Alex Cora-- what do we have here? Perhaps the best manager in baseball.

joe dokes

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He's managing completely differently than he did in the regular season (and obviously you'd expect that). What puzzles me is that he pretty much did nothing for 3 months before the playoffs began.

I fully understand you can't run your players into the ground as if every game of the 162 was game 7. But there should be some place on that spectrum where he can be more aggressive in chasing wins.
I agree with the last sentence completely. There *should* be some place. But, for the most part we (the collective "we") can really only the spot the times we *dont* think he did so. OTOH--the times he "chased wins" (for lack of a better term) look much more like "normal games" than the games where he focused on the bigger picture, so they dont get similarly assigned. IOW- "lack of chasing" is more readily obvious than "chasing."

Pete Abe hits this very subject in today's Glob. I think the fact that they just scraped in supports your "should chase more" point. But as this story suggests (vaguely, anyway) there were some times when they deviated from the "longer view" and *did* chase.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/10/11/sports/thanks-conservative-approach-regular-season-red-sox-pitchers-now-can-throw-more-when-it-counts/

TBH--While I have no serious issues with Cora's regular season job, I think this story smells a bit too much of post-hoc-ism.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Yeah, I think it's totally fair to describe Cora as a very good postseason manager but someone who struggles with the best way to balance rest/load management/injuries/etc. vs. win maximization in the regular season. And of course, if you don't get into the postseason then being a good postseason manager is entirely irrelevant. This year, I'd say the Sox got into the postseason despite Cora, not because of him, although he did get more aggressive in the final Washington series and that is to his credit (of course, he had no choice by that point).

I don't think it's something that warrants firing him, particularly given that the players more or less universally love him, but something hopefully he can work on over the coming years.
 

Archer1979

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He's managing completely differently than he did in the regular season (and obviously you'd expect that). What puzzles me is that he pretty much did nothing for 3 months before the playoffs began.

I fully understand you can't run your players into the ground as if every game of the 162 was game 7. But there should be some place on that spectrum where he can be more aggressive in chasing wins.
He manages the playoff pitching like he's weaving a tapestry. Can't really do that in the regular season but it's a thing to enjoy in October. In hindsight, this could not have been an easy task to manage that pitching staff from April to September. Garrett Richards and Matt Barnes were entirely different pre-Spider Tack crackdown than what they are now. He's getting production from other pitchers (Josh Taylor) that I wouldn't have expected. Obviously, Tanner Houck has been huge, as has been Garrett Whitlock. A good chunk of the latter part of the season was spent trying to 1) Figure out what he had and 2) Developing the younger members of the staff (which with it has ups and downs). He's got a decent enough bullpen to keep them in the game as long as the starters can give them decent innings.

That and the COVID thing in August/September reminded me a lot of 2006 when everyone seemed to go down at once and took the Sox out of the race. They certainly bent as they dropped out of first right after the trade deadline(actually had the best record in MLB at one point) but didn't give in even when they reached the point of being third in the WC chase.
 

joe dokes

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Yeah, I think it's totally fair to describe Cora as a very good postseason manager but someone who struggles with the best way to balance rest/load management/injuries/etc. vs. win maximization in the regular season. And of course, if you don't get into the postseason then being a good postseason manager is entirely irrelevant. This year, I'd say the Sox got into the postseason despite Cora, not because of him, although he did get more aggressive in the final Washington series and that is to his credit (of course, he had no choice by that point).

I don't think it's something that warrants firing him, particularly given that the players more or less universally love him, but something hopefully he can work on over the coming years.
While I disagree with the first paragraph, it's only because I can't (either because no one can or because I dont watch enough other games) figure out how his "struggles" compare with the competition's w/r/t the same issues. Obviously juggling this stuff, like hitting, is hard for everyone. But the only reason we *know* player x sucks is because hitting 150/175/240 is worse than anyone. Do we know/can we figure out if Cash's/TBs post-Glasnow regular-season approach frog-boiled their pitching staff to where they ended up short?
 
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Spud

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I agree with the last sentence completely. There *should* be some place. But, for the most part we (the collective "we") can really only the spot the times we *dont* think he did so. OTOH--the times he "chased wins" (for lack of a better term) look much more like "normal games" than the games where he focused on the bigger picture, so they dont get similarly assigned. IOW- "lack of chasing" is more readily obvious than "chasing."

