Red Sox Manager Alex Cora not ready to name Game 1 starter for ALDS

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 05: Alex Cora
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 05: Alex Cora /

Dave Dombrowski declared Chris Sale the Game 1 starter for the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. Alex Cora, however, won’t name a starter yet.

The Boston Red Sox have three games against the New York Yankees to finish the regular season. They begin the postseason a week from Friday against either the Yankees or the Oakland Athletics. The Red Sox have the best record in baseball and have secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

It’s assumed that Chris Sale was going to get the start in Game 1 of the ALDS, which is why they’ve been cautious with him for the past month. He made his last start of the regular season Wednesday night.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski went on MLB Network Radio on Tuesday to announce Sale as the Game 1 starter. Then at a press conference before the start of the doubleheader against the Orioles on Wednesday, manager Alex Cora said something different.

Dombrowski said that it will not surprise anyone that Sale will start on Game 1 of the ALDS next Friday. You can listen to the audio via the MLB Network Twitter account. 

In my opinion, Dombrowski going on a radio show and declaring the starter when the season isn’t over yet is wrong. Sale still hadn’t pitched his last game yet of the regular season and Dombrowski is already announcing a plan as to how to get him ready for Game 1 of the ALDS on October 5. That also gives the teams they could be playing a strategy as to what they should do if they face Sale next Friday. After listening to that, all the Yankees or Athletics have to do is work the count to get the pitch count up and get Sale out of the game early enough to get to the Red Sox bullpen.

Cora contradicted his boss’ comments when he spoke on Wednesday, according to 98.5 The Sports Hub.  At the beginning of the audio, Zolak and Bertrand play a portion of Cora’s press conference where he says he’s not ready to name a Game 1 starter.

"“Nah not yet, we still have to wait to see how people finish the season,” said Cora."

That was the correct response from Cora, making him more likable by the day. You would never hear that response from John Farrell. Sale was still pitching that night and the season isn’t over yet. Why give the Yankees or the Athletics leverage by naming your starter nine days before the playoffs start? It doesn’t make any sense.

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You would think Dombrowski and Cora would be on the same page with Sale as they were being cautious with him for the past month. It’s not known if Cora was asked if he heard Dombrowski announce the game one starter on Tuesday. He just quickly said he wasn’t ready to name a starter yet when there’s still regular season games to play this weekend. Overall, a wise move once again by Cora.