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Alex Cora explains pair of key decisions in loss to Yankees

Rob Bradford
September 19, 2018 - 8:50 am

NEW YORK -- With the Red Sox prioritizing the postseason these days, deciphering in-game decisions can be tricky. 

That was the case in the Sox' 3-2 loss to the Yankees Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

First came Alex Cora's choice to end Nathan Eovaldi's night after six innings and 83 pitches despite the fact the righty was cruising through the Yankees lineup. The fact that righty had thrown 90 pitches in a Red Sox uniform just once suggested this might be Cora's path. But considering the roll the starter was on, going a few more batters might have been tempting.

Not according to the Red Sox' manager.

"We got to take care of him," Cora said. "He hadn’t pitched in a while. It was something coming in, I had an idea, we wanted six. That was a stressful inning, that sixth inning."

Then there was the choice to go with Ryan Brasier against switch-hitter Neil Walker with one out, runners on first and second and the Red Sox clinging to a one-run lead in the seventh inning. Despite Walker hitting 53 points worse vs. left-handers, Cora decided against going with lefty Bobby Poyner (who was warming up).

After the game, there was an explanation.

"It was more about, if it was two outs with men at second he was coming in because (Luke) Voit was on the bench," Cora said. "And I felt better with two outs and him able to expand the zone, up in the zone, and the changeups. If we walk him, we walk him and then we have Brasier for (Gleyber) Torres. But when we walked (Gary) Sanchez I wanted a groundball and we’ve seen Brasier has been able to do throughout the season. It didn’t happen today."

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