The Alex Cora Difference

joe dokes

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Cora knows.

He had the other team down and went for jugular and stomped on them. Eovaldi for 2 key innings, rather than saving him for another start. Showing faith in Kimbrel, who finally put up a zero. Devers in there tonight, and he delivers. Kinsler over Holt isn't what I would have done, but it worked perfectly with Kinsler smacking 2 hits.
Cora is absolutely fearless and will do whatever he believes is the right move, without regard to what the media, talk radio, or us loudmouthed fans have to say about it. He knows his guys and pushes the buttons based on that, not on how the moves will be reviewed by the public.
Although much like with lifting Barnes in Game 4, I think Cora hedged the bet just a little with Eovaldi. His usage last night (4 outs 5 batters 19 pitches) would not have kept him from starting a Game 7. Another inning might have.

Not to be overlooked is essentially replacing Leon with Vazquez. I dont doubt the staff's seeming preference for Leon, but I think their overall performance is some indication in their trust in Cora and Levangie.
 

Saints Rest

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In the gamethread someone mentioned it was Cora telling Moreland to hold the runner at 1st to keep the force play in order.
Interesting that that was the instructions (I actually assumed in the moment the exact opposite) considering the fact that holding a runner on first may have contributed to Didi’s hit in the 9th of G4 against the Yankees.
I read that the theory is to keep the force out at second in play, which makes sense.
 

lexrageorge

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Interesting that that was the instructions (I actually assumed in the moment the exact opposite) considering the fact that holding a runner on first may have contributed to Didi’s hit in the 9th of G4 against the Yankees.
I read that the theory is to keep the force out at second in play, which makes sense.
There may very well be some stats that show that with Kemp at the plate, what you give up in positioning is offset by the chance for the force at second.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Cora is putting together a mast class this postseason. The rotational players he is putting in our producing at an incredible rate and his usage of Braiser and Barnes has been spectacular.

The most impressive thing to me though... these 8th inning starting pitcher calls in high stress situations. The big worry this postseason was how the hell to bridge to Kimbrel. Instead of working backwards and say that Barnes needs the 8th, he has been extremely aggressive in deploying Barnes and Braiser in the 6th and 7th. So who works the 8th? Easy. The starters.

4 times now, in extremely tight games, Cora has called on Sale, Porcello, and Eovaldi. Those pitchers have thrown 4.1 scoreless innings. Again, in extremely high level spots.

I can't be more impressed how has used his pitching resources. It's so impressive.
 

drbretto

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Cora is putting together a mast class this postseason. The rotational players he is putting in our producing at an incredible rate and his usage of Braiser and Barnes has been spectacular.

The most impressive thing to me though... these 8th inning starting pitcher calls in high stress situations. The big worry this postseason was how the hell to bridge to Kimbrel. Instead of working backwards and say that Barnes needs the 8th, he has been extremely aggressive in deploying Barnes and Braiser in the 6th and 7th. So who works the 8th? Easy. The starters.

4 times now, in extremely tight games, Cora has called on Sale, Porcello, and Eovaldi. Those pitchers have thrown 4.1 scoreless innings. Again, in extremely high level spots.

I can't be more impressed how has used his pitching resources. It's so impressive.
Honestly, I think this going to stick, too. Like, Alex Cora, deploys this thing that other teams will copy for years. I don't know how much of it is Cora, his coaches, someone in analytics, but Cora is going to be mentioned every time teams do this move.

Along with the 108 wins and that whole World Series thing, that's not a bad first year.
 

JimD

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This is some next-level Belichickian shit right here:

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said his organization was "playing defense," insinuating they were trying to catch the Red Sox in the act of doing something illegal.

On Ordway, Merloni & Fauria Friday afternoon, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was asked for his thoughts on the matter, and he said it didn't bother him. In fact, the Red Sox did things during the series to increase Houston's paranoia.

“I took it the other way around because they openingly said that they were playing defense," he said. "They said they were checking on us if we were stealing signs, or doing something wrong in the dugout. … I took it the other way around. I was like, ‘Paranoia is working for us.' Like they are panicking. Throughout the series we did a lot of stuff as far as like dummy signs and all this stuff to keep the paranoia going.

https://weei.radio.com/blogs/ryan-hannable/red-sox-manager-alex-cora-responds-astros-shady-business-alcs-paranoia-working


We may really have something special here in Cora.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Or...say that stuff and continue to actually steal signs now that the other team thinks its gamesmanship.

