The Boston Red Sox did damage en route to a historic 2018 World Series title. They’re taking a slightly different approach this season.
Alex Cora back in 2018 implored his hitters to “do damage,” especially in counts in which the batter had the advantage. The results spoke for themselves: Boston won a franchise-record 108 games before winning the World Series.
Now three games from another American League pennant, the Boston manager has a new mantra for his players in the batter’s box. He wants his team to let the game come to them, which is exactly what J.D. Martinez did in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series when he went with an outside fastball for a first-inning, opposite-field grand slam that set the pace for the Red Sox to even their series with the Houston Astros.
“We love the big swings, we love the home run. The fact that J.D. went the other way, it tells you where we’re at offensively right now,” Cora explained Monday afternoon on MLB Network. “In ’18, it was about ‘doing damage,’ right? I think this year, it’s about ‘stay humble.’
“We’re facing some good pitching staffs that do a lot of different things on the mound. the Yankees had (Gerrit) Cole and they had (Clay) Holmes, and stuff-wise, they were really good. Tampa, with the versatility of their pitchers. if you try to do too much, you’re going to run into trouble. In this postseason, we’ve been more humble. they’re really good at what they do. take your walks, put pressure on them and when there’s traffic out there, you can do damage, and so far, we’ve done that.”
Ironically, the Red Sox are still doing plenty of damage. The Red Sox lead all MLB playoff teams with a .318 average through seven games, and their 16 home runs are eight more than the second-closest team.