Manager Alex Cora was the first Hispanic manager to be hired by the Red Sox and eventually will be the first to be fired. John Farrell won a flag and then wore out his welcome and was replaced by Cora. Cora’s style, patience, ability to motivate, and tutelage of your players become well noted in 2018. Did that vanish?
Cora had the horses in 2018 and many of those same horses decided to get as close to becoming dog food as possible in 2019. A manager has to work with what he has and Cora had a remarkable offensive juggernaut that – unfortunately – was compromised by a pitching staff that had a mixed bag of failures.
Need a suspension? Cora had that. Needed an arm or two or three to suddenly have a career-worst year that would be on the staff of the 1899 Cleveland Spiders who went 20-134. Need a closer? Cora had that only just who was something Hercule Poirot could not solve – seven pitchers and counting had saves.
Cora received the standard critique regarding days off. Terry Francona suffered the same when invariably Tim Wakefield took the bump with a lineup of nine Jeff Bailey’s. This is all balderdash since respite is built-in well in advance and standard operation among managers. That – quite naturally – just scratches the surface of blame the manager.
I could build a list of bonehead moves Cora made during the season and usually, Cora himself provides the rationale that he will readily put into the “What was I thinking?” category. Managers make judgment errors and strategy errors all season, but in the case of Cora, it seemed he fell more under the guise of a player going into the tank in a situation. Cora is well versed in putting a player in a comfortable position to succeed, but he can’t throw the ball, catch it, or hit it.
Cora will stay as he should. He was given a knife during the season to take to a gunfight with the Yankees, Tampa Bay, and just about any other team making a serious run at respectability. And respectability rhymes with culpability and Cora gets 1.5.