Red Sox ALDS Game 3: Alex Cora wins managerial battle over Aaron Boone

BOSTON, MA - MAY 29: Red Sox Manager Alex Cora in the dugout before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on May 29, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 29: Red Sox Manager Alex Cora in the dugout before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on May 29, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora got the better of New York Yankees skipper Aaron Boone in a pivotal victory in Game 3 of the ALDS.

The American League Division Series features a battle between rookie managers. So far, it’s Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora outwitting Aaron Boone on the postseason stage. This was highlighted in Game 3 when Boston pummeled their rivals in a decisive 16-1 victory.

Cora’s decision to bump Nathan Eovaldi up to Game 3 may have swung the series. The right-hander had a strong track record against the New York Yankees, tossing 16 innings without an earned run over three starts since joining the Red Sox. Eovaldi continued that success last night with seven innings of one-run ball to earn the win.

Maybe the Red Sox would have won anyway with Rick Porcello on the mound. Considering how many runs the lineup scored, David Price may have been good enough to win this game (just kidding, he wouldn’t make it through the five innings necessary to qualify). Cora wasn’t willing to risk it knowing how important this game was. Instead of feeling the crushing pressure of needing a win on the road to stave off elimination, the Red Sox have the opportunity to close out the series with the added insurance of a potential Game 5 being back in Boston. Eovaldi’s track record against the Yankees made him the best option to win and it worked.

Boone’s handling of Luis Severino will be questioned in New York for eternity if the Yankees lose this series. Starting their ace in Game 3 was the right decision. Leaving him in the game when he clearly didn’t have it going for him was a mistake.

Severino managed a quick first inning but all three outs getting hit hard to center field was a bad omen to begin the game. Boston scored a run in the second and two more in the third to take an early 3-0 lead, by which point you had to wonder how much patience Boone would have with his starter.

Apparently, too much.  Severino wasn’t given the hook until he loaded the bases with nobody out. A pair of singles and a walk finally convinced Boone to make a call to the bullpen.

The Yankees have an embarrassment of riches in the bullpen. In what proved to the most crucial moment of the game, Boone called on… Lance Lynn? That plan backfired when Lynn walked the first batter he faced to push in a run and Andrew Benintendi followed with a bases-clearing double.  Lynn would record only one out before he was lifted in favor of Chad Green and the Red Sox would end up breaking the game open with seven runs in the inning.

We also learned moments before the opening pitch that Severino was late warming up because he forgot what time the game started. That’s an unforgivable mistake that may explain why he wasn’t sharp in this outing. It’s a boneheaded lack of responsibility by the player but shouldn’t the manager take some heat for this as well? How does Boone not realize his starting pitcher isn’t ready on time?

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Cora made a few lineup changes following a Game 2 loss in which the Red Sox lineup became stagnant, favoring offense over defense.

Brock Holt replaced former Gold Glove winner Ian Kinsler at second base. Not only did Holt flash the leather with a few impressive plays in the field, but he also led the offensive onslaught by becoming the first player in major league history to hit for the cycle in a postseason game.

Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez each produced a pair of hits and an RBI in their first starts of the postseason. Steve Pearce was back at first base despite a right-hander taking the mound and he responded with a hit, a run scored and an RBI.

The Yankees stuck with the same lineup they used the previous game. No surprise, considering this lineup put up a respectable six runs in a Game 2 win. However, Boone didn’t bother to make any mid-game adjustments with his lineup struggling in Game 3. The only changes he made came late when the game was already out of hand. Was Aaron Hicks not deemed ready to play after exiting Game 1 with a hamstring injury? He looked ready when the TBS broadcast showed him on the field prior to the game and supposedly he was available if needed. Boone opted to stick with Brett Gardner, who went 0-for-3.

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Cora pulled all the right strings in Game 3 while Boone bumbled his way through a myriad of mistakes. The blowout final score will lead you to believe that Bostons’ bats carried them to victory but credit goes to a combination of factors that all start with Cora’s decisions.