Alex Cora on OMF says he's not 'chasing wins,' despite disastrous start

Alex Reimer
April 24, 2019 - 3:33 pm

Alex Cora isn’t panicking despite the Red Sox’ continued slow start.

In his weekly interview Wednesday with OMF, the Sox skipper said he doesn’t regret keeping Matt Barnes sidelined in Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Tigers Tuesday, while Colten Brewer surrendered the lead in the eighth inning. Cora opted to keep both Barnes and Ryan Brasier in the bullpen for both games against the Tigers after heavily using them over the weekend in Tampa Bay.

“One thing I learned a while ago from Tito is that you don’t chase wins, because then it will catch up with you later on,” Cora said. “We’re playing 18 or 19 (games) in a row. You’ve got to be smart, because if you push it too hard, you’re going to be chasing your tail the whole week. It’s tough, and it just didn’t work out.”

Heading into Tuesday’s twin-billing, Cora predicted Chris Sale would finally put together a complete start. While it was arguably Sale’s best showing off the year –– he struck out 10 batters over five innings –– he still wasn’t his usual dominant self, with the Tigers hitting 26 foul balls of him. Nineteen of those foul balls came with two strikes.

Cora acknowledged Sale’s continued struggled, but also praised the Tigers on their qualify at-bats. “If you look at the game, he got the strikeouts, but it was a grind for him,” Cora said. “They did it last year to him, too, in Detroit after the All-Star Break. Is it game planning? Maybe? Do they see the ball better against Chris than other teams? Maybe. But it was a struggle, because he had good stuff. Fastball wasn’t 97 or 98, but it was good enough. The Slider was good, the changeup was OK, but he wasn’t able to put them away right away. There were a lot of foul balls, eight-or nine-pitch at-bats, and he only went five innings.”

While the starting rotation and bullpen continue to sort themselves out, the lineup continues to look relatively anemic. One of the worst offenders is Jackie Bradley Jr., who’s hitting just .134 with a .164 slugging percentage. 

Cora says he has faith JBJ can turn it around, as long as he doesn’t get too caught up in his mechanics and remembers he’s an athlete first and foremost.

“One thing I always tell Jackie is you can go through mechanics, but do not forget you’re a great athlete,” Cora explained. “Don’t take that away from who you are. You can run, you can backtrack the ball and hit it the other way. Sometimes we get caught up with mechanics, and you forget the most important thing: see the ball, hit the ball, and then go from there. That’s something we keep reminding him, and hopefully today is the day he hits a few balls the other way, and he just flips. We will get the guy from the second half last year. It wasn’t a rollercoaster, he was very consistent.”