Phew. One week after things were very bad, things are good again, at least for the moment, as the David Price saga has cooled and the Red Sox are back in first place. Even better, they’re playing the worst team in baseball and, at least last night, doing what needs to be done.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how Dave Dombrowski’s inflexibility at the trade deadline would likely land on Farrell’s shoulders if things went south, fairly or not. Turns out I had the situation backward. The new question is whether or not Farrell should get credit for the certifiably insane contributions of Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers, who, together, may have saved the Red Sox’s season despite some serious skepticism:
Is Dave Dombrowski the only person who thinks this BoSox team has a chance to do anything in October? What is he seeing that I'm not seeing?— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) July 31, 2017
Now the Sox look like a runaway train, and Farrell is largely sitting back and watching its cowcatcher go to work and reaping the benefits, fairly or unfairly. Should he get credit for this? Beats me. Does he get credit for this? Yes. Them’s the rules, whether or not they make a lick of sense.
This week has been another data point for the idea that managers have fleeting control over how their teams perform or do not perform and do or do not feel; one wonders if the mellowed out clubhouse can be directly traced to the addition of white-hot bats, but not for long, because the answer is probably yes. Farrell’s laissez-faire approach to star management is subject to severe ebbs and flows, but even his purported badness (to hear the haters tell it) can’t overcome the maxim that winning cures all.
It’s not just that they’re winning, of course, but how they’re winning that’s so great. Take Tuesday’s game of the year, which ended on a Christian Vazquez walk-off home run. They were a Craig Kimbrel save away from winning, but he blew it, and Farrell can’t be blamed for that, right? It’s standard operating procedure. No problems with that move, in theory, even if it turned out wrong — or at least I’d have no problems with it. Maybe in the event of a crushing loss, Farrell would get dinged a bit for no real reason, but maybe not. It’s a good thoughy experiment, but it’s hardly the end of the story.
Next, the Sox were a dropped third strike away from losing, but Mitch Moreland reached base safely when Yan Gomes couldn’t come up with it. If Gomes grabs the wild pitch, are we at Farrell’s throat? Maybe! But he didn’t, and while there’s a small chance Farrell used Devil Magicks to cause the error, there’s a much better chance he didn’t. The only real explanation was just a thing that happened, unlike like the subsequent no-doubt donger to end the game from Vazquez, which was clearly a product of the dark arts.
With that, the Sox have their signature win over their most tenacious recent rival, and with some Yankee flailing the good guys are back up by two games with three more to play against a Blight Sox team that no longer gets to tee off on The Homer Whisperer (and defending American League Cy Young Award winner) Rick Porcello. The Bronx Bombers, meanwhile, have to deal with presumably furious Indians team in Cleveland. Good luck.
With Dennis Eckersley wanting to move past the idiotic David Price incident and Price allegedly following suit, we can hopefully put that incident to rest and shave some of the stubble it’s caused for Farrell. He’ll enter this weekend at a safe 4.5 Danger Points out of 11 after last week’s crazy 8.5, but barring at least 3 out of 4 wins against the Pale Hose, he could creep back up again, through major faults of his own — or, more likely, none at all.