Photo Credit: nesn.com
By Joshua Nord-@nordjoshua
I know, I know, “What the hell could you possibly complain about!? He’s leading an 86 win team! You’re an idiot!” You say.
You might be right on the last part, hear me out though.
We all agree Alex Cora is doing better than former manager John Farrell with the Sox. Hell, this time last year the old skipper seemed absolutely clueless with a club who was headed for another ALDS exit. In fact there’s no shortage of clueless old guys who’ve lost complete control of the clubhouse. You’d only have to look at the New York Yankees as proof of that.
So what’s the issue then? Well as good as this team has been, the fact of it is that Alex Cora is a first time manager. First time managers are prone to making mistakes. We’ve even seen it from him this season. Keeping David Price in too long against the Yankees, or forgetting to make a defensive switch in that statement comeback against the Rays in April. These mistakes are often ignored because this team is so talented they win in spite of it. It only takes a massive fool like Farrell to make a dent in this good a team as we saw last year.
This is not to say I’m against Cora. He was my pick as manager, he’s young, a Spanish speaker, an ex player from the organization itself, bench coach to a world series winning team. He’s everything I felt the Red Sox needed. But how much of the team’s success is based on the managers performance? And not just being an incredibly talented team that’s finally hit their stride?
Alex Cora has benefited from it regardless being able to realize his “Get rested for the playoffs” philosophy to its fullest. We’ve seen it all season, but we only pay attention to it as fans when the team loses. Most notably the no-hitter by Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea.
Think I’m wrong? How loud would the outcry be if the Yankees won game one of this past series when probable starter Chris Sale was put on a precautionary ten day disabled list stint, and Brian Johnson took his place on the mound? Or if as mentioned above if the Yankees did more damage to an outstretched David Price?
The Red Sox win, but look at how the fans respond to Aaron Boone after the Yankees fell behind their rivals in the standings. Everything he does, did, and will do is put under a microscope. Fans are already hoping that his tenure will end as soon as the season does. Think it’s a ridiculous comparison? The New York Yankees have the second best record in baseball. If a second best record and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs can’t save you from the fans ire if you make mistakes, imagine what would happen if Cora’s Red Sox go down a game in the playoffs and the media, fans, and the team itself all put on this “here we go again” look?
Because that right there, is going to be the real test for this first time manager.
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