Farrell looking for more length from starters

Red Sox skipper does not believe the club currently needs a long reliever

Farrell looking for more length from starters

ST. PETERSBURG -- Through the second and third turns through their pitching rotation, Boston starting pitchers completed six innings just twice in 10 games.

Not only are those results undesirable, but if they continue, they could become damaging to the health of the bullpen.

At least for now, manager John Farrell doesn't think the club needs to get reactionary by adding a long man.

"I can't say we're contemplating change, but when you're seeing the trend we are in, and the need for a couple multi-inning relievers, the work is going to be there for that," said Farrell. "If we get overtaxed, we've got the ability to adjust to get a fresher arm. But first and foremost, we've got to address particularly the sixth inning and being mindful and relentless in our mindset of recording an out and not thinking of getting through seven innings -- it's executing this pitch to record this out in this moment."

Farrell noted that if the Red Sox called someone like Steven Wright up to serve as a long man, that would take away from the club's organizational starting depth.

Pitching coach Juan Nieves thinks his starters can get deeper into games by making some fairly modest adjustments.

"I think, overall, our preparation is correct, our intentions are right," Nieves said. "I think coming up the third time around has almost been what has caught us a little bit. I think that because teams know we're such a strike-throwing team, it's almost like they get ultra-aggressive. We're not going to stop attacking the strike zone either."

So how can they combat the problems they've had in the sixth inning?

"We need to just make sure we continuously take the pedal to the metal," said Nieves. "Not only on the stuff, but on the command of it and our thought process. I think that's the bigger thing. I think when a pitcher throws a pitch, I want him to realize it's 100 percent conviction on that pitch."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.