The Red Sox narrowly avoided a Game 163 by defeating the Washington Nationals and earning an American League Wild Card berth Sunday. But manager Alex Cora is still faced with leading his squad through a winner-take-all affair Tuesday night against the New York Yankees.
Yeah, no pressure.
But speaking to reporters before Tuesday’s game, Cora opened up about the mindset the Red Sox have had since the start of spring training, and how that helped him successfully guide Boston through Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Washington Nationals.
“This is different,” Cora told reporters Tuesday. “This is a different game. I’ve never been in this situation. Out of all the games I have managed, the toughest one was Sunday because you have to stay in the moment and think about the craziness people were talking about — four-team tie, three-way tie. And then you look at the scoreboard … that was really tough.
“This one, you stay in the moment. That’s what you’ve got to do. That’s why (Eduardo Rodriguez) is in the roster, why (Nick Pivetta) is in the roster. We can talk all we want about Tampa or flights or whatever. That’s all talk. You have to get it done now. I do believe as a staff, as a group, we’ve been staying in the moment since Feb. 9 or 10 when we showed up to Fort Myers. Nothing’s going to change today.”
The Red Sox certainly face some adversity, as slugger J.D. Martinez was unavailable — and thus left off the roster outright — after spraining his ankle in Sunday’s win, though Cora predicted the designated hitter still will play an important role for the team against the Yankees.
First pitch is set for 8:08 p.m. ET.
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