Rosenthal: Alex Cora is managing Red Sox with blend of data, intuition, and his own confident vision

From Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic on August 10, 2018:

He​ talked about​ it in his job interview. Entering​ last​ year’s Division Series,​ the Houston​ Astros knew the​ Boston​ Red​​ Sox’s hitters were overly patient. Alex Cora, then the Astros’ bench coach, recalls pitching coach Brent Strom emphasizing the point in a pre-series meeting. It stuck in Cora’s mind as the Astros defeated the Red Sox, three games to one, and then again when he went to interview with the Sox in the middle of the Astros’ march to their first World Series title.

Cora, seeking his first managing position, talked with Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and other front-office members about the need for the Sox hitters to be more aggressive. He also suggested taking a savvier approach on the basepaths, the better to exploit fielders who are out of position in defensive shifts.

He had formed a vision during his early years in Puerto Rico, three years at the University of Miami and 16 years of playing professionally — his own vision, beyond the data-driven game plans today’s managers and coaching staffs develop in concert with front offices. Cora embraces such analysis, as any curious, responsible, right-minded baseball person should. But he also manages with intuition, and is no one’s puppet.

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Originally published: August 10, 2018. Last Updated: August 10, 2018.