Tough Sale all good by Far­rell

OK with ar­gu­ments

Boston Herald - - SPORTS - By JA­SON MASTRODONATO TWO-TIMER: Xan­der Bo­gaerts forces Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kier­maier at sec­ond base as part of a first-in­ning dou­ble play last night at Trop­i­cana Field. Twit­ter: @JMas­trodonato

ST. PETERS­BURG, Fla. — From John Lackey and Jon Lester, to Wade Mi­ley, to Rick Por­cello, Drew

Pomer­anz and most no­tably, Chris Sale, there’s a long line of pitch­ers who have ex­pressed clear anger with John Far­rell when get­ting pulled out of the game.

But to see it from Sale, who looked like the sure­fire Cy Young win­ner un­til the be­gin­ning of Au­gust, as Far­rell started walk­ing to the mound on Fri­day night, was a unique scene.

Be­fore his late-sea­son slide, Sale would eas­ily have all of New Eng­land be­hind him if he wanted to stand up to his man­ager and tell him he’s stay­ing in the game. At one point early in the year, Far­rell could be seen in the dugout telling him his night would be over, only for Sale to tell him it isn’t. Sale stayed in the game.

On Fri­day, though, af­ter Sale had given up four runs in 52⁄3 in­nings and pushed his ERA to 4.25 since Aug. 1, he had less of a case.

And yet, the sec­ond Far­rell popped out of the dugout, Sale could be seen yelling at him, “I got it. I got it.”

When Far­rell kept walk­ing, Sale shook his head.

When Far­rell took the ball, Sale gave him a mouth­ful.

“I love it, too,” Far­rell said when asked about it yes­ter­day. “I love it when guys ar­gue with you or they want to ex­press how they feel. I’ll take 12 of those over a guy who’s look­ing for­ward to hand­ing over the ball.

“Last night, I know Chris didn’t want to come out of that game and I fully re­spect that. That’s the com­peti­tor that he is.”

Sale blamed him­self af­ter­ward, but it’s cer­tainly eas­ier to do that af­ter the Sox came back to beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 13-6, in the 15th in­ning.

“As a com­peti­tor you want to stay in there, fin­ish your job,” Sale said. “That’s my job. I play once a week. I want to be out there as long as I can and eat up as many in­nings as I can, save the guys in the bullpen, stuff like that. But I did it to my­self.”

Far­rell cer­tainly has a stronger case now, given that Sale, the MLB leader in in­nings pitched and strike­outs, has be­gun to show signs of wear­ing down this late in the sea­son.

His ve­loc­ity has been fine — he touched 99 mph Fri­day night and av­er­aged 95-96 mph on his fast­ball — and he’s still strik­ing out a league-best 12.7 bat­ters per nine in­nings since Aug. 1, despite his ERA ris­ing.

But Far­rell be­lieves the work­load is catch­ing up to Sale, and in re­sponse, the Red Sox have tried giv­ing him ex­tra rest when able to do so. Lately, that means pulling him early in games, too.

“The com­mand started to elude him a lit­tle bit more,” Far­rell said. “I know he didn’t want to come out of that game. Given that he was ap­proach­ing 100 pitches, rec­og­niz­ing how much he’s pitched this year, felt like at the time that was the move to make.”

Unique looks

The Sox aren’t trot­ting out line­ups with Aaron Hill lead­ing off. They’re not start­ing Henry Owens in the ro­ta­tion.

Last year, the Red Sox took the foot off the gas down the stretch and stum­bled into the play­offs on a bad note, even­tu­ally get­ting swept by the Cleve­land Indians in the ALDS.

The line­ups the Sox have used this week­end may look odd, and they cer­tainly are dif­fer­ent, but this is the best the team has right now.

Dustin Pe­droia (left knee) has lim­i­ta­tions and, af­ter go­ing 0-for-9 and play­ing all 15 in­nings as the des­ig­nated hit­ter on Fri­day night, needed yes­ter­day off. Ed­uardo Nunez is still out with a knee in­jury (though he could re­turn as soon next week­end). Han­ley Ramirez has bi­ceps in­flam­ma­tion, among other ail­ments, and is con­sid­ered day-to-day, though Far­rell has been vague about Ramirez’ role/di­ag­no­sis.

The in­juries re­sulted in Chris Young serv­ing as the des­ig­nated hit­ter in last night’s 3-1 win, despite Young be­ing just 3-for-16 life­time off Rays starter Alex Cobb. Young went 0-for-4 to lower his sea­son av­er­age to .232.

Catcher Chris­tian Vazquez, one of the hottest hit­ters in the ma­jors over the last two months, was bat­ting sec­ond, the first time in his ca­reer he’s bat­ted higher than sixth. He went 2-for-4.

Brock Holt again manned sec­ond base.

Kelly im­presses

Joe Kelly might needed this one.

Af­ter post­ing a 7.04 ERA from July 9 through Sept. have 14, Kelly’s sta­tus in the Red Sox’ bullpen was be­com­ing un­clear. But his three perfect in­nings on just 33 pitches to keep Fri­day’s game tied in ex­tra in­nings left Far­rell im­pressed.

“We’ve seen Joe in­cor­po­rate a lit­tle bit of a hes­i­ta­tion on his de­liv­ery to a quick pitch,” Far­rell said. “As he’s un­der­stood to elim­i­nate that and re­peat his de­liv­ery, that’s al­lowed him to com­mand the base­ball, par­tic­u­larly with his sec­ondary pitches. He was as sharp and as pow­er­ful as we’ve seen him, maybe in any time in our uni­form.”

Blake’s back

Blake Swi­hart was be­hind the plate on Fri­day for the first time in a ma­jor league game since last April.

He caught seven in­nings off the bench.

Swi­hart’s pres­ence on the ros­ter and com­fort be­hind the dish could al­low Far­rell to be more ag­gres­sive in his use of Vazquez off the bench on days he doesn’t start, or as the des­ig­nated hit­ter when Sandy Leon is be­hind the plate.

AP PHOTO

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