Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Alex Cora Era Begins

The Red Sox had their press conference yesterday introducing their new manager, Alex Cora. Most everyone I can find thinks the hiring was fantastic, and the press conference only made that feeling even stronger.

I’m not going to disagree with that. But, I am going to wonder when the last time people left an introductory press conference thinking ‘My gosh, I can’t believe they actually hired that guy.” 

And, Cora certainly seemed to say all the right things yesterday. It looks like he has an idea of what he’d like to do, which is the biggest thing when your start as a new manager. I wasn’t thrilled when he mentioned his close relationship with Dustin Pedroia. Last thing this team needs is another manager to allow Pedroia to run amuck in the clubhouse. But, he did reference having to have some tough conversations with Carlos Beltran in Houston. So, maybe he’ll knock Pedroia around when he needs to. We’ll have to see.

I did like how he understood that there needs to be a balance between numbers and guts. The way I always thought analytics should be used is to help your gut make more informed choices. Not to blindly control the way the game is run. I thought the game seven example he gave was perfect. They had a game plan at the ready. Every all-star in their pitching staff was in the bullpen ready to go at a moment’s notice. But, the coaching staff looked at what was happening on the mound, and decided “let’s give this guy another inning.” At some point, maybe using the guy on the mound pitching well is a better option that assuming that Verlander still has something left in the tank. Sure, if the guy on the mound is struggling, by all means consult the spreadsheet to see who might be a good option to bring in next. 

I’m glad he’s continuing the philosophy on the bases of aggressiveness, when it’s called for. Sure, those decisions can be tricky on the fly. But, if they’re reinforced over time, they’ll be easier. I don’t want this Sox team to be a station to station team. They’re too athletically talented for that. They need to put the pressure on, and take what they’re being given. Don’t back off. But, don’t be stupid.

The rest will come as the season progresses. This team has loads of talent. Will this change be the kick in the pants they need? Will there be some tweak that Cora makes that leads to more success?

How long before the title of this post becomes “The Alex Cora Error”?

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