Pete Abe hits this very subject in today's Glob. I think the fact that they just scraped in supports your "should chase more" point. But as this story suggests (vaguely, anyway) there were some times when they deviated from the "longer view" and *did* chase.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/10/11/sports/thanks-conservative-approach-regular-season-red-sox-pitchers-now-can-throw-more-when-it-counts/

TBH--While I have no serious issues with Cora's regular season job, I think this story smells a bit too much of post-hoc-ism.
Could it be that the only important regular season win for Cora is the one that gets them into the playoffs? It is well documented that his entire game strategy changes once the post season starts. And between 2018 and this year, that strategy has worked pretty well.

So while we, as fans, might prefer that the one game that gets them to the post season come before or well before game #162, Cora's philosophy may be that the first 150 or so games are there so he can figure out who can do what and who he can trust to come through in the post season. I'm seeing Ottavino as a good example of this. Cora relied on him consistently during the regular season, but he has been pretty much relegated to "bump on a log" status so far in the post season. The same might be said for Perez. And it's probably much easier for Cora to explain to Ottavino or Perez why they're sitting during the post season than it would be during the regular season. There's much more involved in his job than just pushing for wins.
 

The Gray Eagle

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From the linked Glob article, Cora and Bush worked closely with the medical staff to inform their decisions over the course of the season. The medical staff must be idiots too.

Nick Pivetta threw... 140 pitches over four days, something that would have been commonplace for a pitcher 40 years ago but is unusual now. Pivetta said it was something he had never done before.
For the Red Sox, it’s by design. Manager Alex Cora and pitching coach Dave Bush worked closely with the medical staff on how best to control the workload of their pitchers during the regular season so they could be turned loose come the playoffs.
Idiot Cora claims that his idiotic decisions are based on "information" and "thinking ahead" instead of being based on what we say in the game threads.

“It’s not that we just make stuff up. There’s a lot of information that goes into it and obviously thinking ahead that we will play meaningful games in August, September, and October.”
Bush sounds like he thinks the same way Cora does. Probably another idiot who doesn't understand that they should have won more games in the regular season.
Bush said it can be difficult to balance the desire to go all out to win a game during the regular season against what’s best over the long term. There are certain games or series when short-term priorities come to the forefront.
“We pick our spots,” he said. “Some days it’s, ‘We need this win.’ Other times we’re more cautious. It’s a fine line because we made the playoffs by one game.”
This team only won about 8 more games in the regular season than everyone expected. If moron Cora and his staff had pushed the pitchers harder, we might have finished 4 or even 5 games closer to Tampa.
Cora and the coaches are not tough enough to stand up to the players, and just let them do whatever they want instead of laying down the law and calling them out publicly.
Because players are judged — and paid — by their statistics, there are often complaints when a pitcher is cut short on days he had more to give.
“It happens a lot,” Bush said. “They get it, but they don’t always like it. We’re up front about it. Sometimes you’re not going to go deeper.
“We explain what we’re trying to do. We’re honest with them and what the rationale is behind it.”
One thing is for sure, if this team doesn't win the World Series it will be all Cora's fault.
 

Max Power

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In the Verdugo interview video linked here...

Red Sox win ALDS 2021 (mlb.com)

there's a clip of Alexes Cora and Verdugo talking as the celebration went on. Verdugo said Cora was discussing getting thrown out at third with him. So Cora does talk to the guys making boneheaded mistakes, but sometimes there isn't anything you can do do debone some heads.
 

joe dokes

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In the Verdugo interview video linked here...

Red Sox win ALDS 2021 (mlb.com)

there's a clip of Alexes Cora and Verdugo talking as the celebration went on. Verdugo said Cora was discussing getting thrown out at third with him. So Cora does talk to the guys making boneheaded mistakes, but sometimes there isn't anything you can do do debone some heads.
I *think* that Verdugo initiated the conversation. The TV heads speculated that Verdugo was expressing regret and Cora was telling him he loves him anyway.
 

lexrageorge

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I'd say the Verdugo out was 90% due to a great throw by the outfield, 5% due to Verdugo deciding to take the base, and 5% due to his hand leaving the base as a result of the slide (or at least no conclusive video evidence to overturn). Sometimes an OK decision leads to a bad result.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I'd say the Verdugo out was 90% due to a great throw by the outfield, 5% due to Verdugo deciding to take the base, and 5% due to his hand leaving the base as a result of the slide (or at least no conclusive video evidence to overturn). Sometimes an OK decision leads to a bad result.
Yeah. I thought he should have gone on JD's flyout. I had no problem with Verdugo going there, even if he ended up being the third out. It took a near perfect throw, a really good catch and tag, and at least the illusion of coming off the bag (I don't think he did). 98 out of 100, he makes it.

I think part of the aforementioned conversation Verdugo and Cora had involved Verdugo insisting he was safe.
 

