October 16, 2017

If The Red Sox Hire Ron Gardenhire ...

... I might have to stop watching games. For the sake of my sanity.

Hey! I have an idea! Why don't they see what Grady Little's been doing lately?

October 15, 2017

Manager Search: Red Sox Will Interview Alex Cora Today

The Red Sox begin their interview sessions for potential managers today when they meet with Alex Cora in New York.

Cora, who played for the Red Sox from 2005-08 and was known around these parts as "Einstein", is currently the bench coach for the Astros. ESPN reports that while Cora has no experience managing in the majors, he
has experience as both a manager and a general manager of a winter-ball team in Puerto Rico. He has a reputation as a strong communicator and a mentor for young players, and ... the former infielder is familiar with the heightened demands and expectations that exist in sports-crazed Boston.
Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox's president of baseball operations:
We have a young core of players that are outstanding young talents. I think they have a chance to be championship-type players. They're still in their growth stage. It's a great foundation for a baseball club. ... [I]t's going to be very important for whomever it is to be able to relate to those youngsters and ... help them get better as players.
Peter Gammons tweeted on Saturday that Dombrowski "spoke at length with [Astros manager] A.J. Hinch Thursday and got a strong recommendation on Alex Cora".

There are reports that the Red Sox are also interested in talking with Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire. (As long as the team is not actually interested in hiring Gardenhire, I guess it's okay if they talk to him.)

Schadenfreude 217 (A Continuing Series)








George A. King III, Post (early edition):
The Dead Bats Society has cast a deadly spell on the Yankees' lumber. And if the Yankees don't find a way to break it, their first taste of the ALCS in five years won't last long.

After wasting a solid start by Masahiro Tanaka on Friday night, the bats didn't offer much support to Luis Severino, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson during a 2-1 loss to the Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday ...

Houston is the 29th team in LCS history to take a 2-0 lead since the seven-game format was introduced in 1985. Just three teams who won the first two games didn't make it to the World Series. The last team to lose the first two and get to the World Series was the 2004 Red Sox, who dropped the first three to the Yankees and rallied for four straight victories.

Justin Verlander thrilled the sold-out crowd with nine brilliant innings in which he allowed a run, five hits and struck out a season-high 13. Verlander's 124 pitches were the most he has thrown this year.

Aroldis Chapman gave up a one-out single to Jose Altuve in the ninth and he scored from first on Carlos Correa's double to right-center that Aaron Judge fielded and threw to shortstop Didi Gregorius. His throw home arrived ahead of Altuve, but catcher Gary Sanchez didn't handle it on the bounce and the Yankees were losers.
George A. King III, Post:
In the end, Didi Gregorius' throw home short-hopped Gary Sanchez as Jose Altuve scored from first in the ninth inning to lift the Astros to victory.

Yet, before the hosts copped a 2-1 win ... the Yankees did a lot to put themselves in position to go down, 0-2, in the best-of-seven affair.

One game after Dallas Keuchel handcuffed the Yankees in Game 1, Justin Verlander dominated them Saturday when he hurled a complete-game in which he allowed five hits. Verlander's 13 strikeouts were a postseason best for the right-hander who threw a season-high 124 pitches. ...

That brought things to Aroldis Chapman and the ninth inning, when the Yankees went into a ditch that finally might be too deep to escape. ...

Gregorius' throw home was ahead of Altuve, but it bounced very close to Sanchez's glove and the catcher never controlled the ball to make a tag. ...

When a team gives up four runs in 18 postseason innings and loses twice, the onus falls on the hitters, some whom are in funks so deep it's hard to see an exit.

The two main culprits are Judge and Sanchez. The rookie who set a major-league record with 52 homers has two hits in 27 at-bats (.074) since the start of the ALDS and has whiffed 19 times. In addition to being in a 4-for-30 (.133) slide since Game 1 of the ALDS, Sanchez has struck out 15 times.
Andrew Marchand, ESPN:
On the decisive play of Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius let go of his relay throw like a quarterback under pressure, and he thought it would end in a completion. Gregorius believed catcher Gary Sanchez would make the catch at the plate for the out and the Yankees would prevent the winning run. ...

Gregorius, just behind second base, received the ball just as Correa did a popup slide at the bag. Although Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked the umpires about it right after the play concluded, Girardi even admitted there was no interference. It was a legal slide, though it affected Gregorius as an incoming rusher might. ...

[The] throw was not perfect -- it reached Sanchez on a short hop -- but it was good enough. Even with Altuve's speed, there was plenty of time for Sanchez to make the play. ...

