Alex Cora defends Dodger’s decision making, which is not too different from his own

The difference between what the Los Angeles Dodgers did Sunday night and what the Red Sox have done each post-season series under manager Alex Cora boils down to this: it did not work.

It worked for the Red Sox 2018, it worked for the Red Sox ’21, but it did not work for the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Braves.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts urged MLB’s sole winner in 20 games, Julio Urias, to come out of relief in the eighth inning with a two-run lead, only to see Urias cough it up and then closer Kenley Jansen give up a walk-off hit to Eddie Rosario. The Dodgers are now in a 0-2 hole as the series heads back to Los Angeles and people around town are not happy.

“It might have been the perfect place for a robot,” wrote LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke. “But it was a terrible place for a man who had been very proud to be a full-time starter this year, a kid who started well enough to earn Cy Young consideration, a pitcher who had not been in a late -inning-relief situation in a whole year. ”

It got worse when the guy who started that game, Max Scherzer, hit badly (4-1 / 3 innings, two runs) and then said he had a dead arm after hitting the ninth inning three days earlier.

The Dodgers clearly have the best team on paper, but are now behind eight balls in the series.

Should they blame Cora for inspiring similar pitching decisions with his use of starters without relief in ’18?

Maybe when Cora was one of the first to be so aggressive in using her starters in the bullpen on days when they would typically throw a side session between starts.

But it worked for him.

He started it with Rick Porcello, who was called up to handle the eighth inning against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ’18 Division Series. Porcello looked dominant, handled it lightly and walked from the Fenway Park hill to a roaring ovation.

It started a series of similar moves as he used Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Sale of relief in that series.

There was only one time it backfired in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Astros when Porcello started the match on just two days of rest after dominating in an inning outside relief three days earlier.

It was an identical situation with Scherzer, and Porcello gave up four runs in four innings.

But that was not really talked about, mainly because the Sox came back and won that game, and also because Porcello never said his arm was dead afterwards.

Cora is doing the same this year and using starters out of relief, but he has yet to use one out of relief and then started them on two days of rest. He may still do, but has not done so yet.

“You’re trying to maximize talent,” Cora said Monday. “And you know that every match really counts, every pitch really counts, and you try to push the pedal to metal and win that day. That’s why teams are so aggressive. Or actually less aggressive with their starters.

“Someone asked me about the opening with LA At the end of the day, the Giants scored a run in nine innings (when Scherzer played in Game 5 of the NLDS), so they did a good job and knew what they wanted to do and it worked. ”

It did not work Sunday, and the Dodgers will pay the price in the table column, on the radio radio waves and in local newspapers.

“Every organization is different,” Cora said. “You try to attack the days when you feel comfortable doing so. This is different. One thing we know, it did not look good at the end of the season. We had to be aggressive during the regular season towards the end, take starters out and go for the bullpen. We had to use our bullpen, three, four days in a row, guys putting in four days in a row, so we’ve been playing ‘playoff baseball’ for a while. For how bad it looks and it was hard to deal with it, I think it has helped us in a way to be prepared for the tournament. ”

After playing brilliantly in Game 2 on Saturday, Eovaldi was available without relief in Game 3 on Monday. And Nick Pivetta, who stood in line to start Game 4 on Tuesday, was also put in the bullpen on Monday.

Somehow Cora will find out. If it works, he’s a genius. If it strikes again, it’s a mistake.

That’s the life of a baseball manager in the off-season.

Dodgers do the same. It just did not work.


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