HangingW/ScottCooper

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Going into the post season I felt Kevin Cash was the only manager that could rival Cora. Cora proved that he was a substantially better manager in that series. Cash cost his team two runs last night alone by not having someone ready immediately when McClanahan imploded.
 

BaseballJones

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I agree with Cora, but what kills me is that Correa is the one that "taunted" the Sox with his gesture first. ERod was just reciprocating. And so the guy mocking the guy who did the original mocking is the bad guy?

"Hey it was super disrespectful that you imitated my act of disrespect towards you!"

(Correa didn't say that, but this is the attitude of some people who thought ERod was wrong.)
 

jezza1918

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I mean I get it, but, Eddie's had a pretty tough year-and-a-half, he's earned a little dick-swinging. Let the man swag it out a bit. I kind of doubt the Astros woes are simply due to lack of motivation.
I think this might be a case where both actions are justified. Personally, I'm 100% on board with E-Rod letting it loose the way he did, and I'm 100% on board with Cora chastising him for it. And, as @Smiling Joe Hesketh just said, given Correa's response it's a nothingburger (despite ESPN trying their hardest to make it a big mac, as it's the 2nd headline and 1st story that mentions the game on the homepage)
 

Manuel Aristides

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I think this might be a case where both actions are justified.
I think that's probably right. Cora gotta play his part. Doubt he'd have said anything if it was the clincher. And I do love the passion from Cora in the clip of him SNAPPING at Eddie. I just feel for Rodriguez who is probably on his way out of town (just a gut feeling) after a very up-and-down career here.
 

CreightonGubanich

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I love the showmanship. I loved Correa's celebration, I loved Schwarber admiring his homer, and I loved ERod taunting Correa. I pretty much hate all unwritten rules, however.
I agree completely, and I also have no problem with Cora disapproving. Although, I kind of hope it's more of a Belichickian, "we haven't won anything yet, it's not time to celebrate" effort to keep his team focused, rather than a "play the game the right way" move, but whatever.
 

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drbretto

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I'm fine with all of it. Love Correa's response, too.

I think Cora's reaction helped make sure it remains a nothingburger, though. I don't have any problems with dick-swinging or showboating (I think there should be a little more of it, honestly). I just don't want to give the other team something to rally behind when they've been sleepwalking the whole series. Looks like that won't be an issue.
 

BaseballJones

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Correa/Bogaerts comparison

Correa
- Career: .277/.356/.81/.837, 127 ops+, 7.3 bWAR per 162 games
- Best season (2021): .279/.366/.485/.850, 131 ops+, 7.2 bWAR

Bogaerts
- Career: .290/.353/.459/.812, 115 ops+, 4.2 bWAR per 162 games
- Best season (2019): .309/.384/.555/.939, 139 ops+, 6.3 bWAR

The real difference between the two is fielding. Correa is a much better fielder than Bogaerts is. Correa averages 2.5 defensive WAR per 162 games, while Bogaerts averages 0.1 defensive WAR per 162 games.

As much as I love Bogaerts (and I do), Correa is simply better. He's also 2 years younger than Bogaerts. But man is he going to cost some MONEY this offseason.
 

JCizzle

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Lotta respect for that. When he did his move, he instantly went to villain status for me. With this, I'm doing a 180. If you're gonna talk smack you gotta be able to take it, and Correa can. And I agree with him, baseball needs more color.
Well said, I totally agree. This was handled the right way. Showboat the hell out of the HR, but then take it on the flip side. This is way better than the stupidity of throwing at guys - save that for the Machado type incidents.
 

lexrageorge

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Seems like all parties come out of this ahead.

EdRod gets a little needling in after a dominant outing. Correa laughs it off in a good way. And the only way to interpret Cora's actions is that he wanted to keep the team focused on the matter at hand, which was closing out Game 3 and prepare to go all out to win Game 4.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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He would be a fantastic addition to the Sox next year. Just sayin'.
Which was my first thought watching his response...he's doing the political thing to keep all his off-season options wide open.

I strongly doubt he ends up in Boston, but I can't blame him for avoiding any perception that might turn off a potential bidder for his services, even if the Red Sox involvement is only tangentially used by his agents for phantom "mystery team" type leverage in the media.
 

cantor44

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He's managing completely differently than he did in the regular season (and obviously you'd expect that). What puzzles me is that he pretty much did nothing for 3 months before the playoffs began.

