Cora Deserves Respect for White House Decision

Alex Cora finally made his decision this week about whether he would go with the team to The White House to celebrate their World Series victory. Cora is not going. Neither are many of the other players including Xander Bogaerts, David Price, and Rafael Devers. Whether you agree with him or not on this issue, Cora deserves respect for his decision. He’s the manager, and he’s setting an example about doing what one feels is right in the face of adversity.

“The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a longcora deserves respect ways to go,” Cora is quoted as saying to the Associated Press. “That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and be consistent with everything.” Cora may have been referring to The White House’s claim that $91 billion was allocated to help rebuild Puerto Rico in the wake of a devastating hurricane. That number is well below what the unincorporated U.S. territory has actually received. While Cora did not specifically mention the president, it is difficult to ignore the white elephant in the room.

Red Sox Nation hasn’t hesitated at all to chime in with their opinion about Cora’s decision, many of them negative that question his patriotism and devotion to America. Some are angry that Cora isn’t showing respect for the U.S. President, whose office has a tradition of hosting victory celebrations for teams that won their respective championships. While this is true, today’s political climate has made it very challenging for sports teams to decide whether to visit The White House as part of their celebrations. Some say that teams should go regardless of who is president because that’s tradition. Others argue though that to go would not only validate the president’s controversial actions, but is a betrayal of their own feelings.

Cora Deserves Respect for Staying True to his Homeland

Cora is Puerto Rican and therefore American by birth. However, his primary allegiance is, and always will be, to his homeland. You can’t blame him for that. The fact that he made a well-thought out and articulate decision reflects his maturity. It also reflects his professionalism. In my view, he is saying that he will not partake in a celebration when there’s still so much to be done. Frankly, not only is he entitled to that belief, but he doesn’t really have to answer to anyone for his decision other than to ownership, and God.

The controversy to not attend such events at The White House is nothing new. The focus on a zero sum scenario where one side has to be completely correct and justified, and the other side can’t have even a modicum of respect makes it challenging to have rational discussions about this topic. Cora did not personally criticize anyone though. He showed his appreciation for what the government has done, but is also stating that there’s much more to do. Furthermore, Cora is not obligated to fulfill anyone’s definition of patriotism or loyalty. While he will have to accept any consequences of his decision, it doesn’t make him any less of a man. Going to The White House wouldn’t make him a patriot anymore than standing in a garage would make him a car.

I commend Cora for standing up for himself, and more importantly, for Puerto Rico. There’s a rich history of athletes, both Democrat and Republican, who received their fair share of criticism for making similar decisions. At the end of the day, anyone who says that Cora is making a political statement is missing the point. If anything, they’re contradicting themselves by trying to make it about politics. It’s not about politics, it’s about doing what he thinks is right. With that said, Cora deserves respect for his decision not to go to The White House.

Alex Cora: “I Will Not Be Going To The White House”

Over the weekend, Alex Cora informed the media that he will not be going to the White House to celebrate their 2018 World Series Championship. Cora, along with several other Red Sox players, will not be going, while others are. Over the past several months, it has been a topic of discussion as to who will be going, and who won’t.

Over the past year or so, many championship teams have opted to take the time to dowhite house other things in Washington DC. This usually includes a visit to the Walter Reed Hospital, or charity work, rather than meet President Trump. While I understand fully why Alex Cora, and other players don’t want to go, I believe that Cora should go.

The Red Sox In The White House

In 2005, 2008 and 2014, the Red Sox were honored at the White House. Alex Cora was a player on the 2007 World Series team who was honored in 2008 by President George W. Bush. President Bush was able to honor the Red Sox twice while in office. President Barack Obama did it once in 2014. For Red Sox fans, the most notable player to miss the 2005 and 2008 visit was Manny Ramirez.

This time, it is different. Alex Cora is citing the devastation that hit Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria as the main reason behind his decision. The devastation, and the response from the White House, was uncalled for. Following his hiring as manager, Cora and other members of the Red Sox went to Puerto Rico to assist those who were affected, something that President Trump hasn’t done himself.

