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October 18, 2018

Alex Cora

Houston, Texas - postgame 5

Red Sox - 4, Astros - 1

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Alex Cora.

Q. What was your hope to get out of David going into tonight? And walk us through your thoughts as he's cruising.
ALEX CORA: We knew he was a full-go. I talked to him after we found out about Chris. So he was ready. Yesterday I know he threw in the bullpen, but he really didn't get hot, I think, probably at the end. So he didn't make too many pitches.

With David, it's about command. From the get-go he had it. His velocity was up. He used his changeup a lot early in the game, a lot different than the first start. And I didn't feel for whatever people think, thought about David outside of the clubhouse. He threw the ball well in Boston.

Springer hits a broken bat double and then he made a bad pitch to Marwin. But I felt he threw the ball well. And very happy for him. Obviously very happy for the organization, for everything that went on. But for him to show up today and pitch six innings, vintage David Price.

There was a lot of noise. I was saying today that -- I don't want to pick battles with the media, but I heard somebody today on TV just blasting David, blasting him, calling him the worst pitcher in the postseason. Yeah, the numbers are there, I know, but he was saying this -- he didn't hesitate. It was a bad matchup, one of the greatest against the worst and all that.

I don't listen too much to what's going on outside, but that one got me. That one got me. And when he was throwing 94, and the changeups, whatever, I was thinking about that segment on MLB Network today. Probably the guy's going to blast me because I'm talking about him, whoever he is.

But you know what? I'm happy that David showed up today. And tomorrow we can turn the page and move on to the World Series with David Price.

Q. I know this is a goal you guys set out for in spring training, but most rookie managers don't get to sit here. What's this ride been like for you, regular season, postseason? And what's it like to celebrate your birthday in this fashion?
ALEX CORA: I mean, wow. It's a great day. It's a great day. It all started last year. Actually, no, two years ago, Mike Hazen, he interviewed me for the Diamondbacks job. And when they decided to go with Torre, he called me, he's like, it will be good for you to go out on the field. I think that's going to help you out.

A.J. Hinch and that group gave me a chance to be with them, to grow up as a coach, to learn a lot from different aspects of the game. And I'm very proud of that group. They had an amazing season. I'm proud of A.J. and what he did this season.

It's not easy to repeat. But he actually had a better regular season the last year with all the injuries that they suffered. And they battled until the end, and they're going to be around for a while because they're really, really good and it starts with him.

As far as today, we won -- the last out yesterday was like around 12:10. So we won two on my birthday. I'll take it. I'll take it.

Q. What was the most challenging part of this series for you in terms of managing it?
ALEX CORA: They're tough to pitch to. Bregman, Alex, he was swinging the bat well. We had a plan going into it. And one thing we did in New York the last two days. And I think we did through this series is to pitch to the edges and avoid damage. We kept the ball in the ballpark. And that's very important with teams like that and the Yankees and the Indians.

I've been saying all along, attack the blue zone and hopefully it's the safety net. And if they hit it, it's a single. We did an outstanding job, all around. The starters that came in were amazing -- Brasier and Barnes and Craig today. He made an adjustment that we noticed last night. And all of a sudden his hands were somewhere else and there were some bad swings.

So it's all teamwork. And it was amazing. They did an outstanding job. Offensively amazing, battling since the fifth inning in Game 1, we started battling at-bats and trying to win every pitch. And if it wasn't in the zone, we were going to take it. And we grind and grind. And now we're going to the World Series.

Q. You know what this means to the city of Boston. You know as well as anybody. What's it like for you personally and to lead this group to keep what started with Damon and those guys going?
ALEX CORA: It's special in every aspect. Not only as a manager, but as an individual. Just to manage this team, everybody knows the history of the city and history has positive sides and negative sides. And for me, as a minority, to be a manager in Boston, it hasn't been a challenge. People have been great with us, but obviously people talk about that. And to be able to lead this team, it's amazing. It's a great group -- very talented, very humble, very hungry.

They were very -- for two years very disappointed the Indians and the Astros and they didn't play well in October. And now we won, what, seven games already in October. We've still got four more to go.

Q. A lot's happened to you in the last year-plus. What's it feel like -- what's it like personally?
ALEX CORA: Personally, you know what? When the season is over I'll sit down and reflect on everything that happened. One thing for sure, I know there's a lot of people proud of me back home. I mentioned it earlier today during the celebration that I only asked for one thing on the negotiation. And I know a lot of people have made a big deal of that. But I just asked for a plane full of supplies. And we went down there and we helped 300 families in my hometown.

And I told them, people are going to say "thank you," very genuine, and they did. It was a life-changing experience for a lot of people in this organization. We've been going through a lot as a country back home. But if it's a special night for my country, well you know what, celebrate. It's amazing. It's amazing. I can't wait for this to be over and go home in the offseason and celebrate with them. And we still got work to do.

Q. In your end, your familiarity with the Astros, does that play more of a role than it would if it were, say, another team?
ALEX CORA: I don't know. One thing for sure. CB, our bullpen coach, he was with the organization five years and he was part of the pitching plan. And we met right before the season started team, and Tim Hyres and Barkett, with Bannister and Craig, and talk about each individual, their strength, their weaknesses, how they're going to attack hitters.

That's a great pitching staff. And give us credit. We were relentless the whole series. We pushed them to make a lot of pitches and foul pitches off. And it was a great game plan. So, I don't know. I know them, but I don't think during any game a decision that I made wasn't based off what I know about them.

Q. No team is perfect, but is this the closest thing to a team without a weakness that you've been a part of?
ALEX CORA: No, no, we're not perfect. That's the cool thing about this team. We feel that we can keep improving. And we have one more series to go, but we'll keep looking for stuff, just like Craig.

We found that out yesterday. We made adjustments and you saw the at-bats yesterday. They were a lot different. Too bad it took us so long to find it. But we keep searching for stuff for them to be better and hopefully that's going to help us to win four more games.

Q. Eovaldi was pitching pretty well. Kimbrel threw 35 pitches last night. Was there any thought of leaving in him in there, or was Kimbrel your guy all along?
ALEX CORA: No, because there was a chance that there was a Game 7. And we needed to be prepared for that. We knew the skinny guy was ready for Game 6, but in case there was a Game 7 it was going to be him. And no way I'm going to push him to lose him and then lose the game. That was going to be tough.


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