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October 17, 2013

John Farrell


Q.  Can you talk about your thinking putting Bogaerts in the lineup?
JOHN FARRELL:  Yeah, as we talked about last night the need for the potential for increased production from the left side of the infield.  And then the brief number of at‑bats that Xander has had for us, he's been very much under control, puts a good swing on the ball last night against Benoit, has not expanded the strike zone.  And I think more than anything just the maturity that he shows and the offensive potential that he has, I felt like it was time to make a change.

Q.  Jim Leyland was saying this is the best rotation he's ever had in his years as managing.  Your offense is struggling, but do you think it's as much a part their rotation is so darned good right now?
JOHN FARRELL:  They've pitched very well.  Last night I thought we created some opportunities for us, the two‑out base hit was elusive.  Not only just the power and the pure stuff that they've brought to home plate, the consistency to which they've executed has been outstanding, particularly their rotation.
And that's not to take anything away from their bullpen, but each night we've walked out there there's been a well‑above average starting pitcher, and some of the best starting pitching in this League has to offer going against us.

Q.  In these two series, do you feel that this is the most stable you've had the bullpen lined up all season?
JOHN FARRELL:  Yeah, I think ‑‑ so in a short answer, yes.  But the one thing that ‑‑ with the exception of last night, our starters have done, I think, a fairly good job of working deep in the games, enough to where we haven't had to bridge too much either to get to Breslow or Tazawa and then ultimately to Koji, but I think the game has unfolded in a way those guys can anticipate their usage, and they've responded accordingly.  They've been outstanding the entire postseason.  And that's not to single out three guys, that's to say the whole bullpen has pitched very well.

Q.  What went into your thinking, obviously the numbers one for ten in the series with Will Middlebrooks, and what did you see from your perspective that maybe he wasn't doing so far in this series?
JOHN FARRELL:  The one thing over ‑‑ from time to time in these two series, he's been a little susceptible to off‑speed and certainly some breaking balls that have run away from him.  I wouldn't expect him to be pleased with not being in the lineup today.  That's just who he is.  And that's the overriding attitude in our clubhouse.
But for us to continue through this series and advance it's going to take everyone on our roster to contribute in some form or fashion, and I would expect that Will would find his way back in the field in these remaining games, particularly in this series.  In the conversation with him, yeah, he's not real happy.

Q.  Looking ahead to Game 6 can you talk about having Clay on the mound in what could be a big, big game for the Sox?
JOHN FARRELL:  Well, I think every game this time of year is a big one.  He'll have the benefit of having recently faced this lineup.  And he's also had a chance to watch not only Lester pitch Game 1, but he'll get a chance to see him tonight.  I think he learned some things watching John Lackey the other day with some pitch selection and areas in which to try to exploit or execute to.  And I know he's ready and primed when Saturday gets here.

Q.  I'm not asking about yesterday night, so don't take this question that way, but in general the neighborhood play at second base.  As a manager, do you like to see that called for the safety of the players or would you rather see that called by the letter of the law?  I'm curious about that with review coming next season and that might be something that could be challengeable.
JOHN FARRELL:  I don't know that that play came up last night.
But I think in between the lines there are certain things that are somewhat accepted with a play that's in the area.  If it's flagrant, even to the naked eye, certainly you're going to challenge it.  The addition of video review will certainly come into play in this situation a little bit more.  I think it's probably not so much the neighborhood play, but it's probably whether the transfer, if that's not transferred cleanly, that might be something that is maybe objected to maybe a little bit more readily.
But the one thing that the umpires fall under a lot of scrutiny.  And we have the benefit of seeing every game firsthand and up front.  Their abilities to make a call, having seen it one time in real‑life speed, they do an excellent job.

Q.  You guys have struck out at a high rate.  Does that concern you, and is there a way you can address that at this point?
JOHN FARRELL:  Well, I think if you look at the way we've performed over the course of the year, the fact that we see so many pitches that we're willing to go deep in the count, our guys are going to hit with two strikes on them a lot, that's somewhat of a Catch‑22, while running up a pitch count against an opposing pitcher, there's going to be a higher number of strikeouts.  And the fact that we've had this number so far in this series, I can tell you this, our guys in the dugout aren't fretting over it.  And yet, we can't ask Mike Napoli to try to put a ball in play.  If we do that with two strikes, we might still be playing Game 3 rather than him hitting the ball out of the ballpark.

Q.  Going back to Buchholz, the runs he's given up in the postseason have come the third time in the opposing order.  Is that fatigue for a guy who didn't pitch for three months or is that going through tough lineups three times?
JOHN FARRELL:  Well, he gave up a three‑run homer to a pretty good hitter in Longoria, which he didn't get a pitch to a certain spot.  I don't think it's just a matter of fatigue.  Consistency to execution against these types of lineups is never more important.  And when you mislocate, you're going to pay the price.  And he has in that four‑run inning the other night, where in the matter of 11 pitches it was four runs on the board.  And recognizing that the momentum, particularly the momentum inside an inning is what's got to be kept under check a little bit more, and particularly in Clay's situation.

Q.  We see managers get criticized all the time for making lineup decision or in‑game decisions.  Last night Leyland said with the Jackson thing working out, this isn't about me, it's about the players.  Do you think managers get too much or too little credit about whether they work or not?
JOHN FARRELL:  If you didn't have thick skin and if you didn't recognize that you're in a position where scrutiny is going to come under play or you're going to be under scrutiny, you're probably in the wrong business.  So I'm sure that there's going to be something tonight that is going to come up that will be questioned and you fully expect that.
But I think if you believe and trust in your process, the decisions that you make, then you can sleep a little bit more readily at night, and that's what it goes back to.  You're not going to be right every time, and still I probably share some of the same view as Jim that this game will always be about the players.  It's not about me.  It's not about our coaches, even though we're here for them, this is clearly centered on those guys between the lines.

Q.  Just going back to what you said about Clay and Detroit's ability to build big innings quickly.  Might you have to be more proactive with the bullpen later in games?
JOHN FARRELL:  Yeah, I think we have.  I think we've shown that not only in this series, but in the previous one.

Q.  How do you tell which players react well under pressure and is there such a thing of a pressure ballplayer that rises to the occasion?
JOHN FARRELL:  To me that's what the 162 games are for, is to get the real pulse of the individual, how they do respond to some of those situations.  Yet we're in a different environment than we've been in the 162 games, and part of tonight's lineup has a lot of that to it.  There are guys that I think have performed well in this postseason, in these types of settings.  And that's why you see the lineup that we're on.  Our whole intent is to put the lineup that gives us the best chance to win a game tonight.  And that's right where we are.

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