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Alex Cora offers late-inning bullpen hints

Rob Bradford
October 05, 2018 - 5:09 pm

The biggest questions about this Red Sox team heading into the postseason was undeniably involving the bullpen.

So with the roster set for the American League Division Series -- putting Joe Kelly and Brandon Workman in the final two spots -- Alex Cora could start to formulate a plan for the final two innings. And judging by the manager's pregame media session it appears as though the final few outs will be the responsibility of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.

"It all depends on matchups," Cora said. "We've got the pockets. I talked to Dana (LeVangie). We have a, not scripted, but we feel Barnesy matches up well with one-third of the lineup. Brasier matches up better with one-third of the lineup. And obviously, we've got Craig. We'll see where we're at. Kind of like early in the season with Joe and Barnes, seventh, eighth and obviously Craig."

One wild-card for Game 1 will be potential Game 4 starter Nathan Eovaldi, who is available out of the bullpen.

"He threw today. We're not 100 percent sure how we're going to do it because at the end we have to be careful too as far as the workload where we're at in the game," the manager said. "He'll be there. Rick in case of an emergency. Everybody is available. This is the playoffs. We have a day off on Sunday and we can reset it with him for Monday."

Cora explained that picking Kelly for one of the final spots was in large part due to the lack of homer the righty has allowed this season (4), along with some particular matchups in the Yankees' lineup (Neil Walker, Brett Gardner).

"It helps," said Cora referencing Kelly's ability to keep the ball in the park. "For the way he finished the season, that stretch, still 100. When he’s mixing up his pitches and he’s landing his breaking ball, he’s tough to hit. Helpfully we can get the April, May guy and he can dominate for three weeks."

Not need to match-up a lefty specialist against the Yankees' lefty hitters also weighed into the decision to go with Workman.

"With Work, multiple innings, fastball up, curveball. And then you don’t have to match up too much with them," Cora said. "The other one is Didi (Gregorious) actually and with Didi we’re comfortable, it’s kind of like the same. Lefty or righty. We’re not going to carry a lefty just to carry a lefty. We’ve got Eduardo (Rodriguez) who can give us multiple innings or we can match up with him."