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October 28, 2018

Alex Cora

Los Angeles, California - pregame 5

Q. Just a thought on David Price and also what you expect from him tonight?
ALEX CORA: It's a full go. He's done it before. He's in a good place, not only mentally but physically. We feel he can do this. It's not a case of he's the opener, whatever they want to call it. It's a full go. Behind the whole thing, the thought process, and we know that's a good team. And they're not going to give up. And obviously we have to get 27 outs and be on top to win the whole thing.

But I think we're covered for the regular season, the playoff season. And obviously it's not being negative, you have to prepare. He can bounce back, if it doesn't happen today. And he'll be in the bullpen in Game 6 and in Game 7, if needed.

Chris will have extra days' rest, if he has to pitch Game 6. You guys know about him coming from injury and then his infection in the belly button (laughter). It was tough for his belly button to bounce back and go to the bullpen in games 6 and 7. And that's the reason behind it. It's not that we're trying to reinvent this. We're just being prepared.

If it was a tied series, we were going with our starters on full rest.

Q. But no setback?
ALEX CORA: No, no setback.

Q. You use the phrase "all in" you will the time. Where did if come from and what does it mean to you?
ALEX CORA: I don't know. Like I said, my English is very limited (laughter). I'm talking to you guys and it came up, and just been running away with it.

It feels that way. Actually today I was on the way to the ballpark with Carlos Febles and we were talking about playoffs and the experience and being a manager, being a bench coach, being a player, being an analyst, and it's a different feel. When you're sitting here and when you're sitting in that desk or you're standing in that dugout as a manager, you have a feeling different than probably the coaching staff. That's a cool feel.

First of all, the players, they make it happen. Their willingness to do the things that they're doing right now. I don't know if you guys noticed, Nate, he went to the bullpen yesterday. Rick was in the bullpen yesterday. Like I said, it doesn't mean that they're going to pitch, but at least they're showing that they're willing to do whatever it takes for us to win a World Series. And when you see that and you guys don't know the whole story, obviously, but the medical department, the pitching coach, the bullpen coach, Banny (Bannister), the coaching staff, we gathered everything, the information, and then we make decisions. And I feel that with the group we have, why not go all in, because we know we're going to be able to bounce back, we're going to be covered. A lot of people thought that we were short pitching-wise yesterday, and we never felt that way.

It's a cool feel. It's a cool feel.

Q. Can you just speak to the availability of your bullpen, if anybody is absolutely not available tonight? And then specifically with all the doubts kind of that group had around it, can you speak to what Joe Kelly in particular has brought this postseason, if anything changed for him, if he surprised you at all or how well he's pitched for you in the playoffs?
ALEX CORA: Everybody is available tonight.

Q. Even Sale?
ALEX CORA: Everybody's available.

With the bullpen we felt that we were going to be okay going into October. We had the luxury of resting guys, change their usage in September because of our lead in the division. And obviously we felt that we were going to have the best record in baseball to have home-field advantage. And we start Brasier, we didn't abuse him in September. Barnes gets hurt, which at the end it really benefitted him. We knew we were going to have an extra arm in every game in October.

And with Joe, he was amazing the first part of the season, and he struggled. Usage, change, he started relying a lot on his fastball. He wasn't able to land his breaking ball early in the count. And he got away from his changeup, which is probably his second-best pitch. He throws 100 which at the end of September when we start talking about rosters and all that, it's hard to leave a 100 out of the 25-man roster in October. He's pitched in the World Series. He has experience. And he started throwing the ball well towards the end. Made some adjustments mechanically and you see the results, and he's been amazing. He's been great.

But all of them, if you think about it, we haven't had too many bad innings out of them. When you can remember at-bats, and it's October whatever, and I can go to at-bats that, okay, we got burned there, Voit against Brasier, first pitch, double down the line; Marwin, Yuli home run. That's good, because it's only like three that I remember that we got burned throughout. But they've been amazing.

Q. (No microphone).
ALEX CORA: Every out is big. Every out is huge. Like I said yesterday, I was kicking myself for extending Eduardo but then that's the beauty of this game. I should have gone to Joe at that time, but then they picked me up, and then we got Joe, who can go two innings. That's the beauty of baseball. It happened for a reason and he was tremendous for us last night.

Q. What is the likelihood that Sale would come in and pitch in relief tonight?
ALEX CORA: Perfect. Perfect like in New York when he came in in Game 4.

We know where we're at. We know who we're playing and we mapped this out to be covered and be almost at a hundred percent if the series extends. So we've got to be very, very careful the way we use him. But it has to be almost perfect. But he'll be ready.

Q. If you can think back to the beginning of the World Series, beginning of the ALCS, the beginning of the Division Series and the conversations that you were having with your medical people, did the ability of specific pitchers to bounce back, pitch consecutive days, allow anybody to get on the roster for each of those series?
ALEX CORA: Not really. You use the schedule to your advantage. We know that there's off-days. There's just going to be an off-day, after the first two games, there's going to be an off-day after the next two days in the Division Series, and then the Championship Series, it changes, it's an off-day. So you take advantage of that. We're still looking at pitch usage in high-level situation and stressful innings, but at the same time it's October. And those guys, like I've been saying, they're ready to go.

