Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s gamesmanship is giving Boston an edge
By Rick McNair
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora continues to make the right moves. Cora’s familiarity with New York and Houston certainly helped. Will it help with the Dodgers?
The World Series can often be determined by a player who simply takes control and becomes the catalyst for victory. Just think David Ortiz in 2013 when Papi went on a path of destruction similar to a Category Five hurricane. Then there is the possibility of a manager having a hot hand and so far that is the Boston Red Sox with Alex Cora.
Cora was familiar with both the Yankees and the Astros since New York you play 19 times and Cora was the Astros bench coach in 2017 as they marched to a World Series title. Familiarity has a way of understanding the nuances of your opponent and Cora had two books on the Astros- the volumes of metrics and his own internal observations.
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The familiarity aspect will now continue for Cora since the Astros played the Dodgers the full seven games before securing the title in 2017. Is that a plus? From my perspective, it gives Cora and the Red Sox and edge, but Cora also is on a strategist’s roll.
Cora has made the right moves and even the questionable moves in the playoffs and seems to walk away unscathed. Just bringing out Craig Kimbrel after repeated new misses with Nathan Eovaldi ready to continue taking an amount of brass you know what courage. This is fast becoming in Alex we trust.
During the season and into the playoffs, the soft-spoken Cora has continually placed players in situations favorable to their abilities. Cora is not above the unusual and this we may soon see. Even now there is a discussion about putting Mookie Betts at second base to have J.D. Martinez‘s bat available in Los Angeles. Against the grain? Most certainly and ripe for risk or ripe for brilliance.
Just what impact does a manager have in baseball? In playoff baseball, just one move can alter a series as can just one play such as Andrew Benintendi‘s all or nothing catch in the critical fourth game against Houston. Cora has made the right moves at the right time and – of course – the credit also goes to the players for their response when placed in the crosshairs.
Is it luck or skill with Cora? Quite possibly a bit of both, but Cora has also mentioned that time-honored practice of all managers and that is playing a hunch. Sometimes just a little voice saying put away the metrics dossier and take a risk.
whatever Cora is doing it has worked all season and players – a notoriously petulant lot – have bought into Cora’s managerial style. Cora exudes confidence in his own ability and certainly that of his players and so far he has been the Boris Spassky of managers this season.