Farrell calling for bunt more than expected

Farrell calling for bunt more than expected

SEATTLE -- The Red Sox aren't a team you usually associate with "small ball", but during a stretch in which the offense has struggled, manager John Farrell has been more liberal with asking his players to bunt.

Xander Bogaerts helped set up the go-ahead run with a sacrifice bunt on Thursday night. In that same game, Blake Swihart got down a bunt with two strikes. Sandy Leon was successful with his sacrifice attempt on Friday.

"We've placed a greater emphasis on it in Spring Training," said Farrell. "Maybe guys that haven't done it in their Minor League career, guys that dominate the Minor Leagues [but are] going to come up and hit in the bottom third of our order ... you want to allow them to grow as Major League players, but to contribute to a rally by putting down a sacrifice bunt, there's a lot of benefit that goes to the individual."

Farrell admits that he's bunting probably more than he expected to at this point of the season, but he will continue to read the situations and evaluate what is best for his team. Last season, the Red Sox had 20 sacrifice hits. Through 36 games entering play Saturday, they had 10, a pace that, if maintained, would see them finish at 45 by the end of the season.

"You go back to the game situation," said Farrell. "Did we anticipate an offense that would be more consistent than what we've shown? Yes, and we'll realize that in time. But where we are and what the game is suggesting and presenting to us, we've got to be equipped to handle that, and we've asked guys in those spots to lay a bunt down."

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.