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October 25, 2013

John Farrell


Q.  When you're making a decision on who's going to play first base in these games, how much of it is stats and matchups and how much of you do you take into account the stature and the aura and the October history of a guy like David Ortiz?
JOHN FARRELL:   Not just when we get into settings like tomorrow, but when we've done interleague play, we've tried to find as many opportunities for David at first as we did through those ten road games in National League parks.  David will be in the lineup tomorrow on first base.

Q.¬† How have each of your different experiences in your post‑playing career contributed to how you manage and how everything went into where you are now?
JOHN FARRELL:   Well, I've been fortunate to be in the game, post playing on a number of different sides.  Understanding what it takes and be part of building an organization, to putting together a system that feeds a Major League team.  And probably the thing that stands out most is dealing with individual players and having some compassion towards cases where guys have needs and not to turn away from their abilities because they might be struggling at a certain point in time in their career.  And I think more than anything just trying to stay aware to their needs and what might help them fulfill their potential.  That strikes right at home at the farm director job.  And that's served me as much as anything going forward than any role.

Q.  Can you give us an update on Clay?  I know he was out there loosening up.
JOHN FARRELL:   He went through a throwing program today.  Went back to about a hundred feet with some increased intensity along the way, and he's starting Sunday.

Q.  Given the success that Yadi Molina has had throwing out baserunners, is this a series you'd be more inclined to give up an out and sacrifice a runner versus stealing?
JOHN FARRELL:   I don't think our outlook has changed.  Their pitchers have done a very good job of unloading the baseball in a timely fashion to really control a running game, in addition to Yadi behind the plate.  If there comes a point in time later in the series where we've got to be a little more willing to take a risk that might present itself.  But we value the out much the same.

Q.  Nobody's under the illusion that the National League is going to adopt the DH or the AL is going to drop it.  And certainly you have to deal with the next three games here.  But ideally would you like the leagues to play under one rule?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† Having always been in the American League, I favor it.¬† So, I guess, yeah, I would like to see the DH put in play.¬† It might take the traditional ‑‑ obviously it would take the traditional approach toward the National League style game out of it.¬† But, yeah, I would like to see the DH in play.

Q.¬† This time of year how much do you believe in game‑to‑game momentum?¬† It seemed like in the ALCS David's grand slam gave you a springboard.¬† And if that's the case, the Cardinals might be benefitting from that?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† I think there's something to be said for that.¬† And yet when a game has gotten away from us, we've done such a great job of putting yesterday behind us and doing what it has taken to regain the momentum.¬† Detroit might have had the most momentum at any one time in this postseason going into that eighth inning in Game 2‑‑ you can say it has some momentum, but at the same time I think what propelled us in that series is John Lackey in Game 3.¬† I think the momentum is probably hinged upon today's starting pitcher.¬† That's not to heap too much pressure on the individual, but that's where it starts and that guy has got to keep the game under control.

Q.  I don't think Jake wants to do your job, but he was just in here a minute ago, and he said David's bat at all costs needs to be in the lineup.  Have you decided how much he will play here in St. Louis?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† Like I said, he's starting tomorrow.¬† How we go forward through the remaining three games, we'll take a look at that day to day.¬† But given the right‑handed matchups, and take away the matchups, David has got a long career that we all lean on and the success that he's having on this postseason to take advantage of.

Q.¬† Having to choose between Napoli and Ortiz for the next three games obviously takes a pretty quality bat out of your starting lineup in the next three games.¬† From the other standpoint, can you look at the fact that your bench and your depth may come into play here a lot in the late innings with pinch‑hits and double switches when you may have either David or Mike, Mike Carp and either Gomes or Nava available for late‑inning moves?
JOHN FARRELL:   Yeah, there's no question our bench is going to be more involved in these next three games.  It's one of the reasons why I think we've achieved the success we have throughout the course of the year.  We haven't had to use it as much with the number of days off and strictly American League rules.  But even if we have to defend for David late with Mike Napoli, we've got much more flexibility, obviously, with an added guy on the bench.

Q.  Your hitters have struck out a lot this month, which is not necessarily frowned upon in today's game.  As long as you're still scoring runs, I wonder if you care?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† Runs scored and wins are the important things.¬† We might do it differently than other teams.¬† But strikeouts for us is one of the things that we clearly accept.¬† A main thrust of our approach is to drive up pitch counts.¬† That means guys will hit with two strikes frequently, to have quality at‑bats.¬† The tradeoff to an out made virtue of a strikeout, we feel over the course of a nine‑inning game there's a cumulative effect that works back in our favor.¬† And that's to try to chase a starting pitcher, to get into that middle relief corps, where you might have maybe a greater opportunity against.
But still the strikeouts, that's something that we've lived with and dealt with all year long.

