Farrell Keeps Sox Going Strong in Extras and into the Next Day
The old saying in baseball is you can blame one-run losses on the manager/coach. Well, the inverse is also true; if you win a game by one run, you have to give credit to the manager for holding the ship together. While some extra inning games are not technically one run affairs, for all intents and purposes they are, so let us amend the old saying to, “you can blame the result of an extra inning game on the manager.” In 2017, nobody has done a better job of holding down the fort when the game goes into extras than John Farrell with the Boston Red Sox. With yet another extra inning victory under their belt after Monday night’s 10-8 triumph in 11 innings, the Boston Red Sox are far and away the best extra inning team in all of baseball.
The Red Sox have played 17 extra inning tilts and are now 14-3 in such games on the year. If you take even half of those wins and turn them into losses, the Red Sox are looking up at the Yankees for the division lead instead of the other way around. John Farrell takes a ton of flak for some of his in-game maneuvering, but he has been dynamite for the Red Sox when the game goes past nine frames.
As Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports (Boston) correctly points out, their most recent nail-biter came against the second best extra inning team in all of baseball, the Baltimore Orioles (who are now 12-3 when playing more than nine). Much has been made about the BoSox’s ability to scratch out wins when needing more than the allotted innings, but Farrell somehow turns into a baseball savant once the scoreboard clicks past nine innings. There are PLENTY of bad things to say when it comes to Farrell and how he has managed this team over the last several years, but for all of his faults, he has been superb as an extra inning game manager. He deserves an enormous amount of the credit, not just for his work in that extra inning game, but also for he does the next day.
Farrell and the Sox Dominate in Equal Footing Games
In the Carrabis article today he focuses on how the Red Sox pitching staff has thrown more innings than any other staff in all of baseball (1,372.1) or how the bullpen actually has not been tasked that much (24th out of 30 teams). While all those points points and concerns, I want to focus on how well the Red Sox have faired in the game after going more than nine frames. The Red Sox have played 17 extra inning games on the season and are 14-3 in those games as previously stated. What is truly surprising is that the Red Sox are actually 9-7 in games following extra inning tilts.
This record though is a little misleading. Farrell does a great job getting his team ready to play the next game, but only if the Red Sox are playing the same opponent, or what I have dubbed “Equal Footing Games.” Do not get confused, Farrell deserves all the credit in the world for somehow still producing a winning record post-extra inning games, but the Red Sox are fodder if they happen to play a fresh opponent. The BoSox are 0-4 in the game following an extra inning game when they face a new opponent. This plays to reason; in a game pitting a fresh team versus a tired team, the fresh team should win… and against the Red Sox… they do.
As opposed to using this as a club with which to whack John Farrell, it should actually be a boon to the Farrell does a great job argument. While the Red Sox are the broken footed gazelle to a pride of lions when they have to face a fresh team after an extra inning game, the Sox turn into the hunters if the game after an extra inning battle involves the same two teams. In that scenario, the Red Sox are an astounding 9-3. In other words, if the two teams are equally as tired, the Sox have posted a .750 winning percentage, which is downright amazing.
Whatever it is Farrell does once the game goes past nine innings, he puts in the extra work and it shows. Farrell has pulled out 14 crucial wins in 17 tries during extra inning battles. If his team is going up against a fresh squad, the Sox stand no chance and are 0-4 on the season. However, if both teams are on equal footing, Farrell has summoned wins almost at will, propelling the Red Sox to a 9-3 record in such games. Overall, when the Red Sox and their opponents are all on a level playing field, the Red Sox are 23-6.
For a much maligned manager, Farrell has done an exquisite job pulling out victories for the Red Sox in a season where they are only three games up on the Yankees with 12 to go. Farrell might not be the best in-game manager in baseball, but his work in extras and his work in preparing the Sox for their next day’s game is unrivaled this season. So while it might pain some people to acknowledge it, give Farrell the credit he deserves, because without his 23-6 record in Equal Footing games, the Red Sox definitely would not be atop the AL East… and they might even be out of the playoff picture altogether.