Oct. 30 John Farrell postgame interview
JOHN FARRELL: Before we get into any questions, I just want to congratulate Mike Matheny, the St. Louis Cardinals on a great season, a very, very good team. This was a stressful series; there's no question about it. As close as these games were from start to finish, a very worthy opponent, and we wish them nothing but the best.
Q. Can you describe your feelings right now? What were some of the reasons for this incredible journey this year?
JOHN FARRELL: You know, still trying to take all this in. When the fireworks went off at the presentation of the trophy out there, when the ballpark was filled with smoke, it was completely surreal. To be in this position, given where we've come from, reflecting back a year ago at this time, there's been a lot that's happened in 13 months.
Ben Cherington deserves all the credit in the world for what he has done for this roster, the players that he's brought in, and most importantly to the players. To come in and see the energy and the commitment that they had, the buying into a team concept every single day, and the one thing that really stands out more than anything is just their overall will to win, and that was no more evident than in this entire postseason.
Q. Could you talk about with Drew and Victorino, they came into this game with only one combined hit and it went 45 feet. Was it finally a case of them having to come around in this game and it didn't have to be David Ortiz tonight? Was that especially timely for them to do so?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, Shane Victorino has got a little bit of flair for the dramatic. The hits that he did record in the postseason couldn't have been bigger and couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Whether it was in Game 6 against the Tigers or the three‑run triple here tonight. He's missed a number of games this year, and he's always had the ability to step back in after a couple, three days missed. And seemingly not miss his timing at the plate.
Even though the numbers for both guys in the postseason don't reflect what they did during the year, we faced very good pitching. From every team we faced, and almost a little poetic justice tonight given the struggles of Stephen Drew offensively, we could see his timing start to come around over in St. Louis, and for him to hit one out of the ballpark, a big night for him.
Q. Wacha had been difficult to handle for everybody in this postseason. You had three hits the first time against him. What was the difference tonight?
JOHN FARRELL: Probably just having some familiarity, as much as you can prepare through videos and scouting reports and talking to the scouts that have seen him, there's no replacing firsthand experience. Even though we had our struggles with him in Game 2, we were able to get some pitches on the plate tonight that we didn't miss, that might have been the case in the first game he pitched in Fenway.
A very good‑looking, young pitcher. Obviously an incredible postseason for him. Like I said, our will to win probably plays out in this one.
Q. Can you talk about John Lackey tonight?
JOHN FARRELL: His turnaround mirrors that of this organization. He's had such a good year for us, very consistent. The way he reshaped his body goes right into how well he pitched. He became more athletic, he became more accustomed to repeating his delivery, evident by the reduced number of walks. And I think it's almost fitting that he's on the mound to finish it out tonight. When you think of the ovation he got coming off the mound, I think people have seen the turnaround in him, they've seen the turnaround in us, and like I said, very fitting.
Q. Two questions: First of all, could you talk about your personal journey. This time last year you were still manager of the Blue Jays, and there would be no inclination that a year later you'd be where you are right now?
JOHN FARRELL: No, it's been an incredible 12, 13 months. And I'm forever thankful and grateful for the opportunity in Toronto. A unique set of circumstances took place to come back here to the Red Sox. And a lot of changes that, like I said, Ben Cherington deserves all the credit for bringing the players in here that he has. To see it culminate in this tonight, I can tell you this, last October, we probably didn't know we'd be sitting here, but every effort was made to do just that.
Q. Secondly, your bullpen, that was kind a work in process all season. And what you used in the World Series was certainly not what you started with. Can you talk about that process and how valuable the bullpen was at the end?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, I think when you look at guys that have played key roles in this postseason that started the year in Double‑A, Brandon Workman pitching the eighth inning tonight, or Koji Uehara being the fourth closer we had to turn to because of injury to Joel Hanrahan and Bailey. I don't know that you start the year or you end the year when you finish with the same roster. That rarely happens. But fortunately the depth of this roster played out time and time again. And that was no different than how we finished out October.
