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October 27, 2018

Alex Cora

Boston, Massachusetts - postgame 4

Red Sox - 9 Dodgers - 6

Q. I did want to ask you, the cameras loved showing Chris Sale yelling in the dugout and trying to fire everybody up, and it did coincide right before you rallied. Did it have any impact or what do you think contributed to that rally?
ALEX CORA: Chris, in the dugout screaming? My English is very limited, so I didn't understand what he was saying (laughter).

But we felt that we had no energy, actually none whatsoever. It had to do with Rich Hill, the way he was throwing the ball. Obviously the big swing by Yasiel. But one thing about our team, we keep playing. It's been like that the whole time. We know that in the last third of the game we've been really good throughout the season, in the playoffs, and Mitch with a big swing and that got us going.

Q. Could I just ask you, we know teams can come back, we know it's never over until it's over. Can you talk about the way this team came back? You said there was no energy, the Dodgers were pretty dominant at 4-0. The way this team came back, talk about that, what it says about your team.
ALEX CORA: There's only two teams left in the Big Leagues right now, and both teams are going to fight till the end. We did it, they did it, too, until the last inning. Sometimes in October we talk about mechanics and how you feel at the plate and all that, and sometimes it's will. And you will yourself to do great things. And it started very simple. A few good at-bats and then the big swing, and we kept rolling and we didn't stop playing.

Q. What does it say about your team?
ALEX CORA: I mean, they're great. I love my team. I mean, they're very talented. They understand that it takes nine innings or 18 innings and 7 hours and 15 minutes to finish games, but they love to play baseball. They've been doing it since Spring Training. They've been very consistent throughout. And now we're in this position.

Q. What is it about your team that has them mentally focused correctly in a pinch-hitting situation, with so much on the line they were able to deliver on multiple occasions?
ALEX CORA: I don't know, because the manager didn't believe in pinch-hitting early in the season. I thought pinch-hitting was a tough spot, a tough at-bat, but obviously we're in the National League, and we have to do that.

Mitch has been amazing during the playoffs, and they understand their roles. They know where they're at. They know there's going to be a chance to contribute, regardless if you are on the bench.

Sometimes it's personnel. At one point I felt that our bench wasn't suited for that, but then we added Steve and Ian, and now we've got more options, and they've been good at it.

Q. Can you take us through the sixth inning with Eduardo.
ALEX CORA: I pushed him too hard. I had Joe ready, I had Barnesie read ready, Turner, we felt that we could get a ground ball. That's the inning you were talking about, obviously. I knew it was coming.

Turner tucks one down the line. We walk Machado. We make a great pitch to Bellinger. We don't get the double play, they scored one. We felt the matchup was good for us, that matchup is good for us when Eddie is fresh, and he's able to get that fastball up. I had Barnesie ready and I was actually kicking myself for a few innings before the comeback.

Q. From where I sat it looked like you were on the cusp of taking him out after the Muncy strikeout?
ALEX CORA: No, not there. It was actually Machado was the guy that we were talking about with Joe and -- actually Barnesie. It was one of those that he was throwing the ball well, 95 with a good changeup. And he gets Muncy out, strikes him out. Pitch to Turner, okay, whatever, he topped it. And then he put myself in a situation, okay, we walk this guy, and we can get the double play with Bellinger; we almost did.

But the other one, that's the one, if it's early in the season or in April, whatever, and he's fresh, we'll take that matchup anytime, and he didn't make the pitch.

Q. Speak generally to how he did tonight.
ALEX CORA: He was amazing. He was amazing. From pitch one, his stuff was there. Very similar to his start in Chicago when he came back off the DL - 95, 96, good changeup, good command, able to elevate pitches. He was in command. Probably his best outing of the season, and one pitch kind of put him in a spot that it was a tough one for them, and it almost cost us the game.

