After finishing the 2022 season 78-84 and fifth in the American League East, a lot of Red Sox Nation turned their eyes to the man at the helm, Alex Cora.
With the championship-or-bust mentality that many Boston sports fans carry, when the team is struggling to simply play postseason-caliber baseball, people want somebody to blame and the skipper is often the first to point to.
The expectations for this 2023 Red Sox team were not high, as the team was predicted to finish right at, or about the same as last year. Nonetheless, the Red Sox are six games above .500 and find themselves only three games back of a postseason spot. So, the question becomes: Is Alex Cora not getting enough credit for where this team is at?
Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been dealt a tough hand
With the hand that he was dealt this season, Cora has done more than enough to keep this team in the conversation. Adam Duvall went down in early April after perhaps the hottest start to the season by any player in the entire league, which delivered a huge blow to the lineup. Chris Sale went to the IL, Tanner Houck went to the IL, Garrett Whitlock went to the IL, the Red Sox played the entire first half of the season without Trevor Story and a continuous carousel at shortstop, Corey Kluber was sent down for a phantom IL stint, they've had disciplinary issues with players like Alex Verdugo, and Chaim Bloom and the front office did nothing at the trade deadline to improve this roster or give Cora any more weapons.
After the Alex Verdugo disciplinary incident and getting swept in a crucial series by the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this month, whether or not Cora had lost the clubhouse, or even if it was time to move on from him were questions circulating social media. I would argue, it's the exact opposite.
Cora brought the Red Sox a World Series title in his inaugural season as manager which many considered the best season in team history, and after serving his 2020 suspension for sign-stealing brought the team back to the American League Championship Series in 2021. 2022 was a disappointing year, but Cora has shown that he is all in on this team and will do whatever he can to help the team win.
With all that has been thrown at this team in 2023 through the highs and the lows, there's something to be said about Cora and where this team is at with him calling the shots.