Or...just get things to a point where the other manager just screws his head into the ground.
 

Return of the Dewey

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Just read a piece on WEEI with Cora talking about the DFA of Hanley. I know he was cooked, but I'm still surprised that a team didn't at least take a flier on him during the whole season.
 

ledsox

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Cora after WS game 1 -- "You know I don't like to manage the other team but actually you have to manage them"
 

joe dokes

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I'm sure this is more than just Cora, but still:

Nunez, who was disappointed to learn he wasn’t in the starting lineup of his first World Series game, was told hours before to be ready to face a lefty late in the game, perhaps Wood.
“Guys first and second. I know he don’t want me to beat him with fastball,” Nunez said. “So I will see something soft, and he did it twice.”
 

soxhop411

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I'm sure this is more than just Cora, but still:
On the postgame on FS1, Pretty much everyone on the set (Ortiz/Arod/etc) pretty much said that players have told them they love playing for Cora... Nunez pretty much said as much during the post game interview on FS1(the one where the FS1 hosts interviewed him)
 
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YTF

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Cora's sense of history and nostalgia by recreating the magic of Carbo's 3-run pinch hit dinger with an inspired Nunez for Devers swap gets a lotta love.
Not sure that it was a sense of history and nostalgia that led to that move. I'm guessing it was more baseball related, match ups, etc... but yeah the move gets a whole lotta love. Speaking of....The peeps in the game thread do not disappoint. I literally just tuned into the game and logged into SoSH just prior to Cora PHing Nunez after getting home from work. The reaction to the move was as one might predict. That's no dig as I felt the same given the post season that Devers has been having. The post HR reaction was absolutely priceless.
 

mostman

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Not sure that it was a sense of history and nostalgia that led to that move. I'm guessing it was more baseball related, match ups, etc... but yeah the move gets a whole lotta love. Speaking of....The peeps in the game thread do not disappoint. I literally just tuned into the game and logged into SoSH just prior to Cora PHing Nunez after getting home from work. The reaction to the move was as one might predict. That's no dig as I felt the same given the post season that Devers has been having. The post HR reaction was absolutely priceless.
I was one of those. I had just hit post when it went out. I did a ninja edit, but left my original comment and Cora bash in there for posterity. I hope to look back at it and laugh at myself.
 

Return of the Dewey

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Those few game thread pages are SoSH gold. I highly encourage folks to go back and read them.
I was in there all night, and it was classic SoSH gamethread material from the beginning....early on, it was multiple gripes about Sale's pitch counts, then came gripes about squanders, and then the Nunez fiasco. Sprinkled in there was a two-way, multiple post conversation between two posters about how to quit smoking.
 

Al Zarilla

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On the postgame on FS1, Pretty much everyone on the set (Ortiz/Arod/etc) pretty much said that players have told them they love playing for Cora... Nunez pretty much said as much during the post game interview on FS1(the one where the FS1 hosts interviewed him)
What I got from the post game table setup with Pedro, Harold and the MLBN talking head was a "fringe" player singing from the same hymnbook I've heard star players (Mookie, Sale and Price) sing from. In this case what Nunez said is that guys are told before a game or as much as the day before what their role is going to be (start or not, in the case of Nunez) and if not starting, prepare for a particular pitcher or two and go off and study film. No surprises. All the players are kept "happy" as Nunez put it. Finally, Nunez seems like a really good dude.
 

TheYaz67

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Someone in the game thread thanked all the other GM's in baseball for passing on Nunez (and insinuating they were stupid for doing so), yet the reason they passed is because Nunez is really not that good at all. He was a cheap, replaceable utility infielder piece who we hoped would actually NOT get into 127 different games this year and put up 81 OPS+/-1.1 WAR, but hey, sometimes those somewhat crappy players do indeed come up big in small samples size playoff spots - good on him for making the best of his opportunity and getting on board with what Cora wants him to do....
 

