After Series win with Astros, Cora can end their run
BOSTON — Alex Cora led the Red Sox to a victory over the hated Yankees. Next up for the first-year Red Sox manager: The team he left after winning a World Series as a bench coach last season.
“I’ve been talking about them the whole season, so now we go,” he said after the ALDS. “Best of seven. They know me. I know them. “It should be fun.” An infielder who spent 14 years with six big league teams, Cora was with the Astros for one year before the Red Sox made him the first minority manager in franchise history — and one of its youngest, too. His first season is already a success, with a franchiserecord 108 victories, a third consecutive AL East title and the team’s first playoff series win since 2013.
Now he has to do it again — against his former boss, A.J. Hinch.
In his first postseason series as a manager, Cora seemed to make all the right decisions, like starting Brock Holt in Game 3 and seeing him hit for the only postseason cycle in baseball history.
And then he put Holt back on the bench in Game 4 and watched Ian Kinsler come through with a key RBI double.
“We’re very fortunate to have a guy in A.C., who isn’t very far removed from playing the game, which definitely helps,” Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes said. “You have a guy who won the World Series last year, so he knows what it takes to win a World Series.
“It seemed like every button he’s pushing is the right one. I think he’s got a great feel for the game. He understands the game. He does a great job of managing and communicating with everybody on what’s going on, and I think it showed in this series, and it will be awesome moving forward.”
Hinch said he is happy for his former assistant, who was a sounding board on strategy and preparation and took over when Hinch was ejected.
“(I’m) trying to remember some things that I told him that I wish I wouldn’t have,” Hinch said Wednesday when the Astros worked out for the first time since learning their next opponent.
“The bench coach and the manager are really tight,” Hinch said. “He was obviously right next to me every step of the way. As a bench coach, you’re kind of involved in everything (but) maybe master of nothing when it comes to not being in charge.”
Hinch and Cora have maintained a friendship through their year apart, even exchanging text messages through the first round. That’s going to stop. “He’s encouraged me. I’ve encouraged him,” Hinch said. “The banter ... conversations will probably minimize a little over the next couple of days.”