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Alex Cora on D&K: 'I’m not worried about Craig [Kimbrel]'

Connor Donahue
August 08, 2018 - 4:00 pm

The Red Sox are rolling right now, winners of five in a row and nine of their last 10.

One thing that might be lost in the hysteria of seemingly running away with the division might be the slump that All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel seems to be in. Tuesday he let a 5-4 lead slip away in the bottom of the ninth in Toronto.

“Yesterday the velocity was good. The fastball command was good, he just fell behind [Justin] Smoak in a 3-0 count and he put a good swing on it,” manager Alex Cora said on Dale and Keefe Wednesday. “For me, personally, since Baltimore there’s been no command of the breaking stuff and I don’t know if [batters] are recognizing the pitch right away out of the hand or they’re doing a better job fouling it off.”

Kimbrel has allowed runs in four of his last five outings and has blown two of his four save opportunities since July 23. During that period, he’s the owner of an 8.44 ERA.

Even though it’s been a rough stretch, the skipper has faith in his seven-time All-Star.

“One thing's for sure, if we have a chance for him to come in tonight he’ll be there,” Cora said. “I’m not worried about Craig, I know he’ll show up tonight and do the job.”

Here are more highlights from the interview.

Cora on rest for the bullpen: “We still have to be careful of the workload, I’ve been saying it all along: when you start going through these stretches of winning nine out of 10, or 20 out of 24, I’m not complaining about it, but when you’re up three or up one you feel like you’re using the same guys. We have to make sure they’re fresh and healthy, so we’ll pay attention to that too.”

On team’s relentless attitude: “That’s the benefit of having power throughout the lineup. We’re just a walk and a bloop away from getting back into the game and a swing away from tying it or getting ahead, and that’s very important. It’s hard to get three or four hits in a row against starters, imagine against closers or set-up guys who throw 98 or 99. Power is very important throughout the lineup, we have good swings and that happened yesterday. We hit three [home runs] in two innings against guys that had plus-stuff, 96 or 97, a good fastball or a good cutter. I think that’s something that’s very important to our lineup.

On Drew Pomeranz and a possible move to the bullpen: “We have our rotation set up until Sunday. We’re going to have some conversations today about what’s next. [Brian Johnson] is pitching today and we’ll see where we go with Philly. I think as far as Drew, yesterday he was very inconsistent with his command. He had some flashes with his fastball but the breaking ball wasn’t there. And he knows, we need him to go deeper into games. We’ll talk about it today and we’ll make a decision in the upcoming days."

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