemed on the verge of winning one of those "statement'' games, when he would make one measly run in the third inning stand up. There have been too many times, given his standing as the team's No. 1 starter, in which Price has pitched just well enough to lose -- like the pitcher's duels in which he came up short against the likes of Madison Bumgarner and Chris Tillman.

But on Thursday, Price didn't buckle. And never mind that he was matched against an aging and depleted Jered Weaver. Price had next-to-nothing with which to work, but he protected the 1-0 lead with a determination he has seldon shown in Boston.

And for his effort to go wasted sets an inauspicious marker for this demanding trip. There was something symbolic about having Price set the tone at the start with a low-scoring, must-have game.

He did his part. Unfortunately for Price, that wasn't enough.

THE WAY IN WHICH IT HAPPENED: Walk-off losses are never pleasant, whether they come on a homer, or a base hit up the middle.

But considering that the Red Sox had the ability to turn Daniel Nava's tapper to first into a game-ending double play, and instead, saw it result in a two-run throwing error on the part of Hanley Ramirez, makes it all the more crushing.

Brad Ziegler, who gave up a go-ahead game-winning homer in the final game of the homestand Wednesday, essentially did his job in the ninth. He got Mike Trout to hit a chopper, which resulted in an infield single. And he kept the ball on the ground and in the infield, with the Sox bringing the infield in with the bases loaded and one out.

Better execution, and the Red Sox walk away with a thrilling 1-0 victory to begin their West Coast trek. Instead, they walk off the field, heads down, with the wrong precedent being set.