Alex Cora on goals: 'We just want to dance, man'

Amin Touri
July 28, 2019 - 4:49 pm

With the Red Sox winners of five of their last six and with a chance to complete a four-game sweep of the Yankees on Sunday night, Alex Cora had praise for his rotation's performance over the last week or so as the team claws back into the playoff hunt.

Boston's starters have thrown a total of 43.1 innings over the last seven starts — just over six a night — with an ERA of 3.74, a big improvement over the season as a whole.

"Everything starts with pitching," Cora said. "Those guys are giving us six innings almost every night, and keeping the ball in the ballpark too lately, so that's good. It's giving our offense a chance to get going. Shutdown innings, it seems like we score, they don't score, we come back and we add on, so. I've been saying all along, it starts with the rotation, and they've been doing a job the last six, seven days."

Meanwhile the offense continues to tick as it has all year, scoring a league-high 620 runs bolstered by big seasons from Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez, while Mookie Betts has been on a tear in recent weeks.

"We envisioned we'd have a great offense with Pedey being healthy, it's something I thought about during the offseason," said Cora. "Little did I know, we're still a great offensive team. You see the year's that Xander, Raffy and Christian, what they're doing, Brock when healthy, he's been solid, those guys are going to do their part. You look at Mookie and he's got what, 98 runs already? (Benintendi) is catching up, at one point Beni was hitting .150 against lefties, now he's hitting .270. It seems like it happened in two weeks. We're in a good place right now offensively."

Heading into Sunday's game, the Red Sox have closed the gap in the division to eight games behind New York, while they sit tied for the second Wild Card spot. While Cora wants to avoid the prospect of a Wild Card game, he said the team is just interested in getting to October one way or another.

"We just want to dance, man," Cora said. "We just want to get there, that's all we want. It really doesn't matter — obviously you want to avoid that game, that's the goal of every team that's in the playoff hunt, you don't want to play that game. But if that's the way, and we found a way to win that game and go on the road, we really don't care."

Chris Sale will take the ball at 7:05 p.m. as the Red Sox look to complete the sweep.