Alex Cora has a unique way of criticizing Red Sox offensive struggles
Before Alex Cora managed the Boston Red Sox, he spent 14 years playing around the league, including four seasons at Fenway from 2005-08.
Aside from a 2007 World Series ring with the Sox, the former utility infielder’s career was largely unremarkable. One of the biggest things that happened to him was that Dustin Pedroia came up and took his job at second base.
Cheating scandal aside, it’s easy to make the argument that Cora’s a better manager than a player, and he’ll tell you so himself. In some of last week’s postgame coverage, he used his own poor hitting numbers to emphasize his team’s struggles:
"“They make pitches but at the same time, you can’t expand. It’s not easy. I hit .230 in the big leagues. I was a horrible hitter. But I think we’re better than that.You got to take your walks, too, in those situations. They’re not going to give in. There’s certain situations, like (George) Springer walked three times today and he had men in scoring position and just pass the baton. That’s the difference right now between us and other teams.Like I said yesterday, we talk about defense and pitching, but offensively it’s been going on for a while. We haven’t been good for a while. We’re supposed to hit. It hasn’t happened.”"
Cora actually sold himself short a little bit; over 1,273 career games, he hit .243. But that’s beside the point unless the Sox want to go old-school and have a player-manager.
Sadly, the comparison is somewhat fair. Cora wasn’t great with runners on, hitting .251/.328/.337 in his career. This season, the Sox are hitting .270/.331/.427 with men on, and .260/.324/.414 with runners in scoring position. Take a slugger like Rafael Devers out of the equation, and it’s essentially a lineup of Coras.
While the Sox are decimated with pitching injuries, they have a mostly healthy lineup, just zero clutch factor. In Thursday night’s loss, Reese McGuire hit his second career triple to lead off the eighth inning and then stood on third for the remainder of the inning, because the Sox couldn’t plate the go-ahead run. The Sox took two of three from the Rays over the weekend, and then dropped Sunday’s series finale; despite collecting 13 hits, they only plated four runs. The Rays scored 12 times on 17 hits.
At a certain point, ‘We’re supposed to hit,’ and ‘We have to play better’ lose all meaning.