McAdam: Games still matter to Farrell

McAdam: Games still matter to Farrell
August 28, 2014, 10:45 am
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TORONTO - Three things we learned Wednesday night in the Red Sox' 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays:

1) It's not easy being John Farrell these days.

Farrell is managing a team that is already hopelessly out of playoff contention and that harsh reality hangs over the club like a black cloud.

When Farrell uses Junichi Tazawa for the fourth time in five days, social media - and the media covering the team - scream that he's putting a pitcher in jeopardy for a game that doesn't have any real consequence.

It's the same when it comes to using Koji Uehara, who's enduring a rough stretch.

But Farrell is still charged with winning games - even if the team is all but eliminated from the race - and having a competitive team on the field.

He can't simply throw in the towel the rest of the way and act - and manage - as of these games don't matter. Because they do - to him, to his players and for many fans.

To act otherwise, to disregard their significance, is to invite disaster in the final month and infecting the organization with an indifference that could impact the team's ability to compete down the road - when the games really WILL mean something.

2) The loss of Andrew Miller is felt more and more each day.

Most of the post-deadline attention understandably focused on what losing three veteran starters (Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy) would mean for the Red Sox over the final two months.

But not having Miller in the bullpen has created some fallout, too.

On Wednesday night, Farrell wanted a lefty in the seventh after starter Joe Kelly allowed a leadoff double to Edwin Encarnacion. Farrell called on Tommy Layne.

Layne allowed a single to Dioner Navarro and the inning unraveled from there.

If Miller were still here, Farrell would have another option to match up against lefties. Moreover, Miller would present another set-up option in high-leverage, late-inning situations.

Alas, Miller is gone, forcing Farrell to rely on largely unproven lefties for matchups, to say nothing of using Tazawa four times in the span of five days while the team played a series of close games.


3) The Red Sox aren't done looking at Cuban players.

Exactly a week after they reached an agreement for $72.5 million with Rusney Castillo, the Sox will have scouts in attendance Friday when two more Cubans display their talents.

First baseman Jozzen Cuesta, 25, and left-hander Misael Siverio will hold a showcase in Jupiter, Florida, and the Sox will be represented.

Cuesta is an intriguing option for the Sox since he's a power-hitting first baseman and the Sox are thin on power at the position.

Whether they'd be willing to sink another big investment into an unknown player is unclear.

Still, the success of Yasiel Puig, Yeonis Cespedes and Jose Abreu - to say nothing of the interest generated by Castillo - has ensured that we have only just begun to see the flood of players from Cuba seeking big league riches.

The Red Sox' big-market resources similarly guarantee that they'll be players for such talent - when they're interested.