What a difference a week makes in the life of a major league manager.

A week and a half ago the Boston Red Sox had just returned from the West Coast after losing 3 of 4 to the last-place Oakland Athletics. There were rumors that John Farrell was on the hot seat; Foxsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported he wouldn’t be surprised if the Red Sox made a managerial change.

Starting the next day the Sox won six straight. It was their longest winning streak of the season. And the rumors of Farrell’s managerial death proved to be greatly exaggerated. At least for now.

Appearing on the NESN pregame show last week, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said the rumors of a potential move were false.

“We won a divisional crown last year,” said Dombrowski. “He managed very well for us at the time. I think that John, as well as everybody else, is frustrated by our performance and that we haven’t taken off – but we’re not buried, either. I mean, we’re four games out of first place (as of last Tuesday) and we really haven’t been in a flow ….

“I think we’re in a position where he’s managed well. He’s managed divisional champions. I think we’re in a position (where) we have a good club. We just need to get in a better flow of things.”


There are two reasons to fire a manager during a season. The first is that he is clearly the cause of the team’s disappointing performance. Dombrowski detailed that he doesn’t think that’s the case.

The other is to make a change just to create some energy. This is like pulling a goalie in the middle of a hockey game even though you know he had nothing to do with the breakdowns in front of him. You do it to send a message to the entire team, to shake things up.

Beginning with the win on May 21 in Oakland, the Sox have shaken things up on their own. They have played more aggressively, and their pitching has come together. Sox starters have been on their best run of the season, and the hope is that David Price’s return will make that rotation even better.

Price wasn’t great in his first start, lasting only five innings and giving up three runs. Yet he hit 97 mph with his fastball and was able to limit the damage after hitting two batters in the fifth. There were promising signs from his outing.

It was the right move to have Price make the start. Farrell could’ve easily asked him to make one more minor-league appearance before returning.

Over the weekend, Farrell told me that getting 90 pitches from Price was better than anything he’d get from any of his minor league options. Having seen Hector Velazquez get shelled in Oakland, it’s hard to argue.


Let’s give Farrell credit where it’s due. On Wednesday night he sent pinch hitters to the plate in consecutive at-bats and was rewarded with two hits on the way to a seven-run seventh inning in a comeback win against the Rangers.

In that same game Farrell gave Sam Travis his first big-league start, and Travis delivered with his first two big-league hits. A night later, he used five pitchers and they combined to tie a major league record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

This being Boston, no manager’s job is safe from public opinion. However, after the best stretch of Sox baseball this season, the hue and cry for Farrell’s job has quieted down. For now.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN.

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