It’s fair to imagine Boston Red Sox pitcher Kutter Crawford probably was a bit disappointed with how his big league debut went Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.
But Alex Cora wasn’t about to let the fact Crawford gave up five runs on five hits and two walks overshadow the big picture. The Red Sox manager talked a bit with Crawford before pulling him in the third inning of Sunday’s 11-5 loss, and Cora revealed his message for Crawford after the game.
“Like I told him on the mound, he’s a big leaguer. He had the experience. ‘Look around, its Fenway Park, packed house,’ ” Cora recited on a postgame video conference.
“I wanted him to actually take a deep breath and enjoy the situation. It’s Fenway Park on a Sunday afternoon. There’s nothing better than that. There’s only one MLB debut, right? And it doesn’t matter if it’s a good one or you struggle. It’s still something that you dreamed about as a kid. I wanted him to take a deep breath, look around, see the whole thing because probably he didn’t do that before the game or during the game. With time, I know he’s going to contribute. He’s going to be a part of this.”
It was a moment Crawford seemed to appreciate, too.
“It was cool. He just spoke words of encouragement and reassured me I’m a big leaguer now and nobody can take that away from me,” Crawford said after the game. “He just spoke words of encouragement.”
Crawford, 25, was promoted Sunday from Triple-A Worcester to replace pitcher Nick Pivetta, who was moved to Boston’s COVID-19 Related Injured List. And despite his final stat line, Cora was optimistic with the performance in which Crawford threw 40 of his 57 pitches for strikes.
“Good stuff,” Cora said. “Obviously there were a lot of two out hits but he filled out the strike zone with good stuff. It’s not easy to come into a situation like this and maneuver a big league lineup and he did a good job from the get-go.”
It capped a pretty crazy lead up to the debut for Crawford, too.
The Red Sox will return to the diamond Monday as they welcome the Tampa Bay Rays for a Labor Day tilt scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET.