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October 5, 2018

Alex Cora

Boston, Massachusetts - postgame 1

Yankees - 4 Red Sox - 5

Q. Alex, can you talk about your bullpen today and the way you used them.
ALEX CORA: We made some pitches. Worked with the big strikeout, Barnes did a good job. Rick coming in and giving us two and then Craig got us four. It's about getting 27 outs. Having the lead. And we did it.

Q. Alex, were you like the rest of us and looked at the radar gun in that first inning and what did you see in him?
ALEX CORA: Like I said before, early in the season he wasn't throwing 99. He was throwing 95, 96. He pitched well. He pitched well. Tonight from the get-go, after McCutchen he was very aggressive in the strike zone, you could see good extension. Repeating his delivery. Breaking ball was good, change-up was good.

He did an outstanding job for us. Gave us a chance to win the game.

Q. Sandy Leon stopped a lot of pitches once the bullpen came in. How would you characterize his role in the victory and what he provides the entire season?
ALEX CORA: He's really good at blocking pitches. And actually I don't know how he does it, but he blocks it and he keeps the ball in his hand. There was one today that it was a breaking ball by Barnsie that almost bounced in the grass. I'll tell you right now he was able to block it. That's what he brings. Him, Blake and Christian do an outstanding job at the plate blocking pitches. They work at it. We're very comfortable with all of them.

Q. Before you the game you talked about scripting out how you wanted to use the relievers. How much did you work out and how much did you have to improvise?
ALEX CORA: We knew where we were going. We had an idea, Rick was going to be in the bullpen. And it didn't work out with Ryan. Voit was late on a fastball and hit the ball over first base. After that he lost control of his pitches. So we had to go to work. He did a good job getting Torres out with a 3-2 breaking ball. And we went to Barnes probably a little bit earlier than expect the. That's why you saw Rick in the eighth inning.

Q. Is that why you wanted to extend Workman into the next inning?
ALEX CORA: Yeah, we tried. In a perfect world it was going to be to be Barnes with two outs in the seventh. That's the game right there. We needed to shut it down and he did a good job.

Q. Alex, you mentioned Chris, do you feel like he was close to 100% or was that a matter of a competitor kind of gutting it out and figuring out how to win?
ALEX CORA: That one you have to ask him. I'm pleased with what I saw: 96, good command. Like I said before the game, it really didn't matter if it was 91 or 99, we knew he was going to compete. But that was good. Good fastballs inside of the plate. Elevated fastballs. The off-speed pitches were great. That was a good performance.

Q. Given what J.D. gave your team this year to strike the first blow in the first inning, what that meant.
ALEX CORA: Yeah, we were talking in the dugout a lot different than last year. The way the series started with the Astros. Beni did a good job going the other way, putting pressure on them right away. Pearce, that's why he was hitting third today. We felt that there was going to be traffic for J.D. and for Xander because of who we had in the first three spots.

And he got a good pitch to hit down in the zone. As you know, Happ lives upstairs in the edges of the strike zone. He was disciplined enough to get him down and put a good swing on it.

Q. You saw in Houston last year with starters coming out of the bullpen in October, how effectively that worked. Does that give you more confidence this year in doing that and do you think that's something you might want to use as an option going forward here?
ALEX CORA: I mean, one thing I learned last year to win a World Series is going to take 25, 27 guys to do it, regardless of their roles. In a perfect world the starter goes six. You have the seventh inning guy, eighth inning and ninth inning and you move on. To get 27 outs at this stage right now is very difficult. And sometimes you have to go to plan B or plan C.

Q. On Porcello, how far down in that plan A, plan B and plan C was that to use him? And what does that change for you going forward?
ALEX CORA: We'll talk about it tomorrow. Might say C and a half probably.

Q. Why Porcello instead of Eovaldi or Wright?
ALEX CORA: Steven right from the game he complained about his knee, and he wasn't available today. Actually, he had an MRI during the night. And we'll know more about it tomorrow. And before the game we kind of like look at Game 3 and Game 4 where we were, and we felt that in that slot that pocket Andujar, Torres, who was the other guy? Sorry. The bottom three hitters, Sanchez. It was a good one for Rick.

We'll talk about it tomorrow where we're going to go next, either Game 3 or 4. But we felt that was a good spot for him.

See you tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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