When the ball arrived, slightly to the left of home plate, Altuve was a good 4 feet from home. Sanchez just needed to catch the ball, but he fumbled it.
Joel Sherman, Post:
Lights, cameras, October. ...

The bad at-bats and the strikeouts are mounting and the opportunities to do something about it might be dwindling. ...

[Aaron] Judge and [Gary] Sanchez were far from the only offensive culprits as Justin Verlander masterfully overwhelmed the lineup, getting ahead of 20 of the 32 batters he faced either 0-2 or 1-2 in what has become a rare postseason complete game. ...

The Yankees are batting just .200 as a team in the postseason ...

Joe Girardi said he is not going to change the lineup "because if you just start moving people around trying to play a hot hand, it doesn't necessarily work" ...

[Judge] continues to be baffled in particular by breaking balls away. ...

[Sanchez] has been particularly susceptible to breaking balls in the dirt and now seems to be thinking too much and getting caught between pitching speeds. He has had six straight games with multiple strikeouts.
Mike Mazzeo, Daily News:
Since the AL wild-card game, [Aaron] Judge is 2-for-27 with two RBIs, five walks and 19 strikeouts, while [Gary] Sanchez is 0-for-11 with a walk and eight strikeouts over his last three games. ...

Overall, Judge and Sanchez have combined to go 10-for-65 in the playoffs (.154) with five extra-base hits, seven RBIs and 34 strikeouts.

Sanchez: "Right now I'm not getting the results I want." ...

The question with Judge going forward as he continues to grow and evolve following a phenomenal rookie campaign: Can he hit good pitching consistently, or is he just a mistake hitter? ...

As for Sanchez, he looks completely out of whack, much more-so than Judge ...
John Harper, Daily News:
The Yankees were hoping the game would come down to a battle of the bullpens, believing that is their one significant edge over the Astros in this ALCS. ...

And though the Yankee bullpen was outstanding in emergency service ... Aroldis Chapman lost it in the ninth inning on a daring baserunning play by — who else? — Jose Altuve.

Altuve, who singled in the ninth for his 13th hit in this post-season, ran through the third base coach's stop sign on Carlos Correa's double to right-center. ...

Joe Girardi argued that Correa interfered with Gregorius' throw, and indeed replay showed there was contact with their lower bodies, but the umpires said the game was over.
Mike Vaccaro, Post:
Carlos Correa's ball found the gap, Didi Gregorius' throw was off-line — did Correa interfere with him on the play? No one protested, so apparently not — and Jose Altuve slid across with the game-winning run ...

What will appeal to the old-school Gibsonian spirit that lurks inside so many contemporary baseball fans is that Verlander threw 124 pitches at a time when nobody throws 124 — certainly not in a playoff game.
[Note: Actually, Verlander is the 19th pitcher since 2009 to throw at least 120 pitches in a postseason game (and he's done it seven of those 19 times). Verlander's start on Saturday was the eleventh postseason game since 2011 in which the starter threw more than 120 pitches:
Justin Verlander   2011 ALCS Game 5   133 pitches
Justin Verlander   2012 ALCS Game 3   132 pitches
Roy Halladay       2011 NLDS Game 5   126 pitches
Justin Verlander   2017 ALCS Game 2   124 pitches
Dallas Keuchel     2015 ALDS Game 3   124 pitches
Clayton Kershaw    2013 NLDS Game 1   124 pitches
Johnny Cueto       2015 WS Game 2     122 pitches
Justin Verlander   2012 ALDS Game 5   122 pitches
Jacob deGrom       2015 NLDS Game 1   121 pitches
CC Sabathia        2012 ALDS Game 5   121 pitches
Justin Verlander   2012 ALDS Game 1   121 pitches
All of the above pitchers won their game, except for Halladay. He lost 1-0, allowing a triple and a double to the first two batters in the top of the first inning.]

Peter Botte, Daily News (early edition):
An early call on a Jeffrey Maier-like play -- ruled a home run for Carlos Correa -- went against the Yanks, and the Bombers suddenly find themselves in an 0-2 hole for the second straight playoff series this October following another 2-1 loss on Saturday to the Astros ...

Correa's fourth-inning home run to the opposite field was just out of 6-foot-7 right fielder Aaron Judge's reach and deflected off the glove of a young fan dressed in a rainbow Astros jersey seated in the front row beyond the wall. The fan later was identified as 12-year-old Carson Riley of Liberty Hill, Texas.
Dan Martin and George A. King III, Post:
Luis Severino lasted just four innings on Saturday, but unlike his other brief postseason start, this time it wasn't because of ineffectiveness.

