We all knew coming into this season that John Farrell was not the right person for this job. Yes, he managed the Red Sox to a World Series in 2013, but that year is surrounded by subpar baseball. Even with 97 wins in 2013, and being 14 games over .500 this year, Farrell's career record is right around .500.
All season long we have watched him mismanage this bullpen, the rotation and everything else besides the offense. Many have been calling for his job since the first loss of the season, but the fact is the Red Sox have been winning, so there was no immediate need to change anything
It is very difficult to pull the trigger on the manager of a team that is battling for first place in the division. The Sox are currently .5 games behind Toronto in the AL East, and most likely the sole reason that John Farrell still has a job. As I said, it is very difficult to fire a manager in the middle of a pennant race, but it is not impossible.
Thursday should be the last nail in the coffin for John Farrell's career in Boston. This game had the potential to be one of the best wins of the season for this team. 7 wins in a row, especially coming off short rest and a win against a divisional rival would have been a huge feat. The Sox did nearly everything they needed to in order to solidify the win, until Farrell intervened.
The Sox were up 3-1 heading into the bottom of the 8th, and Farrell decided that Tazawa was the guy to go to in that situation. Not Ross or Ziegler...Junichi Tazawa. The Tigers started the inning with a single, followed by a double. Anyone with a brain knows that Tazawa just didn't have the stuff to finish the inning, and it was the time to pull him. However, Farrell leaves him in to face one of the best hitters in the history of baseball, and you can probably guess what happens.
Ross hasn't been the most reliable pitcher this year, but he gave you a perfect inning in the bottom of the 7th, so why not give him a shot at the 8th? If not Ross, go to Ziegler who has been solid since he came to Boston. Neither pitched the night before with the rain-shortened game, so rest was not an issue. Even if it were an issue, Ziegler came in after Tazawa anyways, so why not start the 8th with him?
There was some speculation that the Tigers' hitters coming up in the 8th had success off of Ziegler. That works in Farrell's favor on paper, but it is no excuse to throw your worst bullpen arm against the heart of Detroit's order.
Farrell has cost this team a few games this season, but none of them as bad or important as this one. The game just seems to speed up for him when the pressure is on, and the pressure is only going to get worse as the end of the season approaches. Just a game and a half out of first, the Sox are in the playoffs at the moment, but I don't know if this manager has what it takes to keep it that way.
By Matt Watts