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October 13, 2018

Alex Cora

Boston, Massachusetts - postgame 1

Astros - 7, Red Sox - 2

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Alex Cora.

Q. With Sale, any explanation for the command problems he was having?
ALEX CORA: You know, the only command, the fastball, glove side for the righties, he didn't find the slider until the fourth. The change-up was okay as far as the change-up and far slider he wasn't there it was a struggle for him tonight.

Q. What happened with James after the bottom, James Hoye in the bottom of the --
ALEX CORA: I was arguing balls and strikes and he threw me out.

Q. Any explanation with what happened with Andrew Benintendi on that call?
ALEX CORA: The strike? Yeah. I mean, I guess Verlander executed his pitch and he called it strike. Andrew didn't agree. I didn't agree. It's a big pitch right there. It's ball four, bases loaded. They got Pressly in the bullpen. Most likely Verlander comes out of the game.

But you can't argue balls and strikes. And I did. It's kind of like embarrassing that it happens in the playoffs. That wasn't cool watching the game in the clubhouse. I got a job to do and manage the team in the dugout.

But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and you've got to defend your players. And at least Andrew stayed in the game and he had a few more at-bats and he played left field while I was watching in my office.

Q. Sale's velocity was a few miles per hour off obviously on his fastball. Is he hurt, is he physically fine?
ALEX CORA: No, early in the game it was off. But at the end you saw it 93, 94. He finished strong. But I felt like where we were in the game it was Reddick and the top of the lineup, it was better going to somebody else.

The other guys came in, did a good job. It was more about where we were in the game and the way we were grinding the at-bats. It was hard for him today. It was one-pitch pitcher fastball glove side. Beside that, I think he threw three good sliders in the third inning to finish off and then the last inning was a lot better.

So velocity-wise he finished strong. But I decided -- he wanted to go out again and I was like, no, man, it's going to be a long series, we need you.

Q. You got ejected from your first playoff game as a manager in the middle inning?
ALEX CORA: Fourth -- fifth playoff game.

Q. First postseason, I mean. And on a pitch that appeared to be a strike. Do you feel that you overreacted?
ALEX CORA: I disagree that it was a strike. But I don't know. I gotta do what I gotta do for my players. We didn't agree that the pitch was a strike. He did. You can't argue balls and strikes, and he threw me out. If you feel I overreacted, so be it. But from my end I don't think I did.

Q. Down one at home obviously increases the pressure on tomorrow's game. David 100 percent still your starting pitcher?

Q. 103-win team, so much talk going into the series and just overall a bit of a messy game, hit batters, errors. What did you see from that game overall just how it played out?
ALEX CORA: We had our chances in the first inning and there with the bases loaded with one out, we didn't cash in. We didn't make some plays defensively. And we got through the ninth inning with the game 3-2 and we're three outs away. We've got the closer and see if we can put a rally and we didn't finish the game.

They finish games. They're pretty tough in bullpens. And they grind out at-bats. I think it was ten walks, three hit batsmen. We didn't make plays. It wasn't the best night but if you don't take a positive from the game it was 3-2 going into the ninth.

Q. What was your thoughts on Nunez tonight?
ALEX CORA: Routine ground double play he didn't make the play then he makes a great play. The one on Springer that was a rocket. He tried to knock it down. He didn't. But at this stage you don't turn double plays, you don't make the routine play that our teams are going to make you pay. That's a tough team over there. You give him more than 27 outs and most of the time they're going to cash in.

Q. Any thought of going to Kimbrel there in the ninth down by a run to try to keep it close there?
ALEX CORA: We were thinking Rick and Work. They were in the lineup. Work if he executes pitchers we can get away with it because of the breaking ball and the fastball out. He didn't execute his pitches and they made him pay.

Q. You were able to get a word to the dugout at all; like is there any communication that you're able to have at that point about that decision with Kimbrel?
ALEX CORA: Not really.


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