JimD

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Ken Rosenthal has a great piece in The Athletic about how Nunez has mentored Devers this year, and comparing it to how Nunez was once mentored by Jeter, A-Rod and Cano on the Yankees:

“They worked mentally with me about situations, to prepare me before and after the games,” Nuñez said of his former Yankees teammates. “The tools, everybody has the tools to play in the big leagues. But the mental part is the hard thing. All the details they explained to me, that was huge. I try to pass it to Devers.”

Sometimes he will instruct Devers to go home and watch Netflix or relax with his family rather than worry about outside criticism. Before Game 1 of the World Series, he told Devers to treat it like a regular game, even a spring training game if it would put his mind at ease. The two played cards in the early afternoon, laughing and joking.

“I wanted to make sure he was relaxed,” Nuñez said.
https://theathletic.com/610399/2018/10/24/rosenthal-to-nobodys-surprise-eduardo-nunez-was-ready-for-his-big-moment/
 

effectivelywild

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I wasn't sure where the best place to put this was, but here seems like a reasonable spot. The Ringer has an interesting article (https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2018/10/26/18026098/world-series-dave-roberts-pitcher-hitter-matchup-decisions) about second guessing the managers, in particular with the decision to pull Baez in game 1 with devers coming up. The article points out that while Baez had not allowed a hit in his last 31 appearances against left-handed batters and in general had a reverse split, other metrics (such as K-BB%) suggested that a lot of that had to do with BABIP luck. Which makes it a more defensible decision.
On the other hand, we all saw that Baez was dealing and that regardless of Nunez's ability to later crush a pitch well out of the zone, that taking out Baez was, at best, puzzling. Obviously, Cora's gotten lucky with a lot of his moves this post-season, but I wonder if the problem for the Dodgers is relying just a tad too much on analytics to dictate their decisions (like keeping your best home run hitters on the bench because of the platoon advantage) and missing some of the human/eye test of things. Over a whole season, the analytics may even out but in the post season, where every game is crucial, I feel like one of the Red Sox advantages has been recognizing when to trust the math and when to trust the eyes. What do you guys think?
 
Nov 10, 2006
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I wasn't sure where the best place to put this was, but here seems like a reasonable spot. The Ringer has an interesting article (https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2018/10/26/18026098/world-series-dave-roberts-pitcher-hitter-matchup-decisions) about second guessing the managers, in particular with the decision to pull Baez in game 1 with devers coming up. The article points out that while Baez had not allowed a hit in his last 31 appearances against left-handed batters and in general had a reverse split, other metrics (such as K-BB%) suggested that a lot of that had to do with BABIP luck. Which makes it a more defensible decision.
On the other hand, we all saw that Baez was dealing and that regardless of Nunez's ability to later crush a pitch well out of the zone, that taking out Baez was, at best, puzzling. Obviously, Cora's gotten lucky with a lot of his moves this post-season, but I wonder if the problem for the Dodgers is relying just a tad too much on analytics to dictate their decisions (like keeping your best home run hitters on the bench because of the platoon advantage) and missing some of the human/eye test of things. Over a whole season, the analytics may even out but in the post season, where every game is crucial, I feel like one of the Red Sox advantages has been recognizing when to trust the math and when to trust the eyes. What do you guys think?
I totally agree.

In addition, in a nutshell last night's press conferences by both managers clearly show us the differences between Cora and other head coaches.

Roberts literally threw Hill under a bus, justifying his decision of taking him out of the game because Hill had told him "to keep and eye on" him and to go "hitter by hitter". This way the decision of bringing in a reliever is on the player's shoulders and not his, thereby saving him from scrutiny.

On the other hand, Cora explicitly admitted having left Eduardo Rodriguez in too long. This mistake is on him, not on the player.

As a player, who do you think you would rather play for?

As a coach, you must always remember that you are simply not coaching players. You are coaching human beings. Empathy, respect, sincerity and leadership skills are paramount.
 

lapa

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I don’t think it would be at all weird to consider that the man management aspect and all that entails throughout a long slog of a season and when the pressure cooker of playoffs begins is far far far far and far away the biggest factor in what makes a manager succeed or fail and the in game management and other stuff is way less important even if it’s that which gets much more focus in fan forums and websites.