Q. What was your level of concern about your team after that thing last night and being able to come back after playing for 20 hours or whatever it was?
ALEX CORA: No, no, last night, no. It was just a loss. I think for everybody else it's a crushing loss, but after the game we were up 2-1. And we knew Eddie was going to give us a good start. And we were lined up the rest of the series, if needed, games 6 and 7 with Chris and with Nate and Rick for Game 7.

We're in a good spot pitching-wise. You saw it today. Joe was amazing. Craig, he stumbled a little bit, but it is what it is, he got the three outs. And David was ready to come in, if necessary. So I know a lot of people thought we were short, but not us. We knew Eddie. It's a good matchup for them velocity-wise and the changeups.

Very proud of Eddie. To come in, he hasn't started in a while, and to do that and put us in a spot to win, he gave us a chance to win, that was amazing.

Q. I mean, more about the fatigue.
ALEX CORA: No, it's over now. In October, it really doesn't matter. They just want to play. They just want to play. We just canceled BP. I know a lot of people hate that, and we have to do that. In a regular season if you play seven hours, you probably don't hit for a week. We didn't hit today. We're not hitting tomorrow. Keep it simple, be ready to play tomorrow.

Q. As a past World Series champion, you know that the fourth one is sometimes the toughest one to nail down.
ALEX CORA: Tell me about it.

Q. So what kind of mindset do you hope your players take with a 3-1 lead moving forward?
ALEX CORA: Well, I think today we learned a lot today, like you've got to keep playing. Because we had the lead, means the other team is going to show up and play a good game. And we actually picked it up in the latter part of the game. And they kept playing.

So they know where they're at. We know. We've got three shots, I guess, if it doesn't happen. We'll be ready to play tomorrow. We're very excited to come here and try to finish it.

Q. Obviously they did a pretty good nice job neutralizing Mookie and J.D. today. What does it say about your team that you scored nine runs without those two guys?
ALEX CORA: That we're talented, and we don't only rely on two guys. Brock did a good job. Steve, he was amazing, Mitch with a big swing. We kept putting up good at-bats. Throughout the season, they were amazing, but we had some players with good numbers, Xander, Brock had a great season, all of them. They kept fighting. Rafy coming off the bench tonight. Yesterday I pinch-hit for him, and today he pinch-hits. We loved the matchup and he put a good swing, and he made a great play on third base.

That's what it takes. To win this whole thing, it's not easy. It's not easy. And today that last third of the game was amazing.

Q. Steve Pearce, obviously you acquired him to platoon with Mitch, face left-handers, but he's pretty good against right-handers.
ALEX CORA: He's been good against right-handers. He hit the three home runs against the Yankees, I think two off CC and then against a righty, and the next day he hit one of Severino. But he was swinging the bat well with the Blue Jays from the right-hand side. He's a good at-bat. He doesn't expand. He stays in the zone and able to go the other way. Like today he was out in front of the first one, then gets a fastball and shoots it the other way. He's a complete player. He's a complete hitter. Very mature. The moment, it's not too big for him.

Q. During the game the president actually tweeted about Dave Roberts and questioned his decision to take Rich Hill out. Is there a place for that in baseball? How would you respond if the president was critical to you?
ALEX CORA: Dave Roberts is a good manager.

David Price is starting tomorrow.

Q. Why?
ALEX CORA: We feel like David is good tomorrow. He's okay. Chris is good. But it's something we talked about before the game. Hey, easy brother (laughter). Well, nobody asked. I'm going to wait for Russo to ask me again.

We feel that like -- we talked about it before the game and this is a good spot for David, in a National League park to start a game. Obviously he's been throwing the ball well. It's not that we're playing with the lead, but we feel that for the team, for where we're at pitching-wise it's good for -- to go with David. We talked about it the whole day and we decided, I just talked to Chris and David, and that's what we're going to do.

Q. Is Chris okay?
ALEX CORA: Chris is okay. Actually he'll be back there. If necessary in Game 6, he's the starter.

Q. How did he take it?
ALEX CORA: Excellent.

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