"I think a year ago, when we were at full strength, we posed a threat even before the game was played in terms of [the perception] that this is a team that will look to run at any opportunity," Farrell said. "And it was a high success rate. Maybe it put the opposition, I don't want to say on edge, but they knew that was part of the game that had to be contended with."
There are a combination of reasons why that dynamic has been absent so far this year.
"As [Shane Victorino] was slow coming out, and Jacoby not here, maybe there wasn't the personnel to take advantage of situations as clear or as readily," Farrell said. "I will say there were probably a couple of times that we forced the issue and it didn't pay off. We're always trying to strive for not a number of stolen bases, but the success rate. That's our guide."
The Red Sox have tried several leadoff hitters this season but seem to have settled on Dustin Pedroia, who stole a career-high 26 bases in 2011 while adding 20 in '12 and 17 last year.
"Again, we can't make a basestealer out of somebody who isn't, even though Pedey has had some success in the past," Farrell said.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.