BOSTON The Red Sox offense busted out on the Marlins for a season-high 15 runs and 16 hits two shy of their season high as every member of the starting lineup (except Nick Punto) had at least one hit in the 15-5 win over the Marlins at Fenway Park Wednesday night.The attack included the rare home run cycle, capped by David Ortizs 11th career grand slam.Mike Aviles started the home run barrage with a three-run shot in the second, his ninth of the season and first since May 21. Ortiz followed that with his fourth-inning slam. Two batters later Jarrod Saltalamacchias solo shot landed in the center field seats. Will Middlebrooks who entered to pinch-run for Kevin Youkilis in the seventh completed the feat with a two-run shot in the eighth.The weather warmed up, guys felt loose, said manager Bobby Valentine. Mikes first home run giving us three runs was huge. Davids grand slam. Salty was the furthest and Middlebrooks was impressive. The offense evolved around hustle plays. Salty being safe at second on Youks grounder up the middle allowing Mike to hit that three-run homer. Mike beating out an infield hit and Ryan Kalish beating out an infield hit added to the speed.The blast was Ortizs 18th homer of the season, third in as many games, and the 396th of his career. It was his first slam since July 27, 2011 against the Royals, and 10th with the Sox, passing Rico Petrocelli for sole possession of second place behind Ted Williams 17. Im just taking what they give me, Ortiz said. Im just trying not to waste the pitch that I see. I sit down and watch the game, see how they pitch. I dont get that many opportunities over the plate so Im just trying to be patient and get the one pitch they give me to hit.Ortiz was intentionally walked in his previous at-bat to load the bases, but Cody Ross foiled Marlins manager Ozzie Guillens strategy by doubling off the wall in left field to clear the bases.Hes the guy, Valentine said of Ortiz. Obviously if we were in first place, hed be the guy everybody would be talking about because hes been consistently excellent the entire season. Its hard to be excellent and its hard to have a consistency about you in 60-plus games. But day in and day out hes brought it. His speed was a little factor scoring from first on Codys base-clearing double."Daniel Nava led the Sox in the hit column, going 4-for-5.This offense is pretty much, everyone knows that we have a pretty good offense and we scuffled for a little bit but it seems that everythings going back to the way weve been and everythings clicking, and were just getting everything in the same wavelength, Aviles said. And I think its helping.His home run, No. 9 this season for him, came with two outs on his first pitch of the game from Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco.Its nice because you dont have to run around. You just have to jog. Thats the good thing about it, Aviles joked, referring to the 96-degree temps at first pitch. But any time you hit a homer and put some runs on the board it always helps out.The win moves the Sox two games over .500, at 35-33. They also improve to 16-19 at home, where they have struggled this season.Yeah, absolutely, Aviles said, when asked if the team is feeling more comfortable at home. You just look at the results and we're starting to get everything clicking on the same page. I think thats the biggest key is just getting our pitching, defense, and hitting all together. I think weve had two out of three, whatever the combination may be, but it just hasnt been all in one shot. And I think when we have everything going together, were a pretty good team.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal ignited a local firestorm when he made a seemingly off-hand comment a few days ago that he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Red Sox fired John Farrell this year. (He quickly added he also "wouldn't be surprised" if Farrell stayed on and led the team to the A.L. East title this year, but that got scant mention.)
Today, however, Rosenthal expounded on Farrell and the Sox in a lengthy column on foxsports.com. While acknowledging the team's injuries and beyond-the-manager's-control inconsistencies (in the starting rotation and with the offense), he also ominously added, "The excuses for the Sox, though, go only so far — all teams deal with injuries, and not all of them boast $200 million payrolls. Other issues also have emerged under Farrell . . . "
Farrell, even when he won the 2013 World Series as a rookie manager, was not popular in all corners of the clubhouse. Some players, but not all, believe that he does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media when the team is struggling, sources say. Some also question Farrell’s game management, talk that exists in virtually every clubhouse, some more than others.
And then he mentioned two leadership problems:
The first occurred during the Red Sox’s prolonged dispute with the Orioles’ Manny Machado. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, after Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head, shouted across the field to Machado, 'it wasn’t me,' then told reporters that it was 'definitely a mishandled situation,' without mentioning Barnes or Farrell by name . . .
The second incident occurred last Saturday, when Farrell engaged in a heated exchange with left-hander Drew Pomeranz in the dugout . . . [Pomeranz's] willingness to publicly challenge Farrell, in an exchange captured by television cameras, offered another indication that the manager and some of his players are not always on the same page.
Rosenthal's piece comes at a time when some of Farrell's harshest local critics are more or less giving him a pass, instead blaming Dave Dombrowski's flawed roster construction for the Sox' early season struggles , , ,
But there has been speculation hereabouts on whether or not Farrell has control of the clubhouse . . .
Now that Rosenthal has weighed in, that sort of talk should increase.
In the end, Rosenthal makes no prediction on Farrell's future other than to conclude "If Dombrowski senses a change is necessary, he’ll make a change."
But one prediction that can be made: The should-Farrell-be-fired? debate, which raged at unrealistic levels last year when the Red Sox won the division, isn't going to end anytime soon.
Mike Felger thinks that John Farrell is not to blame for the Boston Red Sox, but thinks that a coaching change wouldn't be a terrible idea.