1:12 AM Eastern
Derek Holland got lit up good during the ALCS – knocked out of his first start in the third inning, and failing to make it through five in his second, so he was well-rested when he took the ball for Game Four of the World Series, and it showed.
Holland was phenomenal, quieting the Cardinals’ bats a night after they’d exploded for 16 runs, pitching the Rangers to a win and knotting up the Fall Classic at two games each.
It was reminiscent of the game Curt Schilling threw at the Blue Jays in Game Five of the 1993 World Series – that one a complete-game, five-hit shutout after the Jays had scored 15 runs in the epic Game Four the night before.
Except that Schilling gave up hits to four different players and threw 147 pitches. Holland got two fewer outs, threw 29 fewer pitches and only gave up a hit to one guy, Lance Berkman.
The man known as Fat Elvis, a much weaker hitter right-handed than left, ripped a double to the gap in right-centre in the 2nd and lined a single up the middle in the 5th. Those were the only hits the Cardinals would get, and Holland allowed only ONE other ball to be hit out of the infield.
It was an incredible performance, and Mike Napoli provided the breathing room. The Rangers’ best hitter this season, Napoli found himself hitting EIGHTH, but greeted reliever Mitchell Boggs by destroying his first pitch – a neck-high fastball – for a three-run homer to make the score 4-0. Boggs took over for ex-Jay Edwin Jackson, who hit the showers with one out in the 6th after issuing his sixth and seventh walks of the night.
So for the first time in eight years, the World Series is locked up at two wins each. It’s now a best-of-three, with one game left in Texas. Chris Carpenter will start that one for the Cardinals, C.J. Wilson for the Rangers – they met up in the opener, with Carpenter winning a 3-2 squeaker that saw both bullpens combine to throw 5 1/3 innings of three-hit shutout behind the starters.
We’ll have all the action for you along the Fan Radio Network, beginning with the Blue Jay A Day Pre-Game Show, which will feature super-rookie Brett Lawrie. He’ll be taking your calls, starting at 7:00 PM Eastern, so make sure you tune in and call in! Before Game Four, our Blue Jay guest was Adam Lind – here’s his appearance, for your listening pleasure:
The big news in Blue Jay land is reaction to a speculative, vague “report” in the Boston Globe that the Red Sox had John Farrell at the top of their list to take over as manager when Terry Francona left earlier this month, that they had “internal discussions” about approaching Farrell and that, at this point, they may or may not still be interested in making an overture towards him. Probably.
Over the course of a few hours, thanks to the Twitter- and blogospheres, that story became “John Farrell is leaving the Blue Jays to take over as manager of the Red Sox.”
That’s not the case, obviously, but what is the case is that if the Red Sox were interested in Farrell, and Farrell wanted to leave the Jays to go back to Boston, the Blue Jays would not stand in his way. The Jays would give the Sox permission to talk to Farrell, and wouldn’t demand any compensation if Farrell left. Everything else is pure speculation.
I don’t think that Farrell would leave the Jays to manage the Red Sox, despite his history with the team. I don’t know Farrell well, by any means, but he seems like someone who would honour his commitment and be loyal to the Jays for showing enough faith in him to give him his first manager’s job at any level.
I do know that Farrell and Francona are very close friends, and I would think that the way Francona was figuratively tarred and feathered on the way out of town by the higher-ups in the Red Sox organization probably made an impression on Farrell. It doesn’t seem like a very desirable place to work right now.
Farrell would be a good fit for Boston. He knows the situation well and I think he’d be able to clean up a lot of the crap that went on in that clubhouse over the final month of the season. But Francona and Theo Epstein are gone, Jonathan Papelbon and David Ortiz are probably leaving as free agents, it’s not the same group anymore. I think he’d choose to stay with the Jays – if the Red Sox are even interested in offering him the job – but that’s just my opinion.
If Farrell chooses to leave, then Francona would be a very nice fit to take over the Blue Jays. As would Brian Butterfield, Torey Lovullo (though I assume he’d leave with Farrell) or Sal Fasano.
I do think it’s a mistake, though, for the Jays to allow Farrell – or any member of the staff – to make a lateral move to another team while under contract without demanding compensation. I know that Alex Anthopoulos sees it as treating his people properly and in so doing, making the Jays an attractive place for top talent to come and work, but Farrell and others like him are also assets that can bring back something nice and tasty if someone wants to poach them.
John Farrell is a smart guy, and he seems to be well-liked by his players and his employers. He certainly has the makings of a very good big-league manager, but he’s still in the infancy of his career. He’s not an irreplaceable asset by any means, so there should be neither weeping nor rending of garments should he choose to leave for the Red Sox. I’ll wish him luck and know that if his heart wasn’t in it here, everyone is better off with him not being here. But I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen.
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Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!