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Cora: Red Sox will likely carry 11 pitchers in World Series

John Tomase
October 21, 2018 - 2:48 pm

The Red Sox will likely carry 11 pitchers in the World Series, manager Alex Cora said on Sunday.

While the Red Sox could choose to carry an extra pitcher, they prefer the flexibility of a 14th position player, particularly since it lets them pinch hit for their catchers.

“With us, it’s not about the pitching staff, it’s what we do offensively and how aggressive we are in the catcher’s spot," Cora said. "Most likely, we’ll stay the same. We still have to talk about it, and we’re going to talk about it after the workout with Dave (Dombrowski) and the front office and the analytical staff, but most likely it will be kind of like the same roster as far as, like, 11 pitchers.”

Making 11 pitchers easier to handle is the trend towards using starters in relief. The Red Sox have already received crucial bullpen innings out of Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, and Nathan Eovaldi this postseason.

"It’s more interesting," Cora said. "It is just, there’s so much information now that you can actually exploit weaknesses of the team, not only relying on starters or their usual set up guy or your closer. Somebody the last few years figured out there’s a lot of off days in the playoffs and you can use your starters as relievers or go with your relievers for multiple innings, and it’s fun. As a baseball fan. Forget the manager thing.

"Just watching Rick Porcello coming in the eighth and throw four-seamers and curveballs and the emotion he showed that was fun to watch. Then to see Nate throw 102 versus Bregman that was cool. I know the fans they love that and you only have 25 guys. You go from 35 in September and using everybody and all of the sudden, oh I only have 25 and we have to maximize the roster and I think that’s the only way you can do it."

The biggest question for Cora will be whether knuckleballer Steven Wright is available, and if he wants to add a left-hander to deal with Dodgers sluggers like Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and Joc Pederson, as well as switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal.