On the one hand, I feel for John Farrell. On the other, I wonder what the hell he is doing.
Let’s start with the foolishness that is currently baseball’s replay system.
Farrell went 0-for-2 on replay calls during a lost weekend in New York, the second call coming last night and costing the Red Sox a run – they lost 3-2 – while simultaneously earning Farrell an ejection. Farrell sees inconsistencies in replay and he is right. A couple of hours after ESPN analyst announcer John Kruk was explaining to viewers that a runner is not considered out at first base until the ball is secured in the first baseman’s glove, Farrell was saying something altogether different – that the out is recorded “when the ball enters the glove -- and not that it has to hit the back of the glove.”
So which is it? Does anybody really know? Do the umpires?
Of course, Farrell was still ticked off from Saturday, when the Red Sox sought replay to determine whether Dean Anna had temporarily lifted his foot off the bag on a double in the eighth inning. That the Red Sox were able to question the play is objectionable to begin with – has replay really been instituted for “gotcha” moments like that? - but Major League Baseball’s assertion that it did not have the same camera angles at its disposal was laughable.
Know what I think? That MLB doesn’t want teams like the Red Sox challenging plays like the one involving Anna in the same way they don’t want teams challenging the “neighborhood” play. (What they find, after all, would be disturbing.) So they came up with some cockamamie explanation lit Farrell’s fuse and set him up for Sunday’s expulsion.
The Red Sox, as is their knack, pushed the envelope on Saturday. It backfired on Sunday.
All of which brings us to Mike Carp and that stolen base attempt on Saturday in what was then a 6-4 game. The Sox had runners at first (Carp) and third (Mike Napoli) with two outs and Xander Bogaerts at the plate. The count was 0-2. The Sox then inexplicably sent the cement-shoed Carp, Farrell explaining after the game that the Sox were betting on a curveball in the dirt, the kind of pitch Bogaerts would likely lay off and that would allow Carp to move into scoring position.
Instead, the Sox got a high fastball. Bogaerts laid off. Carp was a dead duck. And the manager killed any chance at a game-winning rally.