Q. "Boston Strong" has been a recurring theme since the end of April. It seems only fitting that the Red Sox deliver a championship. Can you speak about what that means to the city?
JOHN FARRELL: In a time of need, in response to a tragedy, you know, I go back to our players understanding their place in this city. They kind of, for lack of a better way to describe it, they get it. They get that there's, I think, a civil responsibility that we have wearing this uniform, particularly here in Boston. And it became a connection initially, the way our guys reached out to individuals or to hospital visits. And it continued to build throughout the course of the season. I think our fans, they got to a point where they appreciated the way we played the game, how they cared for one another. And in return they gave these guys an incredible amount of energy to thrive on in this ballpark.
I'm sure that everybody in our uniform, whether they are here going forward or elsewhere, they'll look back on the events that took place and the way things unfolded as a special year. There's no way we can say it any other way.
Q. A little bit about your feelings midseason when you didn't know whether you'd have David Ross anymore and the role that he played down the stretch?
JOHN FARRELL: Well, thankfully he overcame the two concussions he suffered. When we got him back, took him a while to get his timing back, but what he showed in the postseason is the very reason why we pursued him so hard in the offseason. A guy that gets the most out of his pitchers, he can run a game very well, postseason experience and they came up big. And in tandem with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the work they did throughout the course of the year. They work great together and handled a huge workload for us.
Q. That very pronounced shift against Beltran, when you put it on, like I said, very pronounced. Did it seem like a gutsy move to you?
JOHN FARRELL: No, it's something we've employed many, many times over. And that's the work of Brian Butterfield. He spends countless hours with video reviews, finding tendencies against certain types of pitchers that the opposing hitter is going to face. And our guys buy into it. They see the work that he puts in, they trust him. And he's made a huge impact with how much and how frequently we shift.
Q. The second question is, this is technically a worse‑to‑first team, but from day one in Spring Training did it feel like a last‑place team to you? That's where you were in the standings, but it did it feel like that any way?
JOHN FARRELL: No, not one bit. We felt there was a very good core group of players here, that finished last year with injuries. And a number of returning players that were driven and motivated to rewrite their own story. There was a tremendous feeling of embarrassment here a year ago, and guys came into Spring Training determined, and the players that came in to augment those returning came in as a very strong team.
Q. You talk about how the players get it and understood their civic responsibility, is that especially unique because of the fact that a lot of the guys became very involved just had gotten here? They'd only been in Boston a couple of weeks when all that happened.
JOHN FARRELL: Well, it speaks to the person inside the uniform. They embraced and they came here ‑‑ I will tell you, some of the conversations Ben had with free agents that signed here, he outlined it very clear to them that there's unique challenges here, and he tried to find the right personalities that would embrace all that. It just so happened we were dealing with a tragedy at the same time. Their want and willingness to connect with the fans in the city here. We were thrust into that, so it sped it all up very quickly.
I think as an organization we couldn't be any more proud with the way they responded.
Q. Can you just talk about David Ortiz, please.
JOHN FARRELL: Well, I'd probably rather let his bat do the talking, because it's pretty special. We're talking about a likely Hall of Fame player. He and Dustin from a position player standpoint, and Jacoby, not to leave anybody out, but they kind of carried the torch.
The new players that came in, they look up to them and their leadership, how they respond to the distractions or the requirements to play successfully here in this city. And I think they gave a lot of guys confidence just the way they carry themselves. Yes, they're successful players, but they remained focused, they push away those distractions, and I think our guys draw a lot of confidence from the way they go about their work.
Q. Just to circle back to Lackey for a second, he never wants to come out of the game when he sees you coming. But this time he seemed to talk you into giving him one more batter?
JOHN FARRELL: I can't tell you what he said on the mound, but I can tell you he was emphatic. And you know what, he felt like he had plenty of gas left in the tank. He's had a good success against Matt Holliday over the course of both of their careers. And at that point, you know, we had a five‑run lead. I got out of there. I got out of his way. Unfortunately it didn't work out, but Taz cleaned up.
But John Lackey never wants to come out of the game, and you love that about him.