Did Cora make the biggest blunders?
Oct. 21—BOSTON — Alex Cora’s greatness as a manager is real. The 2021 Red Sox are Exhibit A.
But he has not been perfect the last two nights, specifically in Game 5 here at Fenway Park.
He made two questionable calls that may have cost the Red Sox a win, or at the very least, a chance at winning.
No. 1: Not having Hunter Renfroe bunt with two on and no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, trailing 1-0. Rafael Devers had the Sox first hit, a sharp single, and then J.D. Martinez was hit in the foot. Up came Renfroe, who had a 2-0 count, in great position to do damage. Instead he grounder to shortstop Alex Correa for an easy double play. The inning ended with an Alex Verdugo groundout.
After the game Cora noted how great Framber Valdez was, going eight innings, allowing only three hits, including a solo homer to Rafael Devers in the eighth inning.
If that was the case, why not try to scratch a run, getting guys on second and third?
No. 2: After Chris Sale threw only nine pitches in the fifth inning, getting three relatively easy outs, and it appeared his game could be done or, really, should be done. He had done his job. But he came out for the sixth inning and, including an error by Kyle Schwarber (dropping a throw to first) and a blowout had began after Yordan Alvarez two-run double to left field, his third hit off Sale.
Why not have Tanner Houck, whose been ready for two days, go two to three innings.
Renfroe mistakes costly
You could argue that Hunter Renfroe’s bad route on a Carlos Correa’s line drive to right to open the ninth inning was the sentinel moment on Tuesday night.
The roof caved in soon afterward with seven runs eventually scoring.
You could argue that Renfroe hitting into a double-play, with two on and no outs … on a 2-0 … killed the only rally the Red Sox started.
In their next at bat, the Astros put a five-spot up on the scoreboard.
Afterward, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said there would be no changes to the lineup in Friday night’s Game 6 in Houston, including Renfroe.
“No, he’s playing,” said Cora, appearing miffed the subject was even broached.
Astros’ mojo … pitching
It goes something like this: Momentum is the next day’s starting pitching.
Well, the Red Sox incredible two-game run of 21 runs, which included three grand slams, seemed unstoppable.
While it was eventually slowed to a standstill, it wasn’t the Astros starting pitching, Zack Greinke that did it. It was reliever Christian Javier, who entered the game in the third inning after it appeared the Red Sox were looking for more crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
But Javier allowed only two hits over three innings. He did walk three batters and work his way out of two jams with Red Sox in scoring position.
Wednesday, Astros momentum started and ended with starter Framber Valdez, who was dominant. His sinker had extra bite according to Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
The Red Sox usually clog up the bases with walks, but only got one against Valdez.