Oct. 16 John Farrell pregame interview
Q. Can you talk about having Nava in the lineup tonight instead of Gomes?
JOHN FARRELL: You know, Daniel has had some decent success against Doug. And as we've mixed and matched for the better part of this year, except for the last couple of times against right‑handers in Scherzer and Verlander when we've gone with Gomes, Nava has been a fixture in left field for us against right‑handed pitcher. So those things combined, Daniel is back out there tonight.
Q. As a former pitcher and pitching coach, do you take any personal satisfaction from seeing pitching come back, and especially be the focus in the showcase of this postseason?
JOHN FARRELL: Yeah, and I think it's probably different than we envisioned coming into the season, the fact that there's been 13 runs scored total in three games is ‑‑ I don't think anything that I envisioned. But it's a credit to the pitching staffs on both sides of this series. And to see guys have to execute consistently in tight spots says a lot about not only their preparation but their focus and concentration between the lines. For a baseball purist, this is the ideal first three games that you might see.
Q. When David Ortiz left Minnesota ten years ago the Twins talked in his wake about really being devastated that he left, not so much as a hitter but his personality and his meaning in the room. He's been here ten years now, can you talk to his personality and what it means for him and keeping guys loose, just the enormity of his personality?
JOHN FARRELL: The way that he talks, the way that he walks into a room, all eyes turn to him. And not just because of his stature or what he's accomplished, but the energy and the life and the fun‑loving approach he has for the game and a certain situation. And it's diffusing in tight moments, it's really diffusing for guys around to hear the laughter or a comment he might make. I think it puts a lot of guys at ease. If that's a form of leadership in a way, then he certainly epitomizes that in our clubhouse.
Q. How different is your approach to using the bullpen in the postseason, you've had Koji had a couple of four‑out saves in the postseason, and your relievers have pretty much all been great?
JOHN FARRELL: I don't know that our approach is any different now than what we've shown in the regular season. Koji had nine appearances where it was more than three outs. So we knew coming in because of his efficiency and the few pitches he'll throw, he's more than capable of four or five outs. There might be a willingness to go to the bullpen a little bit earlier because of a matchup. And whether it was in the sixth inning down in Tampa, the last time Peavy was on the mound or yesterday when seemingly Lackey had that game well under control. But it's the magnitude of the moment. And low run games, meaningful games, as they are right now, you know, you're looking for an all‑hands‑on‑deck approach at this point.
Q. When you acquired Jake Peavy at the deadline it was to get an arm for the stretch and into the playoffs. Can you comment on how perfectly it's set up where you have a pitcher of his ilk pitching on Game 4 on this stage?
JOHN FARRELL: In Game 4 in the last series, as well. Jake's track record, his success, his experience in postseason, we didn't set out just to acquire another arm. We needed to find and get a pitcher, hopefully obtain a pitcher that had his capabilities. And Ben did a great job, and we talked about the trade for all three teams yesterday. What Jake has shown us is the way that he prepares, his attitude, his approach to the game fits into this clubhouse perfectly with the remainder of the group that's here. And we know every time he walks to the mound, he leaves everything he has on that given day on the mound, with the competitiveness and the attitude with which he pitches.
Q. Just a follow‑up to that on Jake Peavy, is there anything in the two and a half months prior to getting him that you've seen that was maybe unexpected or something different that you didn't expect to see when you saw him from afar?
JOHN FARRELL: You know, it's always the work in between the starts, the four days in between. And when you see the work ethic, you see the preparation he goes through, whether it's charting the previous day's game in the clubhouse, on TV, as he's making the final plans for attacking a lineup, the amount of video work that he does, those are the things you're not privy to across the field. And that's the thing that really stands out with Jake.
Q. Uehara was not your first choice as closer. Could you talk about his evolution into that role. Is it as important for teams now to identify pitchers that have the capability of closing as it is to go out and get someone else's closer?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, he ended up being our fourth choice as closer this year, and it took place right in this ballpark. Injuries and performance led us to Koji taking over the role. And he's gained the notoriety and the accolades he has because he's been in this closer role. But this has been a very successful pitcher, whether it's Baltimore, Texas, Japan, wherever it's been. He's a guy that's always had swing and miss capability. And I think it's easier to make the determination of putting him in the closer role when you know him as a person as opposed to seeing him with another team and you make a trade to acquire a closer. There's a viewpoint that closers come from anywhere. But the strikeout capability is the one thing that Koji has set himself apart with.
Q. Any postseason game is going to be a chess match between managers. Do you marvel at so many chess moves going on before the game? Do you see that the way we see it, all these moves being made before the game even starts?
JOHN FARRELL: No, I don't. They basically moved everybody up one slot. We made a change in Game 2 in a couple of slots. So you're looking to maybe gain a spark in some way, with a certain matchup that you might foresee unfolding in the middle or later innings, where you can project maybe there will be a spot where a certain hitter comes up against a certain pitcher. But those are all just kind of gut feeling and potential scenarios you walk through. But don't take anything away from the changes in their lineup today for us.
Q. The two 1‑0 games, the first one went four hours, the one last night went three and a half. Is there a reason why that's happening, something with these teams playing each other?
JOHN FARRELL: We had a 17‑minute power outage, that was one reason. The number of strikeouts, you're going to look at longer at‑bats, there's not early contact, there's not early outs. And when you get that number of pitches thrown, we're also working with three minutes in between each half inning. All these things play into the length of time. And our guys don't pay attention to the clock. They know what inning, what out is there and we just ‑‑ we play until the 27th one is recorded and we go home.
Q. Lester is pitching tomorrow. Can you talk about his ability to rise to the occasion in these big games?
JOHN FARRELL: You know, from my perspective he's had Game 4 in '07. He's had a couple of opening game assignments in playoff series. But he's earned them because of the way he's performed over the course of a year. I can't say that the games in which he's pitched in the playoffs have been that much different than games we've seen throughout the course of the year. And we know, as we talked about with Peavy, his work between starts, that's what allows Jon to perform with the consistency and level he does.
Q. Speaking of Lester, is there something that you've seen with him since the All‑Star break that he's been able to consistently do that's allowed him to do what he's done since that stretch that he had?
JOHN FARRELL: Not to make it too simple, but it's been his fastball command. And as he's gained that consistency and the confidence with it, I think he's become a more relaxed pitcher on the mound, which enables him to pitch more freely from a physical standpoint. I think that's why we're seeing the velocity climb and it's made his pitches more effective.
Q. The Tigers are typically a home run and power hitting team. Talk about how effective you've been against Jackson and Hunter to keep them off the bases, so when you get to Cabrera and Fielder you don't have additional damage they can do?
JOHN FARRELL: You know, each guy is going to garner his own attack plan. And I think it comes back to the consistency of pitches being executed. We know the tendencies of each guy, as they do ours. And as long as you can stay away from some danger areas or more importantly pitch ahead in the count, and I think both sides have done that well. And that's why we're not seeing the runs that maybe some people expected.
Q. If I could just circle back on your Ortiz answer. Over the years when you played or managed, have you had anyone else that comes to mind who's been like that in the room?
JOHN FARRELL: To the extent that David is, no. But ‑‑ and that's not to suggest that a team doesn't have a lighthearted mentality or a guy that's the one that's going to stir the drink. But, again, with David, it's just the confidence in which he speaks, and everyone in our uniform recognizes how long he's been here and the success, the championships he's won and what it means to play and win in Boston. I think guys look up to that. When he speaks from the heart, it resonates deep.