Q.  Can you talk about the pitcher Kelly and what problems might he present to the Red Sox?
JOHN FARRELL:   You know, the one thing that Wacha had last night going in his favor, in addition to being a very talented young guy, is familiarity.  This will be the first time that we'll face Kelly.  We've got a little bit of a read on him through our advance scouting reports, but still firsthand experience in the batter's box goes a long way.
So, again, I think the pitcher knowing what he's going to throw to what location when not ever having seen that guy presents a unique challenge and that will be there tomorrow.

Q.  Stephen Drew struggled at the plate during the postseason.  How much has his defense been, how important has it been in keeping him in the lineup?
JOHN FARRELL:  It's been critical.  While he has had his struggles, they're well documented, we live it with him.  But he has played such a strong defensive position at shortstop.  Last night there's probably three or four plays that he makes, that might otherwise build into a potential inning for the Cardinals.  We can go back to Game 6 in inning 7 where he saves a run with two outs, and throws out Cabrera, that we come back and Victorino hits a grand slam to give us the lead.
He's such a steadying force for us on defense up the middle and on the infield in general.  In games that we anticipate being played, defense is a premium.  The first two games are prime examples.  You give the opponent an extra out, and you see what happens.  It's happened on both sides, whether it's Breslow's throw last night or in Game 1, we've been able to capitalize on some defensive inconsistencies on the other side.
So his defense up the middle is a premium.

Q.  People talk about Peavy's competitiveness, how does that actually manifest itself in a game?  Do you assess him differently during the game because of the respect you have for that quality?
JOHN FARRELL:   Well, the one thing, it's always directed at himself.  And for those who have never seen him pitch or guys have never been in the box against him, it's certainly not directed at them.  It's how he continues to maintain a level of competitiveness to not slack off or to ask more of himself.  The one thing I think he's done a very good job at the last probably three or four starts is creating an energy level in his delivery that doesn't take away from locating pitches.  Inning No. 2 in Detroit, I thought he started to pitch a little too fine and maybe didn't trust his stuff enough, as was the case in the first inning.  Game4 against Tampa, you know, I think he's understanding himself and what that level of energy in his delivery works best for him.

Q.  You mentioned this the other day, but are you planning on Daniel Nava in leftfield at this point, given both the outfield here and the struggles Jonny has had?
JOHN FARRELL:   Yes, he's starting in left.

Q.  You've shown a lot of loyalty to Jonny, where do you think he is offensively right now?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† He's been pitched to.¬† I think he's faced as good right‑handed pitching as he will face at any point in time in the career.¬† That's not exclusive to St. Louis, but Detroit, as well.¬† He's going to factor in the series going forward.
For reasons stated, for the outfield size, with the matchup that we like, a left‑handed hitter in Nava a little more, that's why Daniel is in there tomorrow.

Q.  You have a bunch of guys here like Peavy and Napoli and Gomes who have been around a long time and not been able to win a ring yet.  I know you want to win a ring.  Is there a sense here for wanting to get one for those guys that have been around so long?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† Regardless of the age, regardless of the year in their career, whether it's David Ortiz for the third time here, whether it's guys for their first time here‑‑ I'm sure the same can be said on the other side‑‑ you go to Spring Training with the intent and the hope and the desire and the work towards being the last team standing, to record the last out of the season while you're on the field.¬† That's what we're working for.

Q.  You guys before this season signed I think it was seven free agents, and it pretty much seems like they've all done just about exactly what you could have hoped for.  How unusual is that and how gratifying that they've all filled those roles that I assume you scripted for them?
JOHN FARRELL:   Well, all the credit to Ben Cherington and his staff.  Not only did they select the right guys, but we've had fortune on our side, and that's centering on health.  Every one of them have stayed healthy for the most part.  Vic has missed 38, 39 games this year because of a couple of different things.
But what has probably been the most gratifying is the people that they are, in addition to the player.  The people that are have embraced everything that Boston has to offer and challenged them with.  And as a group they've united in a way that exceeds our expectation.  The way they've united, the way they've come together as a team and the way that they've met every challenge collectively.  They've had fun along the way, that's evident.  But the way they've come together as a team and sacrificed for one another, that's been awesome to watch.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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