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October 26, 2013

John Farrell


Q.  After using Dempster late the other day, is he still available for multiple innings as a long guy, in addition to Doubront?
JOHN FARRELL:  Yeah, both guys have the capability and are available tonight.

Q.¬† I wanted to ask you, going back in time a little bit, was it difficult ‑‑ I know it was your decision to come here ‑‑ but was it difficult leaving Toronto?¬† And also could you talk about what pressures any manager faces with a hot bed like Boston?
JOHN FARRELL:   Having worked here before, this environment and the expectations were known.  I view it much like a player.  As a player you're going to have a higher standard that you set for yourself than anybody else.  So the expectations, while you know are present, they don't override what you view yourself as being either capable of or striving to accomplish.
Coming here, that was a unique set of circumstances.  And as I've said many times, forever grateful for the opportunity in Toronto.  And yet there was a desire on Ben and the organization's part to see if I could come back here, and fortunately they were able to work that out.

Q.  The emotions of leaving there, because you did enjoy yourself there.  They were happy with you.  You were happy with it.  In that sense was it difficult to leave?
JOHN FARRELL:   It is because you go into a situation not ever envisioning something like that unfolding.  As I've had conversations or at the time with both Paul Beeston and Alex Anthopoulos, the goal was working toward building a championship team and a World Series.  And when that changes, before seeing that come to life, there's a shift mentally to that, for sure.

Q.¬† I'm just curious, most defensive metrics have Mike Napoli very strong, above average at first base defensively.¬† I'm wondering how big a change is that for you guys defensively, and the effect that that would have.¬† And also generally how you account for his strong play out there, when it's really a full‑time position for him at this stage in his career?
JOHN FARRELL:   One, it tells you that his work ethic and his athleticism are well beyond maybe what some had envisioned.  The work that he's done with Brian Butterfield since day one of Spring Training, the work that they put in is the exact reason as to why he's become the defender he is.  He's a good athlete, but there's a lot of work put in there.
Secondly, because of some of the metrics that are used, because we do do a lot of shifting, and that puts Mike in a situation that he's extended off of first base in some alignments more so than a traditional setup, I'm sure that goes into that situation, as well.
But what we've seen, in addition to a good athlete, plays low to the ground with good hands.  The way he's worked around the bag, with a lot of throws in the dirt, he's saved a number of runs with that.  We're ecstatic with the way this year has turned out for him defensively.

Q.  Can you talk about Stephen Drew and the postseason he's having, defensively and offensively?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† Defensively he's outstanding.¬† Much like we talked about with Mike Napoli, Stephen has been in a situation where he's saved us a number of runs.¬† He's anchored our defense on the infield.¬† He and Dustin work exceptionally well as a double‑play combination.
Offensively he's had his struggles, there's no doubt about it.  But as I've said a number of times as well in this situation, pitching and defense keeps you in games.  It gives you an opportunity to win some games late.  And the defense he provides is a premium to us.  And that's the best way I could sum it up for him.

Q.  Jake had a reputation, has had during his career, as someone who sometimes fights his own adrenaline.  First of all, I want to get your view of that with him.  Generally speaking, if you have a pitcher like that on a big stage as pitching coach and manager, what do you do with that?
JOHN FARRELL:   In getting to know Jake in the time he's been here, he pitches with a lot of energy.  And I think the one thing he's been very candid in and honest with himself and with us is that there's a fine line there in what energy level works best for him and what takes him out of his delivery.  I keep going back to Game4 in Tampa, I thought he went out and he was aggressive.  He maintained an intensity and effort level that worked best to him.
And I think where Clay might be on the opposite end of the spectrum, he's learned by watching Clay slow the game down.  And he's been open to talking about that.  And there's probably been some times where Jake has rushed through things in the moment, trying to be too quick or bull his way through it, and maybe in the past that's worked against him.
So in combination of talking and watching other examples, I think at any stage in a career, there's always adjustments being made and I think he continues to work through that.  But he's fun to watch pitch, I know that.  When he's yelling at himself and the things that are going on out there, it's kind of a pure competitor on the mound.