Instead, Severino was the victim of bad luck, as he appeared to take a comebacker from Yuli Gurriel off his left wrist in the bottom of the fourth ...

"I told them I was good," Severino said. "They told me they saw something. I didn't agree with that. I wanted to pitch. ... Maybe I swung my arm. My arm feels 100 percent great. ... I was feeling great and wanted to give them six or seven innings."
Peter Botte, Daily News:
Severino had been cruising along, matching three early zeroes on the scoreboard with veteran stud Justin Verlander, when Carlos Correa launched a video-confirmed home run ...

Either way, Severino pressed on in an attempt to keep the deficit against Verlander at one run. But after throwing one errant changeup way off the plate to the next batter, Marwin Gonzalez, Severino made a circular stretching motion with his right arm, causing Girardi and a trainer to immediately sprint out of the dugout. ...

Severino clearly was still displeased a couple of hours later, after he'd failed to convince Girardi or the medical staff to allow his duel with Verlander to continue.

October 14, 2017

Schadenfreude 216 (A Continuing Series)


Bill Madden, "Yankees Are Not The Best Team Left In The Playoffs, But They Are The Most Lovable":
America is watching and finding them ... well ... kind of lovable, an adjective never before associated with the Yankees outside of the Bronx. ...

They may not have the most talent, but they play the game with a certain verve — in direct contrast to the Red Sox, who beat them for the division title in the regular season but never looked like they were finding any joy in their work. Once again, the Yankees will be the underdogs in the ALCS, but the Astros are going to find them a very different animal from the Red Sox.
John Harper, "After Emotional ALDS Comeback, Yankees Seem Destined To Beat Astros And Advance To World Series":
The signs were there all season, really. ...

At some point you couldn't help but think there was something special about this group, and indeed as they peaked in September scouts were telling me to beware these Yankees. ...

[I]t just feels like the Yankees are playing at such a high level right now, riding a wave of confidence and relishing their status as underdogs, that they'll find a way. ...

[T]hese postseason games often come down to the type of mental toughness that has defined the Fighting Gardners, if you will, throughout this season. ...

Yankees in seven.




Peter Botte, Daily News:
They have a problem. ...

Dallas Keuchel continued his career-long domination of the Bombers with seven scoreless innings to send the Yankees' to a 2-1 loss to the Astros in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series on Friday night ...

[Jose] Altuve heard chants of "MVP" all night from the home crowd ... [After an infield single behind second base with one out in the fourth,] He promptly stole second base and scored on a single to left by Carlos Correa, who sprinted home later in the inning on an RBI knock by Yuli Gurriel for a 2-0 Houston lead. ...

Closer Ken Giles recorded the final five outs for Houston, including a strikeout of Didi Gregorius with the tying runs on base to end the eighth.

Bird ripped a solo shot off the right-field foul pole against Giles in the ninth for his third home run of the postseason, but Giles struck out Jacoby Ellsbury to end the game.
Ken Davidoff, Post:
If the definition of insanity truly is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then what do we make of the Yankees' decision to play against Dallas Keuchel on Friday night?

They could have forfeited and saved themselves the trouble, right? ...

Keuchel threw seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out 10 ...

The Yankees' best scoring opportunity against him wouldn't have occurred if not for a fifth-inning error by Houston's AL MVP candidate Jose Altuve, and even then, the Astros stifled it as left fielder Marwin Gonzalez fielded Aaron Judge's base hit and threw out Bird at home for the third out. The visitors made some noise in the eighth off the Astros' vulnerable bullpen, putting men on first and second with two outs, only to see Houston closer Ken Giles strike out ALDS hero Gregorius to put out the fire.

John Harper, Daily News:
Keuchel was tough again but far from his precision-pitching best. ...

In fact, there was a stretch in the fourth and fifth innings where six of eight Yankees hit the ball on the screws, and yet they came away with nothing, largely because Greg Bird got thrown out at the plate on Aaron Judge's single to end the fifth inning on the biggest play of the game.

It was 2-0 Astros at the time, and had Bird scored there, the complexion of the game might well have changed dramatically. ...

So the Bird play proved pivotal, and here's the thing: I'm still trying to figure out how he got thrown out at the plate when he had a running jump with two outs and a 3-2 count on Judge.

Bird is slow, obviously, but it looked like he didn't break quickly enough on Keuchel's delivery, and that wound up costing him. ...

It still took an accurate throw from left fielder Marwin Gonzalez, but even then Bird might have been safe if he'd made a good slide to the outside edge of the plate.

Instead he slid directly into Brian McCann's tag, even veering slightly toward the catcher, it seemed.
Mike Mazzeo, Daily News:
[Aaron] Judge actually did his part for the Bombers, matching his hit total from the entire ALDS on this night -- one. But Judge's single to left off a 3-2 hanging slider from Dallas Keuchel with two on and two outs in the fifth went for naught, as Greg Bird, who underwent ankle surgery in mid-July, was thrown out at home in an ugly display of baserunning. ...

The 25-year-old rookie Judge, who went 1-for-20 with a postseason-record 16 strikeouts in the ALDS, also was the victim of a massive strike zone in his second at-bat, as a low strike two call in his second at-bat ultimately resulted in another K. ...

Judge represented the tying run when he got up for the final time in the eighth, but he grounded out to third against Ken Giles. And Gary Sanchez and Gregorius went a combined 0-for-7 with five strikeouts ...
Joel Sherman, Post:
At this point Joe Girardi might want to see what Ronald Torreyes could do or if Alex Rodriguez would come off of the FOX set — heck, the Yankees were still paying him this season — or just what kind of shape Ron Blomberg is in.

For at this moment, the Yankees' DH stands for — take your pick — Dismal Hitting, Dreadful Hitting, Dreary Hitting. Whomever Girardi has Designated has been Decidedly Hideous.

The choice for ALCS Game 1 was Matt Holliday, who until Friday night had played as often this postseason as Babe Ruth. ...

Holliday joined the oh-fer parade, never getting the ball out of the infield ...

The Yankee DH spot is now 0-for-24.
And Bonus Shit, from the ALDS:








October 13, 2017

The Joy Of Astros

Game 1 of the ALCS is tonight: Yankees at Astros.

The NLCS begins tomorrow: Cubs at Dodgers.

(Series Threads, if you like, are in the Game Thread place.)

I am assuming that close to 100% of the people reading this post are - like myself - fervent Houston fans this week.

In the other series, I don't have super-strong feelings one way or the other, but I'll go with Dave Roberts, Yasiel Puig, and the Dodgers

What about you?

(You know what "the spirit of playoff baseball" is? It's seeing your team lose the pennant on a blown call. It builds character - and it's fun, too! Human element, y'all!)


The Daily News has an interesting story and back page:


Bill Madden: "Yankees Are Not The Best Team Left In The Playoffs, But They Are The Most Lovable"
America is watching and finding them ... well ... kind of lovable, an adjective never before associated with the Yankees outside of the Bronx. ...

They may not have the most talent, but they play the game with a certain verve — in direct contrast to the Red Sox, who beat them for the division title in the regular season but never looked like they were finding any joy in their work. Once again, the Yankees will be the underdogs in the ALCS, but the Astros are going to find them a very different animal from the Red Sox.
You're right, Bill, I've never seen Mookie Betts smile.

And:

October 12, 2017

McAdam, Bradford, Gammons On Farrell Firing And What's Next

Sean McAdam, Boston Sports Journal:
[Dave] Dombrowski was strangely circumspect in Wednesday's press conference to announce [John] Farrell's dismissal. He repeatedly avoided specifics and declined to get into details as to his reasoning for recommending the move.

A source familiar with Dombrowski's thinking, however, suggested that Farrell was being evaluated for the entirety of his tenure since Dombrowski arrived ...

The same source indicated Dombrowski was unhappy with some of the clubhouse dynamics, and, in particular, the incident with the Baltimore Orioles early in the season.

Dombrowski loudly confronted Farrell over his handling of the team's comportment after Manny Macahdo's takeout slide – from the sloppiness and ineptitude of the on-field response, and Dustin Pedroia's on-camera message ("It's not me; it's them") — didn't speak well for team unity.

Farrell was further cast in a negative light by the David Price-Dennis Eckersley incident where the manager seemed uncomfortably caught in between a petulant player's overreaction to Eckersley's color analysis ... Farrell understood that publicly calling Price out for his behavior could jeopardize the manager's own standing in the clubhouse.

One baseball source suggested that while Henry had long been a backer of Farrell's, that support began to waver this season as the team underperformed for stretches, and Henry, who is intensely driven by analytics, began to join the chorus of those who found fault with Farrell's tactical moves.

