The Boston Red Sox were working their way back against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night when Alex Cora made a move that left the fans asking questions.
The Red Sox showed some serious fight on Monday night and don’t look to be going down without a fight this season. As much as we should all be talking about the late game heroics and the walk-off single from Marco Hernandez, it was an odd managerial decision that has fans talking today.
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During the 8th inning, Colten Brewer was working through the White Sox lineup and had them with 2-outs as well as having current batter Jon Jay on the ropes with a 3-2 count. The inning seemed to be going well for Brewer and then things got weird. Alex Cora made his way to the mound and decided that Brewer’s night was finished and he made the move to Josh Taylor.
"“It was a tough one, trying to tell (Brewer), just hang in here with your crazy manager,” Cora said. “Then Taylor came in and I said, ‘Just relax, brother.’ This is just a kill pitch. If you strike him out, you strike him out. If you walk him, you walk him.”"
Making a pitching change is just everyday business in the world of baseball. The odd part of the situation was that Brewer was in the middle of a count. He was just beginning his battle with Jay or even just concluding it. He was right in the middle! When I saw the change I instantly thought Brewer may have some sort of injury and began scouring the internet for news. Nothing would be reported and as we found out after the game it was just a part of the plan for Alex Cora.
"“I don’t want Jon Jay to put the ball in play against a righty there,” Cora said. “I know he can go out of the zone and flick it to left field. If McCann would have hit a double, it was going to Taylor against Jay. I was like no, you know what, it’s lefty against Jay and we’ll take our chances. Taylor is throwing the ball great and it’s a matchup that’s actually better for us, so we went with it.”"
As Brewer made his way off the mound he didn’t have the look of someone in pain or even angry at the odd-timed curtain call. He had a look of understanding and trust in his manager. Taylor would come into the game and walk Jay, which again wasn’t anything that Cora was worried about. Taylor would face Joan Moncada next and he’d just ice the batter with some heat to end the inning.
Some may feel that Cora’s methodology can be a little wacky but that wackiness was a key factor in the Red Sox raising another World Series banner for last season. Cora tries to look at the game through a colored lens as opposed to the typical black & white rigidity we often see in baseball. He has no problem swapping positional players or tossing in pinch runners/hitters.
"“If we want to bring in a guy for a guy in scoring position and that guy’s at first and there’s a wild pitch or something like that, why not?” Cora said. “If we don’t like the matchup with men in scoring position, why hang with that because the at-bat is going on? It worked out.”"
Personally, that’s the type of manager I want in the dugout. Why just settle for a game situation? You have full control of who you put where and when you make the changes. If it gives the Red Sox a better chance at a win then keep ’em coming, Alex!
The team isn’t performing to their potential so the manager is trying to shake things up and get a fire going within the squad. Last night’s win also brings Boston to a .500 record at Fenway Park this season. Disappointing on the surface but something that can be turned around by utilizing the advantages that Fenway offers.
With the London series against the Yankees just days away the Red Sox can’t afford to lose any ground in either the AL East standings or the Wild Card. Picking up wins on teams that are below them in the standings is a good start to moving the needle. Continue to pick up the wins and then go into the big matchups fired up and ready to go. After last night’s win, I’m ready for the Red Sox to make a splash across the pond.