The reality of how to manage who sits and plays and why is likely to be vastly more important in getting millionaire professional athletes to have that extra level of motivation and buying in to the ‘cause’ than whether we think it’s stupid if someone isn’t playing even if we think that guy has a 785 OBP vs lefties on the road in games staring at 7pm

Clearly Cora has got the ears of everyone in the squad and his demeanor transfers a complete lack of panic and short term over reaction compared to just sticking to a season long goal and working to that end. It’s great to see and stuff like the timetabled off days for players probably makes a much bigger plus to the team than what internet fans think about ‘getaway and punt lineups’ for example

Probably this is why most managers even the best ones still have a shelf life (Tito?) - once you’ve succeeded a bit it’s normal human behavior to lose focus and motivation and the negative sides of people’s personality start to come into focus and you start to focus on the downsides of your boss and organization etc

Let’s hope this story lasts a good stretch and maybe we can let someone finish on a positive note in Boston and not have to make sure it turns nasty at the end
 

lapa

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Was going to post something about Cora’s humility in admitting he left Firpo out there one hitter too long, but #lapa expressed it better than I would’ve.
I think you made a good point though! It’s easy to say ok they earn millions to play a game just do your job but the contrast between Roberts comments on hill and Cora’s on ERod was ver clear, and who is going to feel deep down more confident that his boss and team mates have his back and appreciate the great effort that came before things got tricky
Over time this kind of support and ‘we got this together’ attitude is bound to have a net positive effect.

I absolutely loved seeing Price reaction to Pearce’s double from the bullpen and the rest of the guys there. Sure it feels good to win but it just seems like Cora has provided an environment where the buck stops with him and he trusts his players to keep their eyes on the prize
 

joe dokes

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I don’t think it would be at all weird to consider that the man management aspect and all that entails throughout a long slog of a season and when the pressure cooker of playoffs begins is far far far far and far away the biggest factor in what makes a manager succeed or fail and the in game management and other stuff is way less important even if it’s that which gets much more focus in fan forums and websites.

The reality of how to manage who sits and plays and why is likely to be vastly more important in getting millionaire professional athletes to have that extra level of motivation and buying in to the ‘cause’ than whether we think it’s stupid if someone isn’t playing even if we think that guy has a 785 OBP vs lefties on the road in games staring at 7pm

Clearly Cora has got the ears of everyone in the squad and his demeanor transfers a complete lack of panic and short term over reaction compared to just sticking to a season long goal and working to that end. It’s great to see and stuff like the timetabled off days for players probably makes a much bigger plus to the team than what internet fans think about ‘getaway and punt lineups’ for example

Probably this is why most managers even the best ones still have a shelf life (Tito?) - once you’ve succeeded a bit it’s normal human behavior to lose focus and motivation and the negative sides of people’s personality start to come into focus and you start to focus on the downsides of your boss and organization etc

Let’s hope this story lasts a good stretch and maybe we can let someone finish on a positive note in Boston and not have to make sure it turns nasty at the end
To that point....it was the consensus around here that the previous manager's biggest shortcoming was tactical, but that his leader-of-men credentials were solid. The season long comments from players and brass suggests otherwise, and Cora's own demeanor is the evidence.
"What did you think of Sale?"
"My English is limited. I didn't understand most of it" is the best answer in history.

Relatedly, I just saw Roberts's post game. His deameanor was very Farrell-like. Firm, articulate, logical. Or maybe robotic, emotionless and disconnected.
 
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CR67dream

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Not sure that it was a sense of history and nostalgia that led to that move. I'm guessing it was more baseball related, match ups, etc... but yeah the move gets a whole lotta love. Speaking of....The peeps in the game thread do not disappoint. I literally just tuned into the game and logged into SoSH just prior to Cora PHing Nunez after getting home from work. The reaction to the move was as one might predict. That's no dig as I felt the same given the post season that Devers has been having. The post HR reaction was absolutely priceless.
I said this in the WS thread, but I'll say it here, too. Everyone knock it off with bringing game thread commentary onto the main board. The very reason game threads exist is to keep this sort of nonsense from polluting threads like this. Do not bring that shit over here. Thank you.
 

dhappy42

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A nice little story that seems to belong in here:

The Alex Cora speech the Red Sox desperately needed

The details are vague, but apparently his rallying of the troops after the game 3 loss was inspiring.
I don’t know how, exactly, it fit in with Cora’s post-Game 3 speech, but when I heard about the team giving Eovaldi a standing ovation in the clubhouse after the 18th-inning loss it gave me goosebumps on goosebumps. This team is special in a way I haven’t quite seen since 2004. And Cora is the main reason for that.
 

