Remember when I asked who was calling the shots on the Red Sox? John Farrell said on the radio that the Sox needed to change their approach. Then, they had a special meeting with the pitchers and catchers to discuss that very thing. I wondered who the hold-up was. If Farrell wanted to make a change, why didn’t he just tell the pitchers to throw inside more? Or tell the catchers to call more inside pitches? Who needed convincing?
Was it Nieves?
Now I sometimes think that a coach/manager gets too much blame when things are going wrong. The last place finish in 2012 was much much much more to do with the talent level left on that team the second half of the year than anything Bobby Valentine could mismanage. I also hate the idea that a coach should be fired to light a fire under the players, or any other cliché you prefer.
But, if they’re not following the game plan, and not getting results, that seems like a pretty reasonable reason to make a change. Grady Little didn’t listen to the advice of the numbers people. He bucked organizational philosophy. And, he didn’t win. So, it’s a reasonable time to make a change.
Is this what happened with Nieves? Was he resisting Farrell’s preferred approach?
Because, say what you want about the quality of the pitching staff, they did all have proven records. You can say they were proven to be #3 starters, but they were there. But, this year every single one of them is pitching terribly. I asked before, did everyone forget how to pitch all at once? Or, was it the approach.
Now, I have no idea what Nieves is doing differently than he was in, say, 2013 when the Sox won the World Series. Maybe Lester, Lackey, and Peavy didn’t need a pitching coach? I don’t know why Clay Buchholz was the best pitcher in baseball the first half season under Nieves, and the worst pitcher the next year.
But, whatever it is, its sounds like more than just picking a fall guy. It doesn’t look like they’re just making a statement to the team. When you consider past conversations and events, it looks like there’s something there. Something that wasn’t working.
Maybe now it’s fixed.