A Platform To Help

During Spring Training, Cora was mum on whether or not to go to the White House. Many thought that he would join the team. That was until Sunday, when his decision came out.

Personally, if I was Alex Cora, I would love to have the opportunity to tell President Trump about what is going on over in Puerto Rico. The damage from the hurricane occurred about a year and a half ago. Still the country is not back to 100%.

While I understand his choice, going to the White House is more than meeting the President. It’s a chance to take in history, and see the White House. Cora got a chance to do so as a player back in 2008 with President Bush. A lot can change in eleven years. Granted, in the past, many players have opted against going. This, of course, is their choice. I wonder, however, what Cora will do instead.

Off Day Blues

While Red Sox players such as JD Martinez and Brock Holt will be attending, many will not. One can only wonder what those who won’t be going will do. My hope is that they do what teams have done in the past, such as visit Walter Reed or assist in the community.

Winning the World Series doesn’t happen everyday, and it should be celebrated. This team has accomplished a lot. Therefore, I hope that they keep getting better as the season continues.

Red Sox Journal: Sox won 5 of 7 in the last week

A week ago today, the Sox defeated the Oakland A’s in the second of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Rick Porcello had his best outing of the season. He pitched 8 shutout innings and allowed just 2 hits and 2 walks. The Sox won the game, 5-1.

A day later, on a rare Wednesday afternoon game, Boston was gunning for their first homesox won sweep of the season. Hector Velazquez started and pitched 2 innings of one-run ball. Marcus Walden, who has pitched exceptionally well after starting 2019 at Triple-A, pitched in relief and hurled 3 scoreless innings. Andrew Benintendi broke the game open in the sixth inning when he scored two runners on a bloop single to center field. Final score: Boston 7, Oakland 3.

On Thursday, the team sent second baseman Dustin Pedroia on a rehab assignment to Double-A Portland. The veteran has since played in three games for the Sea Dogs. He has recorded 3 hits and 1 RBI.

Also on Thursday, the Sox were in search for a season-high fourth straight victory. But, mistakes in the ninth inning by third baseman Rafael Devers and closer Ryan Brasier resulted in a White Sox win on a walk-off home run.

Boston responded by winning the final three games of the series in impressive fashion. After the game 1 loss, they outscored Chicago 30-to-5. By the end of the weekend, the Red Sox had captured their third three-game winning streak of the season.

In-season Acquisitions

The team made several other transactions last week. On Friday, they added infielder Cody Asche to their 40-man roster. Pedrioa played in two games over the weekend in Double-A Portland.  Asche most recently played at the Triple-A level for the Sugar Land Skeeters of Sugar Land, Texas. His last major league appearance came in 2017 with the White Sox.

On Saturday, Boston placed shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin on the 10-day Injured List (left knee sprain). The team recalled Eduardo Nunez from Pawtucket. Since being activated, Nunez has started two of three games.

Also on Saturday, first baseman Joey Curletta was added to the 40-man roster after being claimed off waivers from Seattle. The 25-year-old has no major league experience, but was named the 2018 Texas League Player of the Year (Double-A) after posting 23 home runs and 94 RBI in 129 games. Curletta was assigned to the Paw Sox roster.

Yesterday, before opening up a three-game series in Baltimore, the Red Sox placed starting pitcher David Price on the 10-day Injured List due to elbow tendinitis on his pitching arm. Price had been the team’s most consistent starting pitcher this season (1-2, 3.75 ERA, 1.14 WHIP). Right-handed pitcher Ryan Weber filled the roster spot after being called up. Weber pitched 4 scoreless innings last night in relief for starter Josh Smith.

After losing last night in Baltimore 4-1, the Sox will send Hector Velazquez to the mound tonight. Chris Sale will pitch the series finale on Wednesday.

Red Sox closers: Will the current strategy work long term?