JimD

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The Sox were nervous about Eduardo Rodriguez at the plate Saturday night. Rodriguez swung at a pitch, defying bench orders, as the bat flew out of his hands. He later today Cora: "I was ahead in the count and that was a pitch I could do damage with.'' Said Cora: "I heard a lot of stuff throughout the year and he topped it. Jesus -- he almost killed someone.''
https://www.bostonsportsjournal.com/2018/10/28/live-coverage-world-series-game-5-red-sox-vs-dodgers-price-vs-kershaw-815/
 

JimD

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He's already a close second to Tito as all-time best Red Sox manager. May he have many years at the helm to try and take over the top spot.
 

effectivelywild

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One of the things that was harped on last night in the broadcast, vis-a-vis pulling Hill in Game 4, was that Hill told Roberts to "keep an eye on me," which Roberts took as meaning that Hill was starting to tire. Also of note was that when Roberts went to the mound---originally just to talk to Hill---Hill handed him the ball without saying anything, leading Roberts to think that Hill was saying that he was done. It seems like Game 4 hinged on poor communication and the starting pitcher feeling like he needed to tell Roberts that it was ok to take him out if Roberts thought it necessary to do so.
Although its just conjecture, I don't think anything like that could have happened with Cora. I can't imagine any of his pitchers telling him "hey, its ok to take me out if you're concerned about me," or Cora not understanding what they were saying. It felt like everyone on the team was of the mindset of "I'll do whatever you want me to do, and if you think I need to be benched or taken out of the game, I'm cool with it." I mean, he even passed over the team's "ace" for the clinching game to start Price on short rest! And yet there was no mention of any grumbling by Sale; to the contrary, I think he just wanted to win and if Cora thought Price was a better bet for game 5, he was fine with it. Just really amazing how the whole time seemed to be all-in on whatever Cora wanted.
 

OurF'ingCity

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This has been discussed elsewhere, and I'm not sure how much credit is due Cora compared to the front office/analytics guys and the pitchers themselves, but the use of starting pitchers as eighth/ninth-inning shutdown relievers was absolutely masterful and done to a degree I don't recall ever seeing before (unless I'm mistaken, none of the Sox' postseason opponents ever used a pitcher who had started or was slated to start in that series in anything other than a starter role).

If the Playoff Tito approach (being willing to replace guys at the first sign of trouble, generally not having relievers pre-designated for specific roles or innings) was smart postseason bullpen tactic 1.0, I feel like Cora and the Sox just introduced version 2.0 by integrating the starters, and I have a very strong suspicion that we will see many, many more teams attempting a similar strategy in the coming years.
 

ledsox

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I don't remember a series where so many starters were asking to pitch in so many games. They all wanted all in, just about all the time. Starters relieving should definitely be more of a thing going forward.

Also, last night Cora talked about how defensive shifts make things more conducive to hit and run execution. I think that is another thing we will see more of in the near future around baseball. It was so cool to hear that he texted guys early to let them know to push it in inning 1.
 

JimD

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This has been discussed elsewhere, and I'm not sure how much credit is due Cora compared to the front office/analytics guys and the pitchers themselves, but the use of starting pitchers as eighth/ninth-inning shutdown relievers was absolutely masterful and done to a degree I don't recall ever seeing before (unless I'm mistaken, none of the Sox' postseason opponents ever used a pitcher who had started or was slated to start in that series in anything other than a starter role).

If the Playoff Tito approach (being willing to replace guys at the first sign of trouble, generally not having relievers pre-designated for specific roles or innings) was smart postseason bullpen tactic 1.0, I feel like Cora and the Sox just introduced version 2.0 by integrating the starters, and I have a very strong suspicion that we will see many, many more teams attempting a similar strategy in the coming years.
We've seen starters-as-relievers in previous years, notably with the Astros last year having starters Verlander, Morton and McCullers being used for relief appearances in between starts, but Cora took this to an entirely different level. I'd be curious to know if anything different was done with between-starts routines to prepare for this usage and help the pitchers excel in their relief roles.
 

