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October 24, 2018

Alex Cora

Boston, Massachusetts - postgame 2

Dodgers - 2 Red Sox - 4

Q. Can you talk about being up 2-0 now. And how big an advantage is this?
ALEX CORA: I mean, at least we know if things don't go well in LA, we're coming back. So that's good.

We played two good games. Today a tough one. They pitched well. We put some good at-bats. We pitched extremely well. David was amazing. And then the bullpen did what they've been doing during October and now we're up 2-0.

Q. How much do you think Price's start in the LCS kind of led to the start tonight?
ALEX CORA: He's been throwing the ball well. He had the tough run against the Yankees. But the first start against Houston, George hits a broken-bat double and we don't finish a play, and then Marwin hits a home run. He threw the ball extremely well. He pitched great in Houston and today he was amazing.

He was missing his spots by not much. He was pitching to the edges of the strike zone. Good fastball, good two-seamer, good changeup. And like I said, in Houston, I get it, the numbers and all that, but this guy is a great pitcher, he's been one of the best pitchers in the Big Leagues for a while and he cares.

On a personal note, I'm very proud for him, very happy for him that now he can keep pitching. Like he said the last time, there's not going to be questions in Spring Training about David Price in October. He beat the Houston Astros in Houston. He beat the Dodgers here in Fenway Park. So I'm happy for that because he deserves it. This guy works, he cares about his teammates, and like I said before, he's one of the best pitchers in the Big Leagues.

Q. After watching it up close all year from the dugout, what makes Fenway Park such an advantage for you guys?
ALEX CORA: It's the passion the fan base has. It's something that I was looking forward to when Dave called and offered me the job. I know this is a special place. They live baseball 24 hours, seven days a week. And that's the cool part about this job, this team. We show up every day and if you need motivation, you go out there at 6:45 to stretch and run, I lived it when I played here, they'll get you going.

One thing that has caught my attention in October is when whoever is starting, they walk to the bullpen around 6:30, 6:35 or 7:30, half hour before the game starts, standing ovation and then the fans they go nuts. And I think that's really cool. And they were into every pitch. Two strikes, they stood up. Madson came in and he was wild, and there were screaming and they were loud. Sometimes we take them for granted, honestly.

But they showed up yesterday; they were amazing. They showed up today; they were great. And I know there's going to be a few people in Dodger Stadium, that they're going to be cheering for us, too. We travel well, so it should be fun.

Q. How big has Nate been in the eighth inning of the last two nights, and how does this impact how you'll use him in LA?
ALEX CORA: I don't know, we'll see. Rick is starting Game 3. You never know. Like I've been saying all along, we're all in every day. If we feel there's a chance to close the door with them, we'll use him.

The way it's mapped out, it's Rick in Game 3 and maybe Nate Game 4. But Nate might come in in the 8th again. If we have a chance to be up 3-0 with him on the mound and Craig, we'll do it. And then we'll figure out Game 4.

That's the beauty of the playoffs. It's actually fun because you map out everything over 162 games and you give guys rest and take care of guys, but now it's like pedal to the metal. And whatever happens that day, we'll take it. He's been amazing for us.

Q. Going back to Price, given his history in the postseason that you touched on but also just his history in Boston the last couple of years, what do you think it means for him to have this moment, this game, fans cheering as he walks off the field? What does it mean to him as a person?
ALEX CORA: You can ask him that. One thing for sure, I trust the guy, we trust him, we love him. Since day one when we had the meeting in Fort Myers with Chris, Sandy, Jackie and David, one thing I told him is moving forward. They did an outstanding job for a few years win division and all that. But he was struggling in October. And I'm the new guy. So I was like, I respect everybody that was here. I really appreciate what they did for me, John, when he was here in '07 and '08. But we have to move forward. Whatever happened last year, it really doesn't matter. We're here for a reason. And he's been outstanding. He's been outstanding.

I'm very happy for him. He was amazing tonight. He was into it, too. I don't think he liked the fact that I took him out in the 6th, I'll tell you that.

Q. I think you scored more than half your runs this postseason with two outs. You guys did it in the regular season, as well. What makes you guys so good at that? And how demoralizing is that for another team when you can strike like that with two outs?
ALEX CORA: It has to be tough. One thing in the playoffs, and we talked about it before we started, get the leadoff guy out, don't give up two-out hits or runners. And we've been doing that to the opposition, like you said.

Putting the ball in play in those situations is very important. I said it a few days ago, and I'll say it again we live in an era that .210 with 30 home runs and 70 RBIs is acceptable, it's a good season, and we don't believe that. There's certain situations that a strikeout is not just an out. And we put them in play, and they did again tonight, and that's why we won the game.

Q. David has been pretty gracious about "I don't care, I could lose every game that I pitch in the postseason as long as the team wins the World Series." Can this team win the World Series if that happens or do you need him to pitch the way he has been?
ALEX CORA: Who, David? David is a huge part of what we're trying to accomplish. He can say all he wants, whatever he wants to say. But he's important. And we rely on the starters, we do. What he did in Houston and what he did tonight, we needed it. You can go to the bullpen -- it's good to go to the bullpen but you've got to be careful. When you get six, seven out of your starters, then everything kind of -- like domino effect, everything falls into place. Without him going six, it was going to be tough tonight.

Q. How close were you to taking David out there in that fourth inning and what was the key to him going perfect the third time through the order?
ALEX CORA: The stuff was good the whole night. It's a matter of they've got good hitters. And it seemed like they made some adjustments the second time through the lineup. Started laying off pitches inside; he wasn't getting that call. He kept going to the two-seamer in to the righties, and they were close pitches but they were called balls. And it seems like they started looking for off-speed down in the zone, the changeup.

I was close. We feel that if we keep them in check there, we're going to score runs, and he did an outstanding job.

Q. You said a few minutes ago that David was really into it. Can you share some examples of that that we may not have noticed in the press box?
ALEX CORA: I think that's the first time I've seen the whole season where he went to the umpire after the third out and kind of let him know how he felt about the strike zone. You don't see that often. And when he did that, it was like, okay, cool.

And even in the sixth inning, probably he was thinking he was going back in the seventh. But you could see him, he got the last out, and there was a smile kind of like, yeah, I got it, I'm good. I'm in control. But by that time the manager had decided to take him out of the game.

Q. Can you talk about the job Joe Kelly has done the last few days.
ALEX CORA: I mean, so we had that guy early in the season and then he struggled throughout the middle of the season. In September he made some adjustments and the stuff started playing again. But in October he's been lights out. Breaking balls for strikes, good fastball, good changeup. Presence on the mound.

I'm happy for him. He's been tested the whole season. At one point he went from being the guy in the seventh, eighth inning to just a guy in the bullpen. And now he's back to the equation. When Joey is throwing strikes with all his pitches, he might be one of the toughest relievers in the Big Leagues because his stuff is that good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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