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A little talk with Cora goes a long way for Mookie

Rob Bradford
September 21, 2018 - 1:58 am

NEW YORK -- If it was always just this easy.

Manager talks to his star player in the midst of a slump and star player gets out of his slump. There you have it. That is, after all, what happened with Red Sox skipper Alex Cora and Mookie Betts after Wednesday night's game.

"He sat me down and told me to relax," Betts said. "He said you’ve had a great season. He repeatedly tells me, 'There is no doubt you're the best player in the league.'"

It sure looked that way during the Sox' American League East Division-clinching win Thursday night.

Whether it was due to the late-night get-together the night before, or simply because Betts was due, but the Red Sox outfielder once again emerged as one of the biggest difference-makers in baseball. He paved the way for the Yankee Stadium win by going 4-for-5 with a three-run homer (his 30th) off Aroldis Chapman. 

"He did an outstanding job," Cora said after his team's 104th win. "We actually talked a little bit yesterday after the game. It's human nature now that you look up at the scoreboard and there's a few things you want to do -- 30, 30-30, driving in 100. So, I mean, we knew that we were almost there. I talked to him yesterday. I said, 'Hey, man, your best series of the season was against Houston. You only chased one pitch out of the, just get back to that, relax, hit one the other way. You will hit one more home run.' He did a good job today with two strikes, going the other way, and then obviously the big home run off Chapman."

This was the right place and right time for Betts' resurgence.

He hadn't hit a homer since Aug. 30, while carrying back-to-back two-strikeout games into the series finale. This was the Betts the Red Sox had become used to and will need once after these final nine regular season games.

"From the beginning, AC (Cora) told us that we’re a special group," Betts said. "We have a great group of guys. We believe it. It’s just our job to go out and show up."

"Well it's fun to watch good players play. And I mean, you have a lot of good players when you win the number of games that we have done. But you're also in a position where sometimes your stars step up and you can see like a guy like Mookie stepping up today," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "A lot of other people contributed but when it came down the the nitty gritty he stepped up and had a big game for us. To win championships there's a lot that's involved, but a lot of times you'll find out that those star players make a difference."