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October 9, 2021

Alex Cora

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

Boston Red Sox

Workout Day Press Conference

Q. Obviously, with Houck and Pivetta going the last couple days, do you have a plan yet for Game 4? Are you kind of just taking it day by day?

ALEX CORA: We'll do our thing tomorrow and then go from there. Most likely it's going to be Nick. We'll see. We have to make sure we win tomorrow, and if we have to use certain guys tomorrow, we'll do it. We've got capable guys to pitch Game 4 too.

Eddie is available. Maybe Chris is available. Nick, he's available. So we'll see how it goes tomorrow, and then we decide what we do in Game 4.

Q. Back in, say, August it would have been pretty unlikely to think of Brasier and Robles as two of your most important high-leverage guys in October, but is that sort of the nature of how bullpens evolve and how usage can be pretty unpredictable a week at a time?

ALEX CORA: Yeah. Both have been amazing. They made some adjustments throughout the season. I think Hansel had thrown more strikes, and he settled down. Like I said before, his stuff has always been great. It's just a matter of throwing more strikes and then use certain pitches in certain situations.

With Braise, I do believe him getting sent down for one day kind of lit a fire on him. He came back to prove to us that we made the wrong decision, and I'm glad that it's going this way.

He felt like his fastball wasn't playing when we went to Chicago and went to Seattle. I do believe his fastball is good. It's just a matter of he wasn't able to get it to where he wanted to. That's just part of the process, right?

This kid is throwing the ball similar to '18, similar to what he did last year, and I'm glad we have more weapons now. That's the nature of the sport. That's why I said 162 is real, and there's certain guys that they're going to have a great first half and they're going to struggle, other guys are going to come in, but then at the end, as a group, I think we're clicking at the right time bullpen-wise, and there's a lot of guys who are throwing the ball well over there.

Q. How did JD come out of yesterday feeling?

ALEX CORA: I think well. I haven't seen him, to be honest with you. The way he moved yesterday, the way he felt after the game, he was good.

Q. This might be an obvious question, but what type of balance does he bring to your lineup just having him back in there?

ALEX CORA: Yesterday he hit sixth out of necessity because I didn't want to play him, hit him in the middle of the lineup and then take him out because he got hurt or he wasn't able to continue.

I loved it. I thought about it this morning, and I'm like that's pretty good right there. That's good balance, a bunch of athletes in front of him, guys that they're getting on base at a high rate, including Alex, who's been amazing against righties throughout the season.

So we'll keep it like that. Against righties, that's going to be our alignment. We're going to keep it Kyle, Kike, Rafy, Xander, Alex and JD and go from there.

Q. What exactly happened with Richards and what did you see from Barnes last night?

ALEX CORA: Richards, he pulled his left hammy running, doing his work, conditioning. That happened during batting practice or before that, whenever they were throwing, so we had to make a decision. He wasn't going to be ready for tomorrow or the next day. It was going to take a while. It's hard because you lose him for the next round if we get there.

With Barnes, I think mechanically he's a little bit off. He's pulling his fastball. The breaking ball still plays. He got the lefties out, which is something that we took into consideration when we decided to add him because he's one of those guys that he's a neutral split and he can get the righties out. So that's why we added him.

But it was okay. He got three outs. I know he didn't feel great about it, but at the end, we still get 27 and move forward.

Q. Where do you go with Chris from here just based on yesterday and the one before that? What do you kind of do?

ALEX CORA: Keep working. We've got to work. There's a lot of people looking at video from now and a few years ago and all of that. He's the first one to admit it, he needs to be better, and he's working at it. We'll get him right, and he'll be ready for whenever we need him.

Q. Just to clarify, is relief an option for him right now?

ALEX CORA: No. We're not going to use him that way for health reasons.

Q. Sort of expanding on that, how do you balance what you've seen the last two times out there in essentially must-win situations and the guy who he's been in the past? With what you're getting out of him and the stakes but also knowing what he's accomplished when he's been on.

ALEX CORA: With him, there's no problem. He knows that, when I take the ball, it's when I take the ball. He'll go as hard as possible until I tell him that's enough. It just happened yesterday it was one inning and Washington was 2 1/3, whatever it was.

He's the first one to say that he needs to get better. We'll keep doing that. We have no issues taking guys out here because they understand that at this point it's not about who you are, it's about who we are, and he's the first one to say it.

We just talked today, I mean, there's a lot of work. A lot of work, from mechanics to tipping to everything. We're going to look at everything. Hopefully we can figure it out before he takes the mound again, and he'll be the guy we always envisioned.

Q. I know the focus is on tomorrow, but now that we know we'll have a game on Monday, can you just talk about the significance of playing in Boston a postseason game the same day as the marathon?

ALEX CORA: It's going to be fun. It's going to be a fun weekend. It's a special day for everybody here, I know that. It's a little bit different because the game is at night. I don't even know how we're going to move around the city to get here. Hopefully, we don't get stuck in traffic.

I can't even imagine. It's such a special day. I know it's different, of course, but things happen for a reason, right? If it's special early in the year, I think Monday with us playing in a playoff game and obviously what's going on during the day, I can't even imagine the feelings of the people here. It should be fun.

It's going to be a fun weekend. That's the only way I can put it.

Q. Are you going to wear the yellow?

ALEX CORA: I don't know. We'll see. There's other uniforms too, but I think those are out. We wear one, and we give it to the foundation, so they're gone. There's a few yellow ones and whatever. It really doesn't matter. Whatever we wear that day, it's going to be a special day anyways, and we know what it means for everybody here.

So we'll go out there and play the right way, and hopefully we'll make it more special.

Q. Would Houck be available this weekend, in these two games, out of the bullpen?

ALEX CORA: Oh yeah, he'll be available. Indeed.

Q. With Bogaerts, seeing the swings that he's taken between the Wild Card game and then again yesterday, what are you seeing with him right now?

ALEX CORA: A more mature player. He's 29 now. He grew up in one day. He was chasing a lot of pitches in Baltimore and in Washington, and right away, kind of like the at-bats change, and he start controlling the strike zone. When you do that, you do damage.

He started taking his walks -- I think it was at the end of that road trip, right? He took his walks, and he wasn't greedy. He wasn't trying to do too much. He's in a good place right now.

Q. Just to expand on Houck, just given the roll he's in right now or on, would he be in consideration to start at all in this series?

ALEX CORA: We'll take it day by day. For now he'll be in the bullpen tomorrow.

Q. Drew Rasmussen for the Rays was in here, and he's saying how he didn't expect there to be any surprises, like he didn't think that offensively, as far as his preparation, it would be much different. For you, from a perspective of yours and Nate getting ready for this lineup, at this point, because you know these guys so well, do you find yourself having to find different ways to prepare for them, or is it much of what you've seen in the past?

ALEX CORA: I think you learn every day from the opposition. We learn from them the first time they came here, and we learned from them yesterday. We keep trying to get better and trying to find ways to get people out or trying to find ways to attack their pitchers.

We're in constant -- in this game, you learn every day, and you keep getting better. That's what we try to do. We did it with the Yankees that last weekend. We lost three in a row, and we learned a lot from them. We've been learning about the Rays over the course of the season.

Our goal is to be better than them on a daily basis, and whatever we can learn the day before, the night before, we'll use it to our advantage.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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