Postseason mentality pays off for Red Sox in second straight game

Rob Bradford
August 14, 2019 - 4:29 pm

The universal thought when it comes to playing postseason baseball is that a team has to prioritize digging in for a few weeks and what they hope are 11 wins.

Alex Cora has extended the usual timetable by a few months.

As far as the Red Sox' manager is concerned, his team is right in the heart of crunch-time.

"I’m a big believer that what they did last year for 162 games, mentally, being locked in day in and day out," Cora told reporters prior to Wednesday afternoon's series finale in Cleveand. "I’ve never seen anything like that. I played for teams in the big leagues and been in front of teams for five or six years. That was impressive. It’s not what they did on the field but to show up every day and have the mentality of turn the page regardless of what happened and let’s go get it …. People might say everybody does it but you don’t see it. You don’t see about it. We only have, what, 40 something days? A month and a half? So you get locked in for a month and it can help. Mentally, some people might see it as a grind.  Some others as a challenge. I see it as an opportunity to get it right and get hot. We’re about to find out if we’re going to be able to maintain this mentality and the grinding for a long period of time."

The approach has paid off for two straight days.

After emptying the tank in the Sox' 10-inning win Tuesday night, Cora and his crew came back and kept the momentum going with a 5-1 win over the Indians Wednesday. The victory -- which gave the Sox two of the three games at Progressive Field -- once again saw the manager use both Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Cashner in high-leverage relief outings to help nail down the win.

While the offense was supplied by the usual suspects -- with Xander Bogaerts hitting two home runs and the red-hot Rafael Devers adding another -- it was Cora's collection of relievers that allowed the Red Sox to pull away. Starting with Brian Johnson's 2 2/3 innings (giving up one run), the group of Marcus Walden, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, Eovaldi, Cashner and Brandon Workman shut out Cleveland for the final 6 1/3 innings.

It remains to be seen where the Red Sox go from here when it comes to the starting rotation, with off days awaiting Thursday and Monday. But for now, the combination of Eovaldi and Cashner have been just what the doctored ordered when it comes to outside-the-box relief-pitching solutions.

For a complete recap of the Red Sox' win, click here.

Logan Allen, who was one of the Red Sox minor leaguers shipped to San Diego in exchange for Craig Kimbrel, pitched against his former organization, spinning two shutout innings.

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