Farrell preparing for NL complications

Farrell preparing for NL complications
May 28, 2013, 6:15 pm
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BOSTON -- The Red Sox make their first trip of the season to a National League ballpark on Wednesday and Thursday for two games in Philadelphia.

This, of course, makes an American League manager's job a little more complicated than normal.

One of the tougher situations that Red Sox manager John Farrell will have to control in those two games will be how he manages the double switch, and more specifically, his pitching.

"As long as you don't screw up the double switch, I think you're okay," said Farrell before Tuesday's game at Fenway. "It is a different game, there's no question about it. I found that there is much more to consider, particularly when that starter is getting close to the end of the night, in terms of whether it's the pitch count or just how he's doing physically.

To Farrell, it'll be all about communication.

"I think the key [to the double switch] is, when you have those potential situations unfolding is, how you instruct that bullpen to get loose," said Farrell. "You can really burn some guys out in the bullpen just by getting loose when situations are presenting themselves but don't follow through. I think it's important how we communicate to that group out there, in-game. And then using your bench as effective as possible."

Red Sox pitchers have been swinging the bat for the last six weeks, according to Farrell. And while there are some pitchers who take more pride in their hitting than others, Farrell believes their ability to bunt will put them "ahead of the game."

"I think a lot of times, American League teams are fearful that pitchers are going to get hurt swinging the bat," said Farrell. "That's why we've spent quite a bit of time getting some repetition, so that there is no hesitancy or thought on our part that they might injure themselves doing something they don't normally do.

"To me, [bunting]'s probably the most important thing, what our success rate is when sacrifice bunts are needed. Anything above that would be a plus."

As for the pitchers' base-running ability, Farrell doesn't believe it's anything to worry about.

"We've taken our guys through some base running," said Farrell. "It is something that they don't do. And I recognize all that. Clay [Buchholz] injured his hamstring out in San Francisco a few years ago. We want them to play the game, but we also want them to understand that we're not looking for them to steal a base either.

"The fact is, we can't ask guys to go about a competitive environment in a controlled way. I mean, that just goes against human nature. So, we want them to play the game and compete."