Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When Farrell Ball Actually Works: Part Two


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Image courtesy of Daylife via  Getty Images
"When Farrell Ball doesn't work, it can be painful to watch.
But when Farrell Ball does work ... it's a thing of beauty."
The aforementioned quote was from a post the day after the Blue Jays used small ball (AKA "Farrell Ball") to defeat the Cincinnati Reds. After watching John Farrell employ his strategy for weeks, it finally paid off.

Last night was a similar instance in which Farrell Ball was very prevalent, and it was apparent very early that it was either going to be the Blue Jays downfall or their saving grace.

When all was said and done, praises were sung in John Farrell's direction, but they just as easily could have been curses instead. In total, the Blue Jays swiped four bases yet they were also caught twice late in the game as well.

While I respect John Farrell's fortitude to push the envelope late in the game, it's equally frustrating to watch Aaron Hill and Corey Patterson run into outs during a tied game.

Here's why I'm torn on Farrell Ball; it's almost the exact opposite of the strategy employed by Cito Gaston ("CitoCity"). Rather than force the action, Gaston would rather his team sit back and score runs the good old-fashioned way.

There is such a thing as being too passive, and on the same token a manager can be way too aggressive as well. While Farrell Ball makes for a more exciting game to watch overall, I think it induces many more "tear your hair out" moments.

On the flip side, I recall several instances from the Cito Gaston regime where he refused to call for one of his players to lay down a bunt or swipe a bag to help put the Blue Jays ahead. That's what makes it so difficult to determine which is the lesser of two evils.

With that being said, Farrell Ball worked once again and it helped the Blue Jays cruise to a victory. As fun as it is second-guessing the manager, there's a reason why John Farrell is behind the bench.

Armchair managers such as myself may not necessarily agree with every single decision John Farrell makes, but I'm willing to bite my tongue so long as Farrell Ball works more often than it doesn't.

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