John Farrell Explains Interesting Decision; Notes From Red Sox’s Loss


May 21, 2014

John FarrellBOSTON — Believe it or not, the Red Sox actually played a game Tuesday.

Most of the pregame chatter centered on the news that Stephen Drew had agreed to a one-year deal with the team. Once the dust settled, the Red Sox faced the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. It wasn’t pretty.

The Blue Jays launched four home runs en route to a 7-4 win in the series opener. Let’s go over some notes from the Red Sox’s fifth straight loss.

— Felix Doubront left Tuesday’s start in the fifth inning with left shoulder fatigue.

Doubront had a hard time putting into words the sensation he felt. He said he didn’t feel pain and acknowledged it was more numbness.

Doubront, who said he began feeling the discomfort in the second inning, got knocked around in his four-plus innings of work. He gave up five runs on five hits, including two homers, while throwing 65 pitches.

The left-hander surrendered back-to-back doubles to Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera to open the fifth inning. Doubront’s fastball velocity topped out at 88 mph — well below his 92 mph average — in that inning, so it was clear that something was physically wrong.

Doubront will undergo an MRI on Wednesday.

— Edwin Encarnacion smoked two home runs, giving him 11 this season. The effort marked Encarnacion’s third multihomer game of the season and the 14th of his career.

Cabrera and Erik Kratz also went deep for Toronto.

— Xander Bogaerts had a tough day. Not only did the 21-year-old learn he’ll be moving off his natural position upon Drew’s arrival, but he also committed two errors — one fielding, one throwing — at shortstop.

Bogaerts went 1-for-3 at the dish. He should have had another hit and at least one RBI, but Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie robbed him with the bases loaded in the fourth inning.

Bogaerts ripped a line drive to the left side, and Lawrie laid out to knock it down. Lawrie popped up, stepped on third base and fired home, where Kratz tagged David Ortiz to complete a crazy, inning-ending double play.

— Jonny Gomes led the way offensively for Boston. He collected three hits, including a two-run homer in the sixth inning.

Gomes’ long ball initially wasn’t ruled a home run. It landed on top of the Green Monster — striking the ledge in front of the Monster seats — before bouncing back onto the field. Crew chief Gary Cederstrom called for a review, at which point the initial ruling was overturned.

— Bogaerts and Brock Holt followed Gomes’ home run with back-to-back singles. Manager John Farrell called for David Ross to bunt despite being down three runs, and the catcher popped it up for the inning’s first out. The Red Sox didn’t score any more runs that inning.

— Farrell made an even more curious decision in the eighth inning after Gomes singled and Bogaerts walked to begin the frame.

Farrell asked Holt, who already had two hits, to bunt despite the Red Sox still trailing by three runs. Holt’s attempt was successful, but Ross struck out swinging and Jackie Bradley Jr. popped out.

The bunt call was strange for several reasons — Holt swinging the bat well, both Ross and Bradley struggling, the deficit being three runs, Boston running out of outs, etc. — but Farrell explained his decision after the game.

“Knowing that our top of the lineup was coming up in the ninth inning, (we were) just trying to cut the deficit by one or possibly by two with a base hit,” Farrell said. “We’ve got to trust everyone in the lineup, and despite Brock having good at-bats tonight, I felt like that’s what the situation called for. Didn’t want to turn a three-run deficit over to (Blue Jays closer Casey) Janssen. Any way we could to try to chip away to try to cut into some runs. They’ve been a premium to come by and (we were) looking for anything we (could) to scratch out a run.”

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