Recently, Henry scoffed when someone suggested that the team's dismal performance in the first two games in Houston in the ALDS was not something that could be blamed on Farrell. In retrospect, losing Henry's confidence may have been the most obvious signal that his days were numbered.
Rob Bradford, WEEI:
Players believed Dombrowski and Farrell didn't get along. Whether their disagreements were worse than those between other president/GMs and managers, the clubhouse perception was that the head-butting had reached advanced levels. Once players form such a narrative among themselves, it becomes a problem. And it was.

Dombrowski might say he had a good working relationship with Farrell. Maybe he believed it in some sense. But between the clubhouse perception, the weirdly vague press conference, and the manager not mentioning his former boss by name in his post-firing statement (only thanking "two front office groups") saying the two saw eye to eye starts to sound like a stretch ...

Deciphering exactly how Dombrowski viewed Farrell at the end isn't completely straightforward, however. Two discrepancies stand out.

The first was Dombrowski's recent proclamation that his manager had done "a great job" in 2017, only to turn around Wednesday and say "John did a nice job for us." (I heard at least one person in the know suggest this was the one question Farrell asked when Dombrowski summoned him to Fenway to reveal his fate on Wednesday.) ...

There was a sense that this was not the atmosphere of a first-place team for most of the year. And that's not coming from a media that only sees glimpses. This is from those on the inside. And, according to those who would know, this was at least in part because of the cloud hanging over the upper-management/manager relationship.

Except for a few outliers, the communication concerns that some had zeroed in on between Farrell and his players weren't a deal-breaker between the manager and the clubhouse. Farrell wasn't typically a jokester and wouldn't be classified as a manager who was going to lighten the clubhouse mood. But the players understood his strengths and weaknesses. ...

Farrell was caught in between. He never quite attained a my-way-or-the-highway bully pulpit, but he also failed to exude a come-in-for-coffee vibe. ...

The bottom line was that you had an intense manager and an omnipresent president who made more road trips than any of his predecessors. As the players can attest, it wasn't a good combination.
Peter Gammons, Gammons Daily:
A lot of people from the ground to the upstairs boxes felt that he was tired, that there was a lack of energy around the team and the clubhouse. In his defense, this 2017 Red Sox team had holes; they were last in homers, their 4-5 spots in the order had the worst OPS in the major leagues, there were vital injuries to Dustin Pedroia and others, Hanley Ramirez included. ...

One of the Red Sox executives who was in on the interviews after the 2012 season, called [Brad] Ausmus' interview the best he'd ever seen; had Farrell not gotten free of Toronto, he'd have been the manager. Brad grew up in Cheshire, Ct. a Red Sox fan. ...

Alex Cora's name is going to be discussed. He, too, is exceptionally smart, and while he hasn't got major league managerial experience, he has managed in winter ball and the World Baseball Classic ...

This is an important decision. The window here closes soon, where the Yankee window is just opening. The good young Red Sox players are soon going to make big coin. According to MLBTraderumors.com, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Tyler Thornburg, Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Joe Kelly and Drew Pomeranz stand to make between $30-35M in arbitration this winter. If so, they will take the payroll within $20-25M of the luxury tax threshold. ...

Then Sale and Craig Kimbrel are up after 2019 and 2020. They will need to start making baseball trades in lieu of shopping for free agents at Tiffany's and draining the farm system, which they're going to need in the next two years. ...

There are probably two more seasons before the window starts closing ...They need to look at Cleveland, see their pro scouting (Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, (Mike Clevinger, et al), and copy. They need to continually deal for undervalued 40 man roster players. ...

Bringing back the feel of winning three World Series in a decade is going to require more than a managerial search, it requires a long, hard look at every part of what the Boston Red Sox have become.

October 11, 2017

John Farrell Has Been Fired

Update: Statement from John Farrell below.

The Red Sox announced today that John Farrell will not return as the club's manager for the 2018 season.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski:
I thought it was the appropriate time to make a change for the betterment of the organization moving forward. You weigh a lot of different things to come into play. You watch day in, day out over a season. You come up with a decision based upon that. And for me, at this point, sometimes change can be better. ... It's not a snap decision that says "Oh, we lost in the postseason." That is not by any means the case. ... In my position, you're always thinking about how you get better in every different facet, so it's a thought process that takes place in everything you do.
Dombrowski's press conference can be watched here (NESN, 40 minutes).

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweeted: "Dombrowski said Farrell was fired for reasons he won't disclose and that no level of team success would have prevented that."

