Though the Boston Red Sox were handed an early playoff exit by the Houston Astros, many a Sox fan’s fondest wish came true Wednesday morning. Despite winning the American League East title for the second year in a row, manager John Farrell was fired by team president Dave Dombrowski. The decision was actually made on Tuesday after a meeting with the baseball ops staff, but Dombrowski spoke with the team’s ownership goup before calling Farrell to inform him. The process of finding a new manager has already begun.

Red Sox Fire John Farrell

Though his decisions often irked fans, to the point that they called for his head loudly and often over the past few seasons, Farrell enjoyed a great deal of success during his tenure as manager. He took over the helm of the Red Sox in 2013 after Bobby Valentine‘s disastrous 2012 season. In his first year, propelled by the emotion of the Boston Marathon bombing and the indomitable will of David Ortiz, Farrell led Boston to an AL East crown and its third World Series title this century.

However, Farrell’s Red Sox finished at the bottom of the division in both 2014 and 2015, and the inevitable calls for a change in leadership began. He led his team back to the top of the division in 2016, but a sweep in the first round of the playoffs all but erased the good will that earned him. In fact, it seemed support for his ouster only increased.

Fans would often cite Farrell’s bullpen management and linuep configurations when arguing in favor of removing him. In 2017, Farrell won 93 games and an AL East title for the second year in a row, but those same complaints remained. Though he enjoyed a relatively high amount of success (Farrell is the only manager in team history to win three division titles), every few games it seemed he would make a decision that would cost them a win and leave fans dumbfounded. Those moments lost him the support of the crowd. In Boston, that usually signals the beginning of the end.

While the Red Sox did avoid being swept out of the playoffs this year, they never really looked like a match for the Astros. That isn’t necessarily Farrell’s fault; his starting pitchers under-performed and his lineup, devoid of power all season, just couldn’t keep pace with Houston’s. Yet, when any team fails, the manager is always first to bear the blame. The denizens of Fenway consider anything less than a title to be failure. When the Red Sox left the playoffs early for the second year in a row, it felt as though this decision was a foregone conclusion. Today, that was proven true.

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