Despite the bullpen being a bright spot for the Red Sox, fans are still calling for an impact arm. Red Sox closers have been effective, but Craig Kimbrel is not walking through that door. Perhaps a look at the numbers will ease concerns over the relief effort.

A change in the way the Red Sox handle the later innings

Instead of playing along with the standard MLB approach (having one man handle the Red Sox closersninth inning), the Red Sox brass have gone by committee this year. While Ryan Brasier has largely handled the closing duties, other relievers such as Matt Barnes have occasionally entered the final frame. Alex Cora has used Barnes in high leverage spots based on when the meat of the lineup is due up.

Barnes and Brasier have both found relative success in their roles

In 13 appearances, Barnes boasts the AL’s highest strikeout rate (50 percent) with three walks and a 2.08 ERA. Out of those 13 spots, five have come in the ninth, four in the eighth, once in the seventh, and he has pitched in both the seventh and eighth a pair of times. Barnes has had a steady rise over the years, and it has culminated into the impressive season he has put together so far.

However, Red Sox closers have combined to amass three blown saves through 11 chances. In comparison to the last three seasons with Kimbrel, that is a troubling trend. The team has already struggled to bring leads into the later innings. But the individual numbers suggest the Sox will be just fine.

Braiser has handled the bulk of the save opportunities, securing the game in six of eight tries. Despite his 2.57 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 14 innings, the calls to make a change were loud after he allowed a walk-off home run to Nick Delmonico (hitting about .150 at the time) against the White Sox on Thursday night.

Brasier has been a lot better than he’s earned credit for

An article by Alex Speier of The Boston Globe analyzed the work of Brasier between this season and last. HIs findings showed that the journeyman is still about as effective as he was in 2018. Although, he has allowed three homes runs through his 14 innings so far. That is one more than he allowed through 33.2 innings of work last season. Speier points out that there is not any direct reason for concern, as Brasier’s strikeout and walk percentages remain in tact. He is still generating lots of swings and misses with his fastball/slider/splitter makeup.

While fans might be uneasy about the plan’s long term success, Cora has put the team in a good position. There’s no analytical evidence that either Barnes or Brasier are in danger of coming undone. As long as they keep posting numbers like these, the Red Sox are in good hands.

April Awards: Hitters, Pitchers, Fielders

April has come and gone. The Sox finished the month on a strong note – two wins at home against the Athletics. Their overall record is 13-17, good for 7 games back in the AL East. After some fast starts (Mitch Moreland: 10 extra base hits in first 14 games) and slow starts (Rick Porcello: 11.12 ERA through first 3 starts) to the season, the team heads into May with some optimism, as they look to capture their second sweep of the season today. The following are April awards for Red Sox players:

Player of the Month: Mookie Betts

  • Betts has batted second in the lineup for most of the season. He leads Red Soxapril awards hitters in at-bats, runs, walks, on-base percentage, and OPS. He has also been very efficient in the field, as he leads all Boston outfielders with 5 assists. He has permitted zero errors in mostly right field and some center field. After batting as low as the Mendoza-line through the season’s first three weeks, Betts has turned things around. He batted .452 in the final 11 games of April.

Best starting pitcher: David Price

  • This April award was easy to hand to Price, not because Price’s stuff has been dominant, but because everyone else’s hasn’t been great. Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez have ERAs above six. Rick Porcello’s ERA is above five-and-a-half. Nathan Eovaldi made four starts (6.00 ERA) before going under the knife. Price owns an ERA of 3.60 and a WHIP of 1.07. He finished April with two quality starts.

Best reliever: Ryan Brasier

  • The Red Sox started the season without a firm understanding of their team’s closer. Brasier has become their guy. Six saves in seven opportunities is good for 5th in the American League. His 1.32 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and .188 batting average against are all elite numbers. Matt Barners, Marcus Walden, and Brandon Workman have all been stellar as well, but Brasier takes the cake here.

