You knew Alex Cora wasn’t going to let Chris Sale off the hook for this one.
Sale turned a few heads Saturday by insisting the stomach illness that hospitalized him last weekend and forced him to miss his scheduled start in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series was caused by “irritation from a belly button ring.”
Whether you buy Sale’s excuse or not, the Boston Red Sox ace is fully recovered, as Cora confirmed Sunday that Sale will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
“He’s good to go,” Cora during a press conference at Fenway Park, via MassLive.com. “He’s our Game 1 starter. I think everything works out for a reason.”
Cora couldn’t resist working in a playful jab at his stud left-hander, though.
“Game 5 happened and he gets a few more off days so he can take care of his belly button,” Cora added. “And he’ll be ready to go.”
Boston dispatching the Houston Astros in five games in the ALCS does benefit Cora’s club, giving it four full days off to rest up before taking on the Dodgers in the Fall Classic. And all joking aside, Cora seems ready to put Sale’s illness in the rearview mirror.
“I stay away from it,” Cora said about Sale’s belly button. “Yeah. Yeah. But he’s ready to go. Excited to pitch Game 1. He’s been our guy since day one. … Him pitching that game, we map it out through September. This was the plan all along. Happy that he’s able to go out there and perform.”
Cora was mum about the Red Sox’s World Series rotation beyond Sale, but it’s possible David Price could follow him in Game 2 after his brilliant ALCS Game 5 performance in Sale’s stead.