After all, he knew enough to leave Fister in the game last night.
For some reason, once again, people are down on Farrell. I think it had something to do with Monday’s bullpen implosion in Cleveland. Once again, Farrell made the tragic error of not putting in the pitchers who would pitch well. For whatever reason, instead of putting in a pitcher who would strike every batter out, he went with the guys who would walk everyone. Odd strategy for sure. The EEIdiots even ran a poll wondering where Farrell would rank among MLB managers. Last I saw, most people had him rated “Middle of the pack” while a pretty large percentage had him as “bottom five.”
My problem with ranking managers is that I find it hard to do from afar. It’s sort of like ranking meteorologists. You probably heard that meteorologists themselves claim that they are correct a large percentage of the time. This is probably true. Looking out the window at today’s sunshine, they correctly said it would be sunny today. But, I’m thinking I could have guessed that an August day would be sunny…especially if I didn’t see any clouds to the east. So, yes, they correctly predicted the day, but I don’t give them much credit for it. I barely notice. But, if I have tickets in Section 36 for a game, and they say it’ll be sunny but it ends up rainy, I’m annoyed. I remember that. Damn local forecast made me ruin my scorecard.
This is the same for managers. The vast majority of Farrell’s decisions are right on. He starts Chris Sale every fifth day. He plays Mookie Betts as often as he can. But, we don’t give him credit for those. Any idiot would start Chris Sale. Even though it’s possible that someone might try to pitch him every four days, or every six. We don’t count those decisions in our mental scorecards. What do we count? When he screws up. Or, more correctly, when his decisions don’t work out. When he brings in a reliever who gives up the lead, we remember that. He should have known Kelly was going to be shaky that night. We remember every decision that doesn’t go his way, and gloss over all the ones that do.
This makes us underrate him when compared to others. Just like the local meteorologist that doesn’t seem to predict the weather as well as the national average, Farrell doesn’t seem to manage as well as those “other guys”.
But, how do we know? Who’s better?
Some people point to other managers with winning teams. See? They know what they’re doing. Of course, that’s ignoring the fact that the Sox themselves are comfortably in first place. Joe Maddon used to get a lot of credit for “doing more with less” in Tampa. That’s a pretty sweet situation for a manager. He didn’t have to actually win, just be perceived to do better than his talent would indicate. Of course, his magic apparently wore off this year in Chicago. Maybe dressing up like a nerd doesn’t actually translate to wins on the field? Buck Showalter’s name comes up a lot. He has those mad “in-game” skills. Until he left his all-world closer sitting on the bench during an elimination game. My guess is that if you look over his full season, you’ll see a lot of bonehead moves like that. Joe Girardi certainly makes plenty, according to my twitter feed. It’s funny to see the Yankees fans I follow making almost the exact same complaints as the Red Sox fans. “Joe waited one pitch too long.” “Joe mishandled Chapman there.” And so on.
Maybe, just maybe, hating the manager is just a “grass is always greener” sort of thing. For the same reason you can’t fully appreciate JBJ’s defense unless you see him every day, maybe you can’t properly evaluate another manager unless you see him manage all the time too. Or the opposite, you can’t fairly evaluate your own manager because you see all of his perceived faults. Maybe that’s clouding your thoughts.
Maybe Farrell’s a good manager after all.