The situation presented itself perfectly and went exactly the opposite of how the Red Sox wanted in this 5-4 loss to the Mariners.
Cano's towering three-run shot with one out in the eighth came off a 1-2 slider from Abad and put Seattle on top for the first time all night. It capped a wild, five-run inning that started with David Price in possession of a three-hit shutout.
It was hard to fault Farrell's strategy. Cano came in 1-for-11 against Abad.
"Abad has had such good success against Cano, and is working through the at-bat in good shape," said Farrell. "He gets him to chase a couple breaking balls. He missed with one over the middle of the plate, and that's the difference in this one, unfortunately."
If anything, Abad sounded like he might want to change his pattern against Cano next time.
"It was down, [but] middle," said Abad. "I think he was looking for that pitch. I kept pitching the same way I pitched him before. Down, middle, and he was looking for that, he put a good swing on it."
Giving up a game-breaking homer on his fifth pitch with his new team is hardly the way Abad would have drawn up his day. But he's been around long enough to know the next opportunity could come as soon as Wednesday. And it might even be against Cano again.
"It's tough but I have to look forward and get them next time," Abad said.
David Ortiz patted Abad on the shoulder after the game and gave him some words of encouragement.
"Absolutely, that's tough," said Price. "Cano is one of the best hitters in all of baseball, it doesn't matter if [the pitcher] is a right-handed pitcher or a left-handed, he's done what he's done over the course of his career and he's really good. It's an extremely tough out to get and Robinson won today."
The loss was a tough one for the Red Sox, considering how well things started for Price.
After firing eight shutout innings in his last start against the Angels, Price looked on in the ninth as his team took a walkoff loss.
This time, Price started the eighth by giving up four straight hits, but still had a 4-2 lead when he came out.
"That's baseball," said Price. "That's the way it goes sometimes. Just have to move on."