I fully understand you can't run your players into the ground as if every game of the 162 was game 7. But there should be some place on that spectrum where he can be more aggressive in chasing wins.
I totally agree with this. Forgive the reductive wording here, but I think Cora shifts into 4th gear in the playoffs, and sits in 1st and 2nd in the regular season. Would love for him to find 3rd gear more down the stretch. Or, for another metaphor: really does seem like he goes from a "it's a marathon" jog regular season to a full on sprint post season, and maybe there's an interstitial pace in there he can still find. Like, at a certain point, riding a hot pitching hand, playing less of a rotation of position players and going with your best guys (certainly not resting more than two key starters in a single game), etc.
 

mjs

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Nice piece by Bob Hohler in today's Globe. Not groundbreaking, but some good content and quotes about AC's college and early pro career. Interesting quotes from Davey Johnson about sign stealing (unsurprising spoiler: he does not think its a crime) including during 1986 Worlde Series. Reading about how good a defender AC was as a young player makes me think that he knows better than us how lacking his team's defense was this year. Hopefully he has an approach to address it.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/10/28/sports/alex-cora-red-sox-2021-season/#bgmp-comments

Alex Cora came tantalizingly close to becoming the first manager in major league history to reach a World Series a season after being banished for cheating.

But one of his former managers, Davey Johnson, who gave Cora his first big break as a player with the Dodgers in 2000, believes he never should have been punished in the first place for his role in a sign-stealing conspiracy the Astros exploited en route to winning the 2017 World Series while he was their bench coach.

“It was ridiculous that he got suspended,” Johnson said by phone from Florida. “Everybody steals signs, and we never considered it cheating. Now people are acting like it’s some kind of moral decrepitude.”
"“Alex has bounced back from a lot of different things in his life, and he has learned from those things in ways that keep making him stronger all the time,” said Henry “Turtle” Thomas, who recruited Cora to play at the University of Miami and has remained a friend."

“Alex had that ‘it’ factor,” Thomas said. “He wasn’t a great hitter and he maybe wasn’t the best student in the classroom, but in my 39 years of coaching college baseball, he was the smartest player and the best defender in the infield I’ve ever seen.”

edit: fixed typos
 
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YTF

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No harm, no foul, but I have to say that with the volatility of this bullpen I have to question the defensive positioning after Bogaerts left the game last night. I get that Story's the second baseman and you want him to learn the position and the extra runs scored should lessen my concerns, but I was not a fan of Kike' at SS last night. Move the better defensive SS to his natural position and let Hernandez play second, a position that he's much more familiar with.
 

richgedman'sghost

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They’re not moving Story to short while Xander is still in town. It’s just not happening.
If Xander was out for an extended period of time or put on the Injured List I certainly hope they would move Story to short and put Kike at second and Bradley in center. Why not put all three players at the positions they are most comfortable at? I understand if it's a day to day thing or just a random day for for Xander then keep Story at second. Any long term injury for Xander and Story moves to short I think.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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No harm, no foul, but I have to say that with the volatility of this bullpen I have to question the defensive positioning after Bogaerts left the game last night. I get that Story's the second baseman and you want him to learn the position and the extra runs scored should lessen my concerns, but I was not a fan of Kike' at SS last night. Move the better defensive SS to his natural position and let Hernandez play second, a position that he's much more familiar with.
How often did ARod play SS for the Yankees? 8 innings across 5 games in his entire Yankee run is the answer. Granted, Jeter didn't miss a whole lot of time, but even when he had days off, it was the likes of Enrique Wilson and Miguel Cairo and Rey Sanchez and Nick Green getting the starts instead of ARod.

There are egos involved and even aside from that, if Story plays SS and does something spectacular or even just un-Bogaerts-like, it's going to create controversy. I can understand wanting to avoid it, even if it might weaken the team defense in small bursts. I can't see Story playing SS barring an emergency situation that probably includes wild defensive choices like Dalbec or Vazquez at 2B because Kike and Arroyo are already out of the game or something.
 

Coachster

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If Xander was out for an extended period of time or put on the Injured List I certainly hope they would move Story to short and put Kike at second and Bradley in center. Why not put all three players at the positions they are most comfortable at? I understand if it's a day to day thing or just a random day for for Xander then keep Story at second. Any long term injury for Xander and Story moves to short I think.
I don't believe this is true.

The utility infielder on the '22 Boston Red Sox is Christian Arroyo. He's already played 6 games at shortstop this season. If X is out, Arroyo plays and everybody else stays put, IMHO.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Is Xander's ego so fragile that he's going to be threatened by Story playing a single inning in a game where he's gotten hurt and his normal backup has already been used? Is Story's transition to second so difficult that a single inning at shortstop is going to mess it up?
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Is Xander's ego so fragile that he's going to be threatened by Story playing a single inning in a game where he's gotten hurt and his normal backup has already been used? Is Story's transition to second so difficult that a single inning at shortstop is going to mess it up?
You can't feed the monkey, man. One third of an inning is too much, extra innings is not enough.
 

