Alex Cora’s Why The Red Sox Won Their Fourth World Series In 15 Years

Just ask Eduardo Nunez.

Alex Cora’s auspicious rookie season as Boston Red Sox manager didn’t happen by mistake. Or just because he inherited an extremely talented team that couldn’t get over the World Series hump in the last two years.

Cora became a manager because he’s gifted when it comes to understanding the game of baseball. He’s a diamond-mining mastermind, who immerses himself in the intricacies of the game. He’s old school in that he isn’t afraid to play his gut in certain situations, but he’s new money too because he respects the percentages and studies player tendencies like a law student cramming for the bar.

When veteran utility guy Eduardo Nunez smashed that pinch-hit three-run homer in Game 1 of the World Series, he made Cora look like a genius. Cora showed great confident in Nunez by subbing him in for 22-year-old basher Rafael Devers who hit 21 homers during the regular season.  Little did we know that Cora had the situation planned out the day before. In going over the various scenarios in his head, Cora foresaw the possibility of the moment.

After Boston clinched the World Series in five game over Magic Johnson’s LA Dodgers on Sunday night, Nunez sat with FOX baseball crew legends A-Rod, Big Papi, Pedro and Big Hurt, and gave the world insight into the brilliance of Cora as a student of the game, a leader, motivator, teacher and  baseball strategist.

“(Alex Cora) makes me feel better than what I am,” Nunez said. That homer happened because he tested me the night before. He told me, I will start with Devers, but if they bring a lefty in, after the sixth inning with the game on the line you’re going to hit for him. So I was looking for the video of Alex Wood. I saw 8 or 9 pitches and 85 percent were breaking balls. So in that situation you don’t want to get beat by a fastball no way. So I was sitting on the breaking ball all at-bat. But I was prepared because Alex Cora tested me the night before “

Being prepared is how Boston steam-rolled the competition to 108 regular season wins and never lost more than 1 game in any of the series enroute to the championship. He was always a step ahead of the competition.

“I had a lot of experience with Alex Cora when he was younger. He and his brother Joey have always been baseball book worms,  said FOX analyst Frank Thomas. They’re always above the curve when it comes to the nuances in the game of baseball. I understand what a great manager he is.”

Even in this era of metrics, where GM’s have more control over how the manager applies his strategy, Cora outdueled Dodgers manager Dave Roberts in those moments where the responsibility of the next move fell solely on the manager. In those moments, when the team needed to be inspired in some way, Cora got the job done.

“(Before Game 5) We were relaxed,” Nunez added. “ Just chilling. We played cards. No pressure. We were together. The energy…you could feel how special Alex Cora made that group. There’s no ego. Everybody is one team, everybody’s together.”

The Red Sox had the pieces to win a World Series in 2016 and 2017 —  both 93-win seasons that ended in the ALDS. With all due respect to former manager John Farrell, they didn’t have the right baseball mind navigating the ship.

In one season, Cora has broken barriers, won a franchise record 119 games as a Boston manager and single-handedly advanced baseball into the future as he showed the value of having a Latino manager in a game that is becoming increasingly dominated by international Hispanic players.

Boston may have been the last MLB team to integrate when they signed Pumpsie Green in 1959, but they were first to the party on recognizing Cora’s overall value to the franchise and the game of baseball.

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