Alex Cora explains why he pitched to Nomar Mazara

Rob Bradford
June 10, 2019 - 11:35 pm

Before a pitch was thrown to Nomar Mazara in the ninth inning Monday night, it was an interesting baseball debate.

With one out, the Red Sox leading by a run and runners on second and third, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was slated to face off with Mazara. There was little in terms of history between the two to help make any sort of decision, with the Rangers outfielder claiming one hit in three at-bats against Barnes while basically carrying the same batting average against lefties and righties.

But with first base open, the conversation regarding possibly walking Mazara to load the bases wasn't a crazy one.

Up next was righty hitter Hunter Pence, who wasn't as good against right-handers but was 3-for-4 this season with the bases loaded.

Cora chose to pitch to Mazara and bring the infield in. It resulted in a go-ahead single into the left-center field gap. After what would ultimately turn into a 4-3, 11-inning loss for the Red Sox, the manager explained his decision. (For a complete recap, click here.)

"No, we’re not going to walk the bases loaded," he said. "You can’t put that guy on the corner there, because then he cannot expand, and then you’ve got (Asdrubal) Cabrera behind (after Pence). You’ve got to play the infield in there. You play back, they tie the game. Where we’re at bullpen-wise, nah. You’ve got to finish it there. I’ve always said, the infield in, the infield back, it’s about defending lanes. Ten steps back, you give them that lane. That’s how it works nowadays. You’ve got defenses shifting. Positioning is just a matter of you cutting the angle. That’s what we’re trying to do there."