The Alex Cora Difference

Nevermore

lurker
Apr 12, 2009
79
Omaha, NE
During the broadcast last night, they showed some stats about Price's great record with the home plate umpire. I'm curious if that was a significant factor in Cora's decision to start Price on short rest? If so, might that be an emerging trend in playoff decision-making?
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
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Sep 9, 2008
27,674
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I heard a snippet of an Alex Cora interview today that apparently was broadcast on XMSirius on the Duke Basketball Coach's show on the college basketball channel (I'm not going to try to spell his name -- the guy with the K). Anyone have a link? It sounded interesting.
 

drbretto

guidence counselor
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Apr 10, 2009
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Concord, NH
They say that the playoffs don't count for the voting here, but I think they will count for next year. IMO, Cora is 2019 manager of the year until someone steals it from him.
 

Al Zarilla

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Dec 8, 2005
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They should just rename it the 'Manager Who Most Exceeded Our Expectations Award' and get it over with.
Yes, and also award the AL and NL pennants to the teams that gained the most wins year over year! After 10 years of that, turn the final standings upside down to determine playoff rivals. Endless possibilities!
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Dec 4, 2005
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Honestly who gives a shit? It would have been cool but end of day...?

I’ve listened to Keefe whine about JD not making top three for mvp for like a week and his tent pole was ‘when it comes time to vote for HoF, these things matter! I’m going to be really upset if I look back years from now and he finished 6th or 7th!’

Right. Because voters are sitting around and saying ‘well if he had only finished third that year instead of fifth, I’d vote for. But now....’ Winning mvp or cya sure, but stuff like moy or roy are pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme.
 

The Gray Eagle

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For perspective on what the Manager of the Year award is worth, remember that John McNamara won it in 1986.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Oct 20, 2015
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this is from Cafardo's Sunday notes [blech], but Cora had some comments on 2019. I really like Cora calling out players who could do better even off of a championship season. (I'll quote the whole section because screw Cafardo)

The big question we ask about the 2019 season is how can the Red Sox repeat as World Series champions? Manager Alex Cora doesn’t have all the answers, but he expects improvement in the overall play of at least five players who could take the next step in their careers. Cora refers to Eduardo Rodriguez, Rafael Devers, Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi in that regard.

“Stuff-wise he’s better than all of our guys,” Cora said. “I still believe that he wants to be David Price and I guarantee David Price wishes he can be Eduardo Rodriquez. David is very much in awe of his stuff so I think it’s something that we will hammer him on with the understanding that if you use these pitches in these spots you’ll be great. And he did start to do that actually out of the bullpen in the playoffs. He started pitching up in the zone and throwing changeups.”

As an example of a learning moment for E-Rod, Cora pointed to the Gary Sanchez home run in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Yankees.

“It was a fastball down in the zone on a 2-1 count and he’s got probably one of the best fastballs up in the zone in the league,” said Cora. “And he has one of the best changeups in the league and he didn’t use it. After that he learned.

“I talked to him. I said, “Dude, it’s very simple for you out of the bullpen: Up and down. Up and down. So then he faced them in Game 3 in New York and he threw [Sanchez] like five changeups in a row and he got a couple of swings and misses and [got him to ground out].”

On Devers, Cora said he’s not making predictions after doing so last offseason, during which he predicted 30 homers and 100 RBIs.

“I think we didn’t help with that,” Cora admitted. “Expectations were high and I think he was thinking about the numbers early in the season. Going to Triple A for that rehab assignment was big for him. I didn’t rush him back. It was a great learning experience for him. I mean, obviously the player has to agree, and he was all in. He wasn’t even close with his body as far as like being healthy, but to get at-bats down there and then to come here and just be a part of it was terrific.

Eduardo [Nunez] was playing great. We had Brock [Holt]. So, I don’t think he was expecting at-bats. He was just happy to be here and then little by little he started getting at-bats and then you could see that he was able to slow it down, not chasing too many pitches up in the zone. He played great defense in October, made some nice plays and . . . he’s not afraid of the big stage.

“I saw that last year when I was with Houston. And then in October he really enjoyed the moment. I think there was only one game that the game sped up on him. It was Game 3 [of the World Series] that I pinch hit for him because they brought in [Pedro] Baez. In that game he was back to chasing pitches. The body language, too, like shaking his head. But he’s going to be a good player. I hate to compare with other players but I think the third baseman for the Yankees, [Miguel] Andujar. He’s older than Raffy, but they’re very similar offensively.

“I think Raffy grew up a lot. And now in the offseason he has his program. He’s actually going to spend time in Miami with J.D. Martinez. And they’ll keep working on his swing.”

Can Swihart become a No. 1 catcher?

“I mean, we’ve got three great catchers,” said Cora. “From everything I heard about Blake not being a good defender — he is actually a good defender. I mean, he threw out what? Like five out of six. And he blocked better and he bought into the reports and using the [analytic] information to our benefit.

“Offensively it wasn’t fair for him this year. He feels that he lost it righthanded. We’ll see where we’re at, but yeah, he’s capable. We’ll see where we go in the offseason. We’ll sit down and talk about players in the upcoming weeks and all of that, but I see him, too, as someone who can play first and he can play the outfield. I didn’t take advantage of him as much as I should have this year.”

Cora also believes the best is yet to come from Bradley.

“I think he found his swing,” Cora said. “He now understands more about his mechanics and what he can do at the plate. If he is as consistent as he was in the second half, that’s a monster year. That would be fun. We talked about it as a group and we said, ‘Can you imagine if Jackie and Raffy keep swinging the bat the way they did for a full season?’ ”

What about Benintendi and his power numbers, which included 16 homers?

“That was weird. I read he only hit two after the All-Star break. But with him, he’s the total package and he can hit for average. He can be a lot better than .280, .285,” Cora said of the left fielder, who actually hit .290. “With that swing, I don’t want to say batting title, but he will be hitting over .300 and getting on base at a high clip.

“At one point his on-base percentage was right there in the .400s [he finished at .366, 29th in the majors], which is great for us. But at one point he was in the top 10 in OPS [he finished 38th at .830]. So I don’t know if he got caught up in the whole trying to lift the ball. I don’t know, but when he hits the ball the other way he’s one of the best hitters in the big leagues. And also, defensively he grew up throughout the season. He played a great left field. We were able to push him off the left field line because he can get to that ball down the line. He was really good.”
 

santadevil

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Aug 1, 2006
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Ok. That Cora Special on MLBN was amazing.

We are lucky to have him as our manager.
Agreed. I was dead tired when I got home last night after being on the road most of the day.
I still stayed up for the entire thing, because I was looking forward to it.

The Eovaldi part had me in rapt attention. At the time, watching him go back out for inning after inning, I was in amazement. Nate just kept getting outs. And knowing how much he had already thrown in the days before, my respect kept going up and up. One of the best pitching performances I've ever seen and I'm happy those guys recognized it, especially Cora. I know we were told about it right away, but hearing it over and over is great.
 

drbretto

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Apr 10, 2009
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My cable company doesn't carry MLB network. Id anyone happens to run into a link for this, could you let us know? :)

I've been looking but I haven't seen anything. I'm not sure if that means I'm not looking in the right place or if it's just not out there.
 

leftfieldlegacy

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Jul 31, 2005
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My cable company doesn't carry MLB network. Id anyone happens to run into a link for this, could you let us know? :)

I've been looking but I haven't seen anything. I'm not sure if that means I'm not looking in the right place or if it's just not out there.
Try this link to MLB Network. I think this is what you are looking for
https://www.mlb.com/video/cora-on-bringing-trophy-to-pr/c-2522657283?tid=105943036
They have it set up as a series of short videos that auto play one after the other so it is fairly seamless.
 

drbretto

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Apr 10, 2009
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Sin Duda

lurker
Jul 16, 2005
45
(B)Austin Texas
Soxhop411 - thank you for alerting us to this video. Leftfieldlegacy, than you for providing the link. I have to admit I got little misty during the Eovaldi section. It certainly made me thirsty for spring training to begin.
 

Al Zarilla

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he also helped Mookie to stop pressing (at least a bit) and hit the HR in game 5.
That bit about positioning hitters and where to play Joe Mauer was funny. Cora’s guys study the data and decide the outfielders should be all swung around to the left, with Mookie in right center, crazy for a strong left handed hitter. Sure enough, Mauer hits it right at Mookie, who after he catches it pulls out his cheat sheet, points to it and Cora in the dugout, laughing. Pretty obvious the players bought into what this guy was selling, all year long.
 

Reverend

for king and country
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That bit about positioning hitters and where to play Joe Mauer was funny. Cora’s guys study the data and decide the outfielders should be all swung around to the left, with Mookie in right center, crazy for a strong left handed hitter. Sure enough, Mauer hits it right at Mookie, who after he catches it pulls out his cheat sheet, points to it and Cora in the dugout, laughing. Pretty obvious the players bought into what this guy was selling, all year long.
And, of course, that is also the immanent MVP loudly proclaiming his "buy in" to other team members. That's good leadership, good club house, etc--the total package.
 

canderson

Fomenting voting confusion and angst since 2016
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Jul 16, 2005
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Alex Cora is a tremendous human being and we are blessed to have him part of our favorite franchise. He oozes class out of every pore.

 

bobesox

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Jul 19, 2005
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Alex Cora one hour special being aired on MLBN at noon today. Preseason game w NYY follows at 1