Kevin Youkulele

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This has been discussed elsewhere, and I'm not sure how much credit is due Cora compared to the front office/analytics guys and the pitchers themselves, but the use of starting pitchers as eighth/ninth-inning shutdown relievers was absolutely masterful and done to a degree I don't recall ever seeing before (unless I'm mistaken, none of the Sox' postseason opponents ever used a pitcher who had started or was slated to start in that series in anything other than a starter role).

If the Playoff Tito approach (being willing to replace guys at the first sign of trouble, generally not having relievers pre-designated for specific roles or innings) was smart postseason bullpen tactic 1.0, I feel like Cora and the Sox just introduced version 2.0 by integrating the starters, and I have a very strong suspicion that we will see many, many more teams attempting a similar strategy in the coming years.
I completely agree. I expected Cora to employ "playoff Tito"-style bullpen management, and I remember, for example, one of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling relieving the other late in the 2001 World Series,* but Cora absolutely took usage of starters as relievers to a new level. (*: other instances include Pedro in relief in the 2004 ALCS and I am also pretty sure a couple of starters were used on their throw days during the 2006 regular season--but I think this was mostly a matter of the bullpen being awful and gassed).

I imagine now that the season is over, some of those involved (perhaps the pitchers themselves, particularly those that walk) will discuss the implementation of this strategy more openly, and it will be very interesting to read about.
 

BaseballJones

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Cora's bullpen usage is a conversation worthy of a very deep dive. It might be a thing few managers are comfortable with (and it may depend on if their starters can even do this), but it also may signal a revolution in how playoff baseball is managed.

Anyway, it's really interesting to see the interplay between Barnes, Brasier, and Kelly in particular.

Division Series
- Barnes: 2 g, 2.0 ip
- Brasier: 3 g, 2.1 ip
- Kelly: 1 g, 2.1 ip

Brasier lost his playoff cherry right away against the Yankees. Up 5-0 in the 6th, after Sale had put two guys on, Brasier looked very shaky initially, allowing a hit and letting two inherited runners to score. Relieved by Workman, who got a huge K to Torres. Barnes then got the first big relief moment of the series. Game 1, up 5-2 in the 7th, but Workman (amazing that Workman got into the game before Kelly) had put the first two guys on. Tying run at the plate in Gardner, with Stanton and Voit to follow. Barnes ends up allowing one of the inherited runners to score, but retires Gardner, Voit, and Gregorius to end the threat and preserve the lead.

Kelly got his shot in game 2, down 3-0 already in the 2nd inning, so not a high leverage spot (all things considered). He pitched very well and kept the Sox in it for 2.1 innings. Brasier came into the game in the 5th inning, down 3-1. Pitched very well, including the Sanchez "get back in the F-ing box" moment.

In game 4, Brasier and Barnes both pitched in an incredibly tight contest. Barnes got the 6th up 4-1, and Brasier got the 7th up 4-1. No Kelly.

Clearly, Barnes and Brasier got the high leverage innings, while Kelly was a low leverage long guy.


ALCS
- Barnes: 5 g, 4.1 ip
- Brasier: 4 g, 4.2 ip
- Kelly: 3 g, 3.0 ip

Kelly got the first call in game 1. Down 2-0 in the fifth, Kelly did a nice job. The Sox scored two in the 6th and Kelly came back out, as Cora was probably encouraged by his first inning's work. He ended up allowing one unearned run to put Boston down 3-2 (they'd lose 7-2). Barnes got out of the 6th inning jam, then got through the 7th. Brasier pitched a scoreless 8th. Workman got shelled in the 9th, however, breaking up a close game.

In game 2, Barnes entered in the 6th up 5-4. Brasier got the 7th. Neither allowed a run. No Kelly.

In game 3, with the Sox up 3-2, Brasier got the 7th. The Sox exploded off Osuna in the 8th, and Barnes came in to get two outs in the bottom of the 8th, with Kelly cleaning up the the last out.

In game 4, Kelly entered the game in the 5th with the score tied at 4. He gave up a run during the inning, but the Sox came back on a JBJ blast. After EdRo walked his guy in the bottom of the 6th, Brasier came in and shut Houston down. Boston got an insurance run and Brasier got two guys in the 7th, with Barnes coming in to strike out White to end the inning.

