If something seemed off about the Boston Red Sox last season, there’s apparently a pretty good reason: There was something off about the Red Sox last season.
There certainly seemed to be something of a leadership void, and Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia admitted Monday that former Boston manager John Farrell was part of the reason the club didn’t seem to enjoy itself in 2017.
“The overall approach, every day, would wear on guys. It wasn’t people not liking each other. We all love each other. Trust me,” Pedroia said Monday morning on WEEI’s “OMF.”
“There’s the mindset of, ‘You show up to the yard, you put your work in, you have your approach that day, and you try to execute it. If you don’t, guess what? You’re going to show up tomorrow and still be in the lineup. We’re all going to have confidence in you. We’re all going to show up and try to win and accomplish the same thing.’ That’s what wore on guys and made the season that much more grueling — when everything that day was more magnified. It put a lot of pressure on our young guys, it put a lot of pressure on our veteran guys. That’s the part, when you hear Mookie (Betts) or (Xander Bogaerts) say they weren’t having much fun, you don’t ever have a chance to enjoy yourself if you don’t go 4-for-4, throw a complete game shutout, or we don’t win by 10. You don’t look ahead to the end of what we were trying to build for.”
Pedroia (and perhaps the rest of the club) sounds optimistic about the approach of new Red Sox manager Alex Cora. After dispatching Farrell, the Red Sox opted to go young with Cora, who Pedroia says is utilizing a more laid-back approach.
“It’s more put your work in and stick with the process, don’t worry about results that day because, over the course of the season, you’re going to be the type of player you are throughout 162 games,” Pedroia said on WEEI. “You don’t stay away from what your strengths are. If you’re facing a tough pitcher that day, and my strength is pulling the ball, and he throws every pitch on the corner away, and I go 0-for-4, it’s not panic, show up the next day and try to become a guy who hits the ball the other way all of the time. It’s more process oriented than result-that-day oriented.”
It will be a while before we know whether the changes in the coaching staff and manager’s office make a difference. After all, the Red Sox fired Farrell after two straight division titles. He and his club couldn’t get over the hump in the playoffs, and that ultimately cost Farrell his job, but Cora inherits an improved roster with inflated expectations.
So regardless of approach, Cora has a lot to live up to in order to at least match the production of the last two seasons in Boston.