Criticism of Cora has been notably absent in the main board. Or maybe just significantly less than that on Bloom, Henry and the underperformance of the players.
Speaking of which.... how much of the shitty play should be on Cora? His bullpen management has been discussed- and IMO he has blown a few games - although it's always hard to tell how many games he snatched away because of good bullpen management. Meanwhile, our best reliever, Whitlock, has two of the most recent losses on his head and I can't really fault Cora for that.
But my biggest issue is the general lack of preparation and concentration I'm reading. Bad baserunning, bad defense, unfocused, bad decisions. I actually also think that Vazquez had something to do with the lack of focus. Then there's Verdugo who is really hard to dislike. I think he plays hard but man does he seem dumb.
Tito was let go after the shitshow in '11 and this doesn't seem all that different to me and I'd happily take Tito over Cora anytime.
Well, as you know, I'm not a huge Cora fan. He did come through last year though, and guided the team into the postseason (albeit by the skin of their teeth). That guiding happened during a huge Covid outbreak, so he certainly earned a pass in my book.
This year we had a lockout and a short spring training. Other teams seemed to do fine, but we were cold out of the gate. Give us 5 extra wins, and we're in the thick of things right now, instead of slowly sinking out of contention. (Maybe we also do some more aggressive trades at the deadline.) Can that be laid at Cora's feet? I'm not entirely sure. He's supposedly a great motivator and communicator, beloved by the players. If that's true it's either a bit weird that they don't get ready for him, individually or collectively. . .or that those things have pretty much nothing to do with getting the players sharp and focused.
Other factors in early bad play were the 2-times-through strategy and sticking to barreling into the teeth of the shift with the new dead ball. I'm not sure if these ideas came from Cora or were forced on him, but both did not work. And aggressivity was. . .just not good. Too many 1-2-3 innings. Again - Cora, or something Cora more or less had to buy into, or couldn't change quickly? Unknown.
Regardless, we elbowed our way back into contention with some hot performances when we were hit by a rash of injuries. And those injuries really can't be laid at Cora's feet - I mean there's no over-use of players or injuries (IIRC) from playing guys out of position or anything like that.
I do think it's fair to question the clubhouse culture and how that contributes (or not) to players being ready, having good individual seasons, and playing good baseball. Likewise, Cora's in charge of a hitting and pitching staff. Coaching results have been mixed, to put it mildly, with pitching clearly being more successful than hitting/fielding. While these sort of general staff issues are not entirely in Cora's (or any managers) control, the results haven't been good.
At this point I'm ambivalent about Cora's returning for next year. I think there has to be some shakeup in how they do things, especially in terms of talent evaluation and developing younger hitters and fielders. I still don't think he's a great field manager for the regular season. Not a disaster, but not great. He works best in keeping a finely tuned machine going as in 2018, deflecting press stuff, etc. But he really seems to have only one managerial mode - give the player time to figure things out. But in Boston, a lot of players never quite seem to actually do that. In a short post-season series, he's good. I just don't see that happening in the regular season for key games against direct opponents. The lack of urgency is very much like 2019. There's always more time - until there's not.