Farrell relishes the chance to compete against Sox, Yanks

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Farrell relishes the chance to compete against Sox, Yanks

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

At the start of the interview process to select the next manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, John Farrell had two strikes against him -- he had never managed professionally and he faced some institutional bias that suggests pitching coaches don't always make the best managers.

Ultimately, however, Farrell overcame any obstacles and was introduced Monday as the 12th manager in franchise history.

"A lot of attributes stood out,'' said Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos by phone. "From the first phone interview we had, you could tell that he was very prepared, a great communicator and strong leadership qualities.''

Anthopoulos said the conventional wisdom which argued against hiring a pitching coach "crossed our minds. But in fairness, not too many have been given that opportunity.''

It may have also helped that Bud Black, who had been the pitching coach of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before being hired to manage the San Diego Padres, directed the Padres to a 90-win season and had them in playoff contention until the final day of the season.

"I wanted the best candidates, regardless of what position he played during his career,'' Anthopoulos.

As far Farrell's relative lack of managerial experience, Anthopoulos noted that a number of successul managers -- including Joe Girardi, Dusty Baker and, the man Farrell is replacing, Cito Gaston -- also lacked prior experience before being hired for their first jobs.

"More experience is something you welcome,'' said Anthopoulos, ''but there have been plenty who have succeeded without it.''

"Obviously, my background is pretty well-documented, so it wasn't a surprise,'' said Farrell after returning to the Boston area Monday night. "As the the initial conversations took place, if there were any concerns in those areas, there was a comfort area arrived at that squelched those thoughts.''

On the plus side, Farrell has thorough knowledge of the Blue Jays and the rest of the American League East, where he has coached the last four seasons.

"On the other hand, if John had been in, say, the National League West,'' added Anthopoulos, "I don't have any doubt that he still would have come in to the interview process very prepared.''

As familiar as Farrell is with the division, he was aware that the Blue Jays are the only team in the A.L. East to fail to make the postseason since the 1994 strike. Moreover, the Jays have perennial powerhouses (Yankees, Red Sox) and talented upstarts (Rays) to overcome.

But that, as it turned out, was a selling point.

"As daunting as some might see the East,'' said Farrell, "to compete against the
best for the majority of the schedule, honestly, was an attraction.''

Farrell also believes ownership (Canadian cable giant Rogers Communications owns the Jays) will provide the necessary resources to support a payroll "that will enable us to keep our own players when they reach arbitration and free agency and also add free agents.''

Anthopoulos, meanwhile, also had high praise for Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who finished second to Farrell from among more than 20 original candidates.

"I think DeMarlo is going to be outstanding manager,'' said Anthopoulos. "He's a hidden gem. I don't think people realize how good a baseball man DeMarlo is. He has a real feel for the game and the ability to communicate with players.''

Anthopolous also interviewed third-base coach Tim Bogar in the first round and saluted the Red Sox for the staff they had assembled.

"It's telling that so many candidates came from that staff,'' he said.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"Part of that job is, when you miss, you have to miss to the extreme.'' - John Farrell on the role of eighth-inning reliever Clay Buchholz, who mislocated a fastball to Evan Longoria.

"We're putting ourselves in position to close games out and yet we've found ourselves a pitch or two from finishing the job.'' - Farrell on the team's bullpen woes.

"Fastball. I was trying to throw it up-and-away, and I pulled it, more inner-third. That's a spot where he hits the ball a long way.'' - Clay Buchholz on the game-winning homer by Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The Rays and Sox have played 21 one-run games in the lasr four seasons and four in the last week.

* David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the sixth was his 26th go-ahead RBI, fourth-best in the A.L.

* Xander Bogaerts collected his 500th career hit, and became the fifth Red Sox player to reach that milestone before turning 24.

* Brock Holt's double in the fifth lifted his average to .337 with two outs.

* Hanley Ramirez's home run was his first against Tampa Bay since May 21, 2011 when he was with the Marlins.

* Ramirez has 19 extra-base hits in the last 27 home games.

* Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-3 and and is now 15-for-his-last-19 at Fenway.

* The Sox dropped to 7-37 when they score three runs or fewer.

* Brad Ziegler was unavailable, suffering from the flu.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

It wouldn't be a Rays win over the Red Sox without the third baseman doing some damage. Sure enough, he smoked a tape-measure shot over everything in left in the eighth to provide the winning margin for the visitors.

2) Luke Maile

Drew Pomeranz struck him out twice, but Maile more than got revenge in the seventh with a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to tie the game.

3) Hanley Ramirez

The first baseman had a three-hit night, including a solo homer and a run-scoring single, accounting for two of the three Red Sox runs.

 

First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:

* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.

Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.

But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.

After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.

It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.

 

* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.

In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 307 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.

Two cheap hits, two RBI.

At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.

Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.

 

* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.

Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.

He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.

Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.

It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.