Might the Red Sox make Brad Ausmus their next manager?

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The Red Sox have a few options as they embark on the hunt for a new manager for the second straight offseason.

– They can talk to the Blue Jays about a trade for John Farrell, their former pitching coach who left two years ago to manage in Toronto (I’m not a fan of this one).

– They can go take another look at several of the candidates they passed over in favor of Bobby Valentine last year. That list includes such names as Gene Lamont, Pete Mackanin, Sandy Alomar Jr., plus a couple of guys they chose not to interview in Dave Martinez and Ryne Sandberg.

– They can dip further into their past and interview former players Mike Lowell, Bill Mueller and Jason Varitek, if any of them want the job. Lowell’s name came up with the Marlins last month. Varitek, just hired as a special assistant, probably isn’t ready for the commitment of managing just yet.

– They can make a clean break from the past and try someone entirely new. Someone like Brad Ausmus.

Now, this is just my speculation, but Ausmus interviewed for the Astros managerial opening last month, only to remove himself from consideration afterwards. Could it be that the Red Sox let the native New Englander that they were going to have an opening? Ausmus has history with the Astros, but he was raised in Connecticut and he went to school at Dartmouth in New Hampshire. If he’s going to move his family from San Diego, Boston might be the more attractive option.

Ausmus was widely viewed as a future manager while playing. He’s respected by pretty much everybody everywhere. Given that he was primarily a National Leaguer during his 18-year career, it’s possible his preferences might run a little more towards small ball than the Red Sox would like, but I don’t really know that to be the case.

The Red Sox must start over after a year and a month of disastrous baseball. Bringing in a manager who has never been connected with the team might be a good start. If not Ausmus, then perhaps Martinez, the Rays’ bench coach, or Sandberg, whose new job with the Phillies won’t prevent him from auditioning elsewhere. It’s time to chart a new course rather than attempt to recapture the magic of 2007.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.