Farrell defends position on running game

Farrell defends position on running game

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said this the other day when talking about his increased emphasis on controlling the running game this season.

"I hear -- and this might be real wrong -- I hear there were a couple of pitching coaches here who said it didn't matter," Valentine said. "If you can keep [the runner] on first and get a double play, a lot of times, that means [another] inning [that a pitcher can stay in the game]."

One of those recent pitching coaches -- John Farrell -- Valentine might have been speaking of was at JetBlue Park Tuesday night managing against the Red Sox.

How much attention did Farrell pay to the running game during his time in Boston?

"A tremendous amount," said Farrell, who served as Boston's pitching coach from 2007-10. "If you look over the last four or five years, the running game has become much more prevalent with some approaches by a given team. Yet, at the same time, you want to be sure that -- if you spend a lot of time focusing on the guy at first, the next thing you know, they're all jogging around the bases. The pitch execution was the priority.

"That's not to distance the need to control the running game. Guys evolve in that area at a different rate and at a different pace. First and foremost, that they're executing a game plan is the priority."