And there was one game that -- we got information from the medical staff and the analytical staff about our relievers, red, yellow and green. And there was one game that -- that was the only time we got the card, actually. They sent it, and I saw one of the guys he was red and red, which means that he was very red. And I actually stayed away from him at that point, and it almost cost us the game. I don't remember who he was. And the next day I told them, do not send me the card, please, because it's the playoffs, you know? You make decisions, you've got to take care of them, obviously, but if you tell them that you're down, I can't even imagine their reaction.

So we've been doing a good job with that, staying away from the card, and just asking them what they want to do. You've got guys showing up here at 11 a.m. getting treatment and trying to get ready to bounce back and perform.

Q. What do you remember about the '07 championship team that you were on? What distinguished that Red Sox group and were there any similarities to this one?
ALEX CORA: Offensively very similar, two guys that carried the offense and another guy that -- Pedey. We had David and Manny and Pedey was amazing. Youk was good. Surrounding those two guys we had good bats. It's the same way here, we got Mookie and J.D., but the at-bats around them, they're great. It's a relentless group that -- we're not as patient as that group, but we grind at-bats and we foul pitches. And obviously we drive the ball out of the ballpark, but we can do other stuff, too; we can run. That year I think Pedey stole like 20, we had Coco who had speed and Jacoby, Youk was a good baserunner. Offensively we did a lot of good things. And then the bench, it was amazing, they had the best utility guy in the bigs in 2007. That guy was great (laughter).

Q. What was his name?
ALEX CORA: Jose Cora (laughter).

And then you've got Bobby Kielty off the bench, switch-hitter, that could do damage. Very similar to Mitch yesterday. Mitch saw one pitch, hit it out of the ballpark. Bobby saw one pitch in that World Series and hit it out of the ballpark.

Bullpen was great. Rotation carried the load in '07 and it's just like this one. Yeah, and both managers, they're bold (laughter).

Q. Your players have said repeatedly that they feed off your even-keeled temperament and it helps them. Other than umpires, do you yell at anyone? Do you show temper?
ALEX CORA: No, no, I don't. I talk to them and I try to stay in tune with them. If I have something to tell them, I just sit with them. Very casual. Very casual. And, I don't know, I'm 43 and we have in some aspects the same interests.

I try to do it that way. It feels right. It feels right. I played for a lot of managers and I learned from them, from all of them, from Davey all the way till the last one, Riggleman and Davey again. I learn. And I never had a manager that was like rah, rah, screaming at guys. They always had good conversations, and I learned from them and that's what I'm trying to do.

Q. (No microphone).
ALEX CORA: Away from the ballpark? I don't have time for that, man. Just be a dad, change diapers and enjoy the twins and Camila.

Q. A lot has been made of the Dodgers kind of top-down, way of managing and scripting a ballgame, and the place Davey plays in it. How does it work in Boston with an old-school GM like Dombrowski? Do you get a lot of top down? And how much autonomy does that give you in managing a game?
ALEX CORA: We get information and we use it to our advantage, that's how we operate.

Q. You said '07 and some other teams were more patient, maybe. How were you able to use the aggressiveness of your hitters in a positive way while still knowing they could still could grind out bats and do the right things that way?
ALEX CORA: Last year I lived it. When your leadoff guy is 6 '4", 250, and he can put the first pitch out of the game out of the ballpark, it makes the pitcher -- it makes them execute from pitch one. It's not comfortable. You cannot just groove a fastball right down the middle. You never know what that leadoff guy can do. He can hit it the out of the ballpark right away. So you have to execute, and that's why.

We've been telling them from the get-go, sometimes we fall into the bad takes. Bad takes last year is just a predetermined take. Fastball right down the middle and just take it and you're down 0-1. And we're trying to avoid those. And like I said, sometimes they still do it. And we will get better.

But I do feel that from the get-go, last year with George, this year with Mookie, they're threats. And then from the first pitch you have to execute. And that's why we preach aggressiveness, but it has to be in the strike zone. Stay away from the edges of the strike zone, which they've been doing an outstanding job pitching to that, they've been great, actually. But if you do that, your chances of getting on base and doing damage, they're a lot better. And that's what we want from them. If it's not there, just take, take it.

Q. Obviously you're rather familiar with this place and there's so much history kind of crawling through the tunnels, the walls here. Is there a piece of memorabilia or trophy that really wowed you the first time you saw it?
ALEX CORA: Just the stadium itself. You come here and you walk around and there's 55,000 people and that uniform is unique. It's beautiful, actually. And then you put it on and you feel it. What they do as an organization, too, I know they're in Arizona now, but you go to Vero Beach, Dodgertown, that was awesome. Just staying there and see all the legends walking around and trying to help you out. The Dodger way, too. They teach you not only to be a good baseball player, but a pro off the field, how to dress, how to talk to the media. The way they did it with us when I signed in '96 it was tremendous.

And then you've got Garvey and Cey and Russell and Jaime and Mr. Scully, just walking around. And you're like, wow, this is great. They do an outstanding job as an organization keeping those guys involved, which is great. We do the same thing. Obviously the Yankees do it, too, there's a lot of organizations that there's a lot of history and they keep their guys involved which I think is a plus for everybody.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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