The Boston Red Sox are entering the final weeks of the season and they’re going to need some of that Alex Cora “magic” to make it to October.
This is it Red Sox Nation, we’re in the final stretch and every single night may as well be a playoff game. Boston is just a handful of games out of the Wild Card as the calendar flips to September and the schedule gets beyond difficult. Fenway Park will see both the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees come to town for a seven-game homestand. This week very well could make or break the 2019 campaign.
It’s been hard to get a real feel for this Red Sox team over the course of this season. There have been moments where things felt like they were falling back into place and the world was right again. Then we’ve also seen stretches where it felt like we were on the Titanic and the iceberg was coming in hot. The next four weeks are going to show us the true heart and will of this Boston team.
The Sox are in full survival mode, they’re going out and doing whatever they can to keep the boat from filling with water. I know that sounds ridiculous, of course, they’re going out to win, but at this stage in the year, any and every game could be the one the ends the charge to October. We all know the story of 2019 and the trials and tribulations of this Boston squad.
Their offense has been going off the charts and has eclipsed the celebrated World Series champion offense of a year ago. Our pitching staff has been a major letdown except for a lights-out year from Eduardo Rodriguez and the relief efforts of Brandon Workman, Marcus Walden, and Josh Taylor. But one thing has been missing from this team compared to the lineup that won 119 games from Opening Day to the end of the Series, the “Cora Magic”
Last season it felt like Alex Cora could do no wrong. Hell, it was his first season as a manager and he set a franchise record for wins. He had his players behind him every step of the way and his message rang loud and clear throughout Boston. Cora was out there playing chess while every other manager was playing checkers.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox for much of the 2019 season, it has felt like everyone else learned how to play chess and Cora switched to “Candyland.” For a lot of this year, it just hasn’t felt like the magic was there for Boston. There have been so many head-scratching decisions that I’ve lost count of them all.
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Most recently we’ve had things like having Chris Owings pinch-hit instead of Brock Holt with the game on the line. We’ve seen Jackie Bradley Jr. stuck on the bench with games being tight late and the outfield defense leaving much to be desired. To me, the big difference between the two seasons is the thought process going into the decision making.
In 2018, Cora definitely used the numbers and analytics but it felt like he trusted his gut much more. This year though, it’s as if he’s relying far too much on the matchups and what the number crunchers say. But the Red Sox are out of time and if they want October to be a thing once again then they need to find that “Cora Magic,” once more.
Boston is on a tear lately as they went 6-2 on their latest road trip and have themselves within striking distance. They’re still counting on a lot of help from other squads to knock down those ahead of them in the standings but they still have a shot. Alex Cora has proven to not only be incredibly skilled on the diamond but also in the dugout and I have faith that we’ll see that once again in these final weeks.
If the Sox can once again catch that lightning in a bottle and find that “Cora Magic,” then Boston will find themselves in the postseason. There’s plenty of history that they can look to give them confidence in the ability to pull off the comeback, and it’s time to execute. Alex Cora is a damn good manager and this team hasn’t given up by any means. It’s time for the Red Sox to remind the baseball world just how good they not only can be but how good they actually are.