Q.  Just because your use of the DH, what's your level of anxiety when a starting pitcher hits?  A lot of times they can be batting with some sort of injury, are you worried about something happening to them?  And how much of a challenge is it for an American League team to have to adjust to NL rules?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† Just because our pitchers don't ‑‑ even something as basic as a sac bunt, we don't have that much repetition.¬† We can work all we want, as we do, in the cage or live BP sessions, but you put 40‑plus thousand people in the seats and 90‑plus coming at you, that's a different scenario.
As far as worrying if a pitcher is going to injure himself with a swing, we've taken BP pretty much throughout the whole year to guard against that.  We just hope to get a sac bunt down if it calls for it.

Q.  As a manager, how do you keep the mood light with guys like Gomes, but still keep in the series enough that you can focus on what you need to do?
JOHN FARRELL:¬† We're fortunate that we've got a group that is not only committed to their work routine, and their ability to commit to winning a game tonight, they also know how to have fun.¬† And they respect one another, so when it does come work time‑‑ this was evident yesterday around the batting cage.¬† It was a lighthearted, loose group, but when someone was in the cage taking BP, there was respect for their work.
This group, more than anything I've seen, has got the ability to blend both.  They know when it's work time and yet they know how to have fun.

Q.  I know you've talked about Clay's situation through the last few days.  How much concern and how much confidence, what do you feel like you will get from him?
JOHN FARRELL:   We go into tomorrow thinking that he's going to give us what he's been in the postseason.  That might be a little bit shorter of an outing than maybe we've seen back in April and May.  But he's also been very effective.  And we're fully anticipating that to be the case tomorrow.

Q.  I think will be the 13th game you played in 27 days or something like that.  How difficult has it been for you guys, for the staff, I guess, to kind of keep the players in some kind of routine?  And do you think that's affected some of the guys offensively?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† We've faced very good pitching.¬† I think that's what's affected our guys offensively.¬† Everyone is aware of the schedule; it's not like there's been any surprises.¬† From the Divisional Series into the ALCS, maybe it's taken some of those guys that are more rhythm oriented at the plate to kind of find their stride.¬† Mike Napoli being one of them.¬† If it takes another game or two because of the off‑days without the daily repetition of at‑bats, we work within the schedule of what it is, and try to set up things accordingly.
We've had multiple sim games.  We've had a number of things where we try to get live, game speed action for pitchers and hitters.  We're not going to trade it off because of being where we are.

Q.  With Clay maybe having a little bit of lack of stamina, do you look at a slight drop in velocity?  Or how vigilant do you have to be or is there a pitch count that he gets to that you have to be watching over him more closely?
JOHN FARRELL:   Going into tomorrow there will be at least a thought of a game time or a range of pitches.  It's kind of an estimation.  It's not something exact.  No different than heading into tonight with Peavy on the mound.  You go in and pay close attention to every pitch that's thrown, look at how their maintaining their arm strength or overall stuff and you adjust accordingly.
While you're more in tune with the recent starts of a pitcher, you stay in touch with that and begin to maybe think ahead of time and getting guys prepared.  If you've got a guy coming in behind him.  But I can't say it's a completely different approach than if we were back in April or May.

Q.  I know you're focused on tonight, but projecting forward, Lance Lynn is not a guy that's gotten as much attention nationally, maybe, as Wacha or even Shelby Miller this year.  I wonder if you had a thought about him, and maybe how he compares with some of their other young pitchers?
JOHN FARRELL:   Well, I have seen him pitch on TV a couple of times, whether it's a travel day and we're catching him on Sunday night game of the week.  We know he has power stuff.  He might not throw as downhill as Wainwright and Wacha do.  But the fact is he's in the starting rotation on a World Series team, and he's been a main contributor to this organization for a couple of years.  And we fully expect that we're going to get a guy tomorrow that will, I'm sure, have a lot of adrenaline flowing and very good stuff that's going to be thrown at us.  And whether it's he or any other pitcher we face in another series, it's how do we stay disciplined to our approach and capitalize on the pitches that might be mislocated?

Q.  Considering what you just said about Napoli, the improvements he's made at first base, I wonder bringing him in later in the game just in case you have a lead, is that part of your plan today?
JOHN FARRELL:¬†¬† Yeah, and we've done that throughout the course of the year.¬† Unfortunately we take one of our middle‑of‑the‑order bats out, because of no DH.¬† But Mike is in tune with what we've done previously.¬† If we do have a lead in the sixth or seventh inning, he's more than ready to go to pick up for David at first.¬† That's why we've got to be a little careful when to use him as a pinch‑hitter, as well, to preserve that defensive side of it.

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