They split at home against the Yankees last weekend, swept a pair of games in NY to advance and open the AL Championship Series against the World Series champion Astros on Saturday night. Red Sox players - including a couple that were Cora's teammates when he was with the team from 2005-08 - praised the relatability of their 42-year-old manager after five years with the more traditional and distant John Farrell. The Red Sox upgraded a lineup that was overmatched on this stage previous year by adding MVP candidate J.D.
The obvious choice to get the ball for Saturday's Game 1, Verlander thrived on the opportunity and the challenge for the first World Series title of his long career.
"Like Verlander said in spring training, to get to the World Series, you have to go through Houston, '" Cora said.
It was deja vu all over again for Chris Sale in Game 1 of the ALCS.
Allowing a pair of home runs to the Astros in the first inning and a total of seven runs in all was an implosion by his standards. "It was one of the drawing points to come here and just help out as much as I can", said Martinez, whose 43 homers were second-most in the AL.
And now he wants more. "And then I just - after that it was I thank God, gave me another opportunity and put me in a good situation with Detroit", Martinez said. "For me, I've always wanted to be in it". "I shouldn't have had him out of there". "It's the best time of year to compete". But the relief corps also came through well enough to send the Red Sox past a fellow 100-win team in the Yankees. There were 108 in all from the regular season, the most in the history of the team.
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The expectation is that Saturday's opener will be a low-scoring affair.
Like many baseball traditionalists, Sale isn't a fan of the bullpen day phenomenon that is filtering it's way through the majors.
"There's a lot of hardware down there", Cora said, nodding to the Red Sox clubhouse. "It one of those things (in this year's ALCS) where you have this starter versus vs. this starter with these lineups".
It was fairly obvious that Yankees ace pitcher Luis Severino, for whatever reason, just didn't have his best stuff in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday.
"They're strong at every spot, they've got a great starting rotation, their bullpen's good, they score runs, they're good defensively - very similar to our club", Dombrowski said. Cora insisted that he had faith in Price, and he told the 2012 AL Cy Young victor as much after the Red Sox eliminated the Yankees in the previous round.
NOTES: 1B Mitch Moreland, who injured his right hamstring in Game 2 against the Yankees while running the bases, participated in batting practice on Thursday.