Alex Cora came into spring training in February with a good idea of how he wanted to manage this Red Sox ball club. After all, he was the bench coach for the World Champion Houston Astros and witnessed a style of play that was successful. The two teams are similar in style but not exactly alike.
Cora announced in spring training that he would like his hitters to be more aggressive at the plate early in the count and to not chase balls in the dirt but wait for a good pitch to hit. That was also the plan for the Astro hitters and still is. It seemed as though everyone wanted him to hit Mookie Betts third in the lineup to get more RBI but Cora was adamant about Betts leading off because he would get more at bats as well as more opportunities to win ball games late in the game. How is that working out? Houston has George Springer leading off. He’s a player who has power and can hit for a high average. If the Sox failed to sign J.D. Martinez then we might have seen Mookie in the third spot of the lineup.
I believe Houston has the edge with their starting pitching right now with Verlander, Cole, McCullers, and Keuchel. Their bullpen is decent with Rondon, Peacock, and Giles but the Red Sox bullpen with Kelly, Barnes, and Kimbrel can be very effective too.
Overall, Cora has used the bullpen well but he said in the spring that he would use right handers against left handed hitters if he feels they have done the job in the past. That has backfired a few times already this season and may come back to bite him later in the season.
I think Cora has done a good job managing the Red Sox so far this season. He was especially smart to take some of the ideas he observed from Astros manager AJ Hinch. He also seems to listen to his bench coach Ron Roenicke who has experience as a major League manager.
The players like and respect him which is a half the battle. September will be the ultimate test for him but right now he’s doing just fine. The addition of JD Martinez, no doubt, has made a big difference in the lineup and Betts and Benintendi are off to great starts. We all know pitching will have to be good to have a chance to get to the World Series. Cora’s plan for this team has been working and the Nation seems to like what he’s doing on the field. It looks like the Red Sox could not have made a better choice.
Feature Photo Courtesy of WBUR