Dombrowski added:
I'm not going to share facts. Those are things that I keep to myself. ... I'm not going to get into particular situations that really made the final decision.
Farrell managed the Red Sox for five seasons (432-378), winning the AL East three times (including the 2013 World Series) and finishing in last place twice. Farrell was also the Red Sox's pitching coach under Terry Francona for four seasons (2007-10).
Chad Jennings, Boston Herald:
After five years of near constant scrutiny, which never went away despite three division titles and a World Series, John Farrell is out as Red Sox manager. ...

Farrell's tenure began with a championship and it ended with back-to-back division titles, something no manager in franchise history had ever accomplished, but in between were two losing seasons and persistent questions about his job security. ...

Like most managers, Farrell's in-game decision making was regular fodder for second guessing on social media and talk radio. His bullpen management and lineup construction were questioned to the very end ...

But in the past year, Farrell also became a focal point for the Red Sox' unusual clubhouse dynamic.
Tim Britton, Providence Journal:
There was not a peep Wednesday from [John] Henry or [Tom] Werner. Neither attended the press conference, and the club did not include statements on their behalf in the press release announcing Farrell's firing, as is customary. Even Bobby Valentine earned four paragraphs from ownership the day he was let go.

This is Dombrowski's call, and he decided it wasn't necessary to explain it much. He offered hints but little of substance, repeatedly declining to elaborate on why a manager who had won three divisions and a World Series in five seasons was no longer the right man for the job. ...

He said Farrell asked him a single question during their 9 a.m. meeting on Wednesday, but decided against sharing it — a tease on par with the Internet's worst clickbait. ...

Few managers had been subjected to the kind of unceasing scrutiny that Farrell endured over the past several seasons — scrutiny built by consecutive last-place finishes ...
Ron Borges of the Herald wonders: "When will the Red Sox players get some blame?"
[N]o manager can hit for his players. None can pitch for them either. When they get into the postseason the players decide who wins and who loses. Even the devotees of Moneyball admit that.

Is John Farrell the reincarnation of Earl Weaver? Not hardly. But if in five years you win a World Series, two division titles and reach the playoffs three times it shouldn't produce your dismissal ... What it should produce is a re-evaluation of your talent because, in the end, managers and coaches don't win games and neither do heads of baseball ops. Players do.
ESPN's Scott Lauber wrote that with Farrell gone, "maybe the Red Sox can address their real problems":
Drink a toast, all you champions of the #FireFarrell movement. Surely this is cause for rejoicing.

It also doesn't solve anything. ...

This isn't to say Farrell was unjustly fired. ...

But pinning it all on Farrell and pretending things will be different with another manager is as shortsighted as it is foolish. The problem runs much deeper than that. It goes to a clubhouse run by two defiant veterans, the inability of a bunch of young players to mature into team leaders and the overall makeup of a team that often seemed to be joylessly slogging back to the top of the American League East.
John Farrell released a statement on Wednesday afternoon:
Despite an end to this season that we all wanted to be different, I am proud of this ball club and the resiliency shown. I have enjoyed every moment of this job -- its peaks and its valleys. There are few, if any, positions in life that create so much passion on a daily basis.

I am grateful to an ownership group that gave me such a unique opportunity, and one that shared my desire to bring World Series championships to this great city. They supported me through a challenging and scary period in my own life, and I remain forever indebted.

I am grateful to two front office groups that worked tirelessly to provide me with the players that could consistently match up with the very best in the game. Their time and resources made my job so much easier and fulfilling.

I am thankful for fellow coaches who are far more than that -- they are close friends. They have provided the necessary direction, guidance and humor that have made the daily activities of a long season all that much more enjoyable.

I am especially grateful for five years of great players -- and people. This game has always been built around and for the players, and I have tried to respect that for five years in Boston. I have witnessed Hall of Famers, memorable Fenway wins and countless private moments that will always be with me. Those relationships will remain cherished for years.

The legions of fans who support this franchise keep their manager on his toes day in and day out. There are no days off when managing this proud franchise. I would not have wanted it any other way.

Again, I thank John Henry, Tom Werner, Michael Gordon and the ownership team for their faith in me and wish them nothing but the best moving forward.

Don't Let Us Down, Tito.

Terry Jon "Tito" Francona was the greatest manager in the history of the Boston Red Sox and, when you consider the weight of history, no other manager will ever top him. Tito manages a different team now, but tonight we need him to be a Playoff Assassin one more time.













Hey, Tito, are the Yankees gonna win tonight?