In game 5, the Sox were up 4-0 when Barnes came into the game in the 7th. Allowed one run. Eovaldi and Kimbrel closed out the Astros.


World Series
- Barnes: 3 g, 2.1 ip
- Brasier: 2 g, 1.2 ip
- Kelly: 5 g, 6.0 ip

Game 1, up 3-2 in the fifth, Barnes came in following a Chris Sale walk to Dozier to lead off the inning. Barnes would let that inherited runner score to tie the game at 3. Boston took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Kelly came into the game in the 6th up 5-3. Scoreless inning. Brasier got the 7th and gave up a run to make it 5-4. Eovaldi and Kimbrel closed it out.

In game 2, the Sox were up 4-2 when Kelly came into the game in the 7th. Scoreless frame. Again, Eovaldi and Kimbrel closed it out.

In the game 3 epic (nobody saw 18 innings coming), the Sox were down 1-0 and Kelly got the ball in the 6th. Pitched a scoreless inning. Brasier got the 7th, also pitching a scoreless inning. Bradley tied the game in the 8th and Barnes came in to pitch a scoreless 8th.

In game 4, the Sox were down 4-3 after Moreland's bomb, and Kelly came in in the 7th. Scoreless inning of work. After the Sox tied it at 4, Kelly came out for the 8th. Another scoreless inning. Kimbrel closed it out in the 9th. Neither Barnes nor Brasier entered the game.

In game 5, the Sox were up 5-1 and after Price walked the leadoff man in the 8th, Kelly once again got the call. He pitched a dynamic 8th inning, striking out the side, before Sale closed it out in the 9th.


Ok, so what to make of all this? Seems like at the start of the playoffs, the pecking order was: (1) Barnes, (2) Brasier, and (3) Kelly. Barnes got the most high-leverage innings and Kelly the least. But by the end, Kelly was Cora's most trusted reliever, working in all five games. Not just most trusted, but also most durable (?). I was surprised to see Kelly as the guy in game 5, instead of Barnes. Now maybe there are things we don't know (like maybe Barnes' arm was a little sore). I don't know. But it sure seemed like at the beginning, it was Barnes, Brasier, then Kelly, but by the end it was Kelly, Barnes, then Brasier. Kelly gave his manager confidence that he could do the job and Cora adjusted accordingly. Not that Barnes and Brasier pitched poorly, because clearly they didn't.

Playoff stats:
- Barnes: 10 g, 8.2 ip, 1.04 era, 1.38 whip, 9.3 k/9
- Brasier: 9 g, 8.2 ip, 1.04 era, 1.38 whip, 7.3 k/9
- Kelly: 9 g, 11.1 ip, 0.79 era, 0.71 whip, 10.3 k/9

Kelly went from initially being a long man/middle reliever to being Cora's most trusted and reliable bullpen arm. Amazing.
 

TheYaz67

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May 21, 2004
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Saw several mentions up thread of "playoff Tito" and the need for managers to manage differently in the postseason, and just wanted to note that unfortunately (for the Dodgers) Dave Roberts seems to be the "anti-playoff Tito" manager - he on more than one occasion in a postseason presser stressed the fact that he made the decisions he made because "that's how we have been doing it all year, so why would I change now" - I'm guessing if Tito was watching any of those pressers he probably winced when he heard Roberts say that....
 

ifmanis5

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Cora's bullpen usage was definitely a page out of Playoff Tito, especially The Rover role as Nate became the new Andrew Miller.

It's one thing to just roll guys out there in unusual spots but Tito and definitely Cora got their staffs to buy in to the ultimate team concept and to want to volunteer for extra duty. Even David Price was out in the bullpen jumping up and down dying to get into games. Not every manager can get players to buy in like that, even in the World Series. Cora did a masterful job of unifying a team with a lot of big ticket stars to play the team concept. We can all list many Red Sox teams and players with high payrolls who failed miserably at this. Cora did it and the players love him for it.
 

In my lifetime

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And I think one of the reasons Cora got the pitchers to buy in is that during the season he made a point of resting players regularly. He understood when the season was in its marathon phase and when the sprint started.