Best hitter: J.D. Martinez

  • Martinez, who is batting .312 on the season, edges out Betts by a hair. The former leads the team in batting average and hits (34), and is third in on-base and slugging. Martinez led the led in hits, home runs, and RBI last year. I expect him to do the same this season.

Best fielder: Christian Vázquez

  • The April award could have gone to Betts, or Mitch Moreland, or Xander Bogaerts. Vázquez’s presence behind the dish has been extremely valuable, with the unexpected departure of Blake Swihart and easing-in of Sandy León. Vázquez has caught 5 base runners stealing, which ranks 3rd in the AL. However, more spectacularly, his zero errors ranks first in the AL.

Best rookie: Michael Chavis

  • Of all the April awards, this was an easy one – not just because Chavis is the only Red Sox rookie to receive regular looks this year. His numbers are terrific. His batting average is above .300, on-base above .400, and OPS above 1.000. He has earned an everyday role at second base, and has even seen time at first and third. His bat is for power (3 home runs), and he seems to feel comfortable with his glove while lined up at several infield positions.

Latest Red Sox homestand offers hope for winning streak

After a crucial weekend series in Tampa that resulted in a sweep, the latest Red Sox homestand presented the team an opportunity to do damage on some beatable opponents. The team remains under .500, but did start to show signs of rising up from the ashes of a losing April. Following the sweep of the Rays, optimism was abound as the fan base thought, “maybe this is when the team turns it around!” A lopsided Detroit series followed by a part of tightly contested losses to Tampa got the homestand offer to an undesirable start. A strong finish over Oakland pulled Boston back above water though. Let’s look back at the key points of each series.

Series One: Detroit (10-10), split series 2-2

  • In game one of a doubleheader, following a rainout the night before, the Red Sox Red Sox homestandhomestand started off with a strong start from Chris Sale, but a start that only saw him work five innings.
  • 2019 rising star Matthew Boyd tossed a quality start (7 IP, 3 R, 3 K) and led Detroit to a 7-4 day-game victory.
  • In game two, rookie hurlers Darwinzon Hernandez (2.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 K) and Travis Lakins (2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 K) appeared out of the bullpen in impressive fashion in their major league debuts.
  • Much like in game one, the Red Sox offense had a quiet evening at the plate, losing 4-2.
  • In game three, the Sox bats broke out for the first time, powered by a balance attack that saw Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vazquez drive in a pair of runs each
  • The Sox were also powered by Eduardo Rodriguez’s best start of the season to date (6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 7 K) in an 11-3 laugher.
  • In the finale, the Red Sox bat’s again showed burst, leaning on a home run from rookie Michael Chavis and a two-run double from Devers, as well as quality start from Rick Porcello in a 7-3 victory.

Series Two: Tampa Bay (18-9), lose series 0-2

  • A strong start by David Price (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 7 K) but a poor night from the Red Sox offense in a 2-1 loss in game one.
  • In the second matchup, Chris Sale rebounded after allowing four runs in the first two innings to go seven strong. It was not enough though as the Red Sox fell to Tyler Glasnow and the Rays 5-2.
  • Charlie Morton and Glasnow both shined in their starts against Boston, allowing just three earned runs combined.
  • The loss was Sale’s fifth on the season, and he remains without a victory.

Series Three: Oakland 14-16), win series 3-0

  • With the Red Sox homestand looking like yet another setback, the team rebounded well to pound Oakland over three games.
  • In game one, another spread out offensive attack, including three RBI from Chavis and three hits from Mookie Betts, helped the Sox come back from a 4-0 deficit to claim an eventual 9-4 victory.
  • The bullpen allowed just one hit and no runs in 4.1 innings of work among the six players that appeared.
  • Game two received a gem for Porcello (8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 8 K) as Boston rose victorious 5-1.
  • Game three featured strong work out of the stable, as six relievers combined to allow three runs.

The Red Sox are in the midst of a seven-game road trip. They will play the White Sox before stopping in Baltimore.