The Boston Red Sox can do things at the plate that make life a lot easier for Alex Cora the manager than the game was for Alex Cora the player.
The Sox skipper has been blessed with one of the better offenses in baseball during his time calling the shots in Boston. The former utilityman was a light hitter himself during his playing days, so it should come as no surprise he’s more than willing to let his guys be aggressive at the plate.
“I tell them, jokingly, that I live my offensive struggles through them,” Cora told reporters before Thursday’s game in Baltimore, per MLB.com. “Kind of like, whatever I wanted to do, but I wasn’t able to do; I love when they swing 3-0. I love when they swing 2-0. I didn’t do that. It’s kind of like my fantasy team, you know? Like, go ahead. It’s cool.”
Cora, it’s worth noting, posted a career .648 OPS in 1,273 games.
That aggressiveness was a big part of Boston’s success upon Cora’s arrival in Boston prior to 2018. That Red Sox offense was one of the best in club history, ready to attack when it got its pitches in the zone.
That also has been the case early in the 2021 season. No team in baseball has swung the bat at a higher rate than the Red Sox, and only two teams have a higher swing rate on pitches inside the strike zone. When they get a pitch they like, they’re swinging.
It’s hard to argue with the results, too. The Red Sox have scored 31 runs in the five games since being shut out on Opening Day.