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Sports

October 31, 2013

Farrell's steady hand leads Sox to World Series

BOSTON — John Farrell failed in his last managerial job. The Boston Red Sox had their worst record in nearly a half century.

After a dismal 2012 season for both, they’re together now and that past seems so far away.

It’s a match made for the World Series.

“I try to live out what our team has lived out this year and, that is, not to look back,” Farrell said.

Why would he want to?

The Toronto Blue Jays were 73-89 last season, their second under Farrell, and actually trailed Boston in the standings with 10 games left. Then the Red Sox finally won something — the race to the bottom of the AL East. They lost nine of their last 10 games, dropping to 69-93 and insuring that Bobby Valentine’s tumultuous term as manager would end after one season.

Enter Farrell.

He had one year left on his contract with the Blue Jays so the Red Sox had to trade to get their old pitching coach back to run the show as manager.

His impact was immediate in spring training, the transition smoothed by his familiarity with many of his players.

“He came in there with a presence,” pitching ace Jon Lester said. “Came in there with his idea of how he wanted to run this team and stood up there in front of us and told us how he wanted it done.

“And I think the 40 guys or whatever that was in that room kind of looked around and it was like, ‘OK, let’s go do it.’”

So they did, with a consistency and clubhouse cohesion missing from Valentine’s Way.

The Red Sox spent an AL-best 158 days in first place, were one of two major-league teams above .500 all year and had no losing streak longer than three games for just the second time in their 113 seasons.

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