YTF

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How often did ARod play SS for the Yankees? 8 innings across 5 games in his entire Yankee run is the answer. Granted, Jeter didn't miss a whole lot of time, but even when he had days off, it was the likes of Enrique Wilson and Miguel Cairo and Rey Sanchez and Nick Green getting the starts instead of ARod.

There are egos involved and even aside from that, if Story plays SS and does something spectacular or even just un-Bogaerts-like, it's going to create controversy. I can understand wanting to avoid it, even if it might weaken the team defense in small bursts. I can't see Story playing SS barring an emergency situation that probably includes wild defensive choices like Dalbec or Vazquez at 2B because Kike and Arroyo are already out of the game or something.
You're not wrong. Even with Arroyo already out of the game Kike' was still in the lineup and made the "wild" situation that you mentioned avoidable. As I said in my post I get that Story's the second baseman and they want him to settle in there, but with volatility that this bullpen can exhibit at a time when the team is starting to play well I would have rather seen what IMO would have been the better defensive unit.
 

lurker42

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And he'll pass Kasko later this season, but more significantly, he now has the highest winning percentage of any Sox manager who managed for more than 3 years (.577)

>3 years and closest to .577:
Zimmer: 5 seasons, 411 wins, .575
Francona: 8 seasons, 744 wins, .574
Collins: 6 seasons, 455 wins, .548
Jimy: 5 seasons, 414 wins, .540
Cronin: 13 seasons, 1071 wins, .539

Whether you think Cora is a good manager or not, it's quite clear that he's either (a) helping the team win, or (b) staying out of the way while the team wins.
 

joe dokes

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And he'll pass Kasko later this season, but more significantly, he now has the highest winning percentage of any Sox manager who managed for more than 3 years (.577)

>3 years and closest to .577:
Zimmer: 5 seasons, 411 wins, .575
Francona: 8 seasons, 744 wins, .574
Collins: 6 seasons, 455 wins, .548
Jimy: 5 seasons, 414 wins, .540
Cronin: 13 seasons, 1071 wins, .539

Whether you think Cora is a good manager or not, it's quite clear that he's either (a) helping the team win, or (b) staying out of the way while the team wins.
Not only will he pass Kasko this season, he still has a shot at Zimmer
 

streeter88

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Red Sox don’t have a history of long running managers - only five managed for more than five years.

Joe Cronin - 13 seasons - 1071-916
Terry “Tito” Francona - 8 - 743-552
Pinky Higgins - 8 - 560-556
Bill Carrigan - 7 - 489-500
Jimmy Collins - 6 - 455-376

Cora is young enough to pass all these guys - here’s hoping his bullpen luck improves over the remainder of this season…
 

Ganthem

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This season has lead to some questionable decisions by Cora. From relying on his bullpen and pulling his starters after 50 pitches after it become apparent he had no bullpen, to batting guys like Refsnyder and Arroyo at lead off, there have been a lot of head scratchers. It kind of feels like he wants to demonstrate he is the smartest guy in the room.
 

Ganthem

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Story would work also. I asked in some thread a few days ago for a good reason why Arroyo and Refsnyder should be lead off hitters. Thus far I have not received an answer. Even if there is a good answer lets talk about the pitching. He is concerned how the starters are going to fair in September, while the team is completely imploding in April. If that were the case why not mitigate one of the weaknesses of the team. In other words stop pulling starters after 50 pitches. Not allowing pitchers to go through the order a third time seems to be the trendy things and boy was Cora going to hop on that train no matter how deep into hell it lead.
 

scottyno

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Story would work also. I asked in some thread a few days ago for a good reason why Arroyo and Refsnyder should be lead off hitters. Thus far I have not received an answer. Even if there is a good answer lets talk about the pitching. He is concerned how the starters are going to fair in September, while the team is completely imploding in April. If that were the case why not mitigate one of the weaknesses of the team. In other words stop pulling starters after 50 pitches. Not allowing pitchers to go through the order a third time seems to be the trendy things and boy was Cora going to hop on that train no matter how deep into hell it lead.
Are you going to ignore that he's been letting the starters go much deeper over the last month or so? Or just blame him for pulling guys early in April after a short spring when the rotation included a 42 year old, a reclamation project, and a guy with limited major league experience going deep in games?

Since they're currently in playoff position apparently a month of that didn't lead them too deep into hell.