What Alex Cora Said About His Two Animated Interactions With Laz Díaz

Díaz's Game 4 strike zone was debatable, to say the least

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The Boston Red Sox’s issues Tuesday night ran far deeper than home plate umpire Laz Díaz and his at times perplexing strike zone.

But when telling the story of the Red Sox’s 9-2 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, Díaz is not an insignificant part of it.

Twice, in particular, Díaz drew the ire of the Red Sox and their manager, Alex Cora: A called strike on J.D. Martinez in the third and a ball he called on Nathan Eovaldi with two outs and the game tied in the ninth.

Both prompted chats between Cora and Díaz, with the Martinez call visibly incensing Cora.

“I didn’t agree with the J.D. call. I didn’t,” Cora told reporters after the game, via ASAP Sports. “The way the catcher reacted to the whole thing, I think we thought it was a ball; he thought it was a strike. We didn’t agree with that one. …

“I’ve got to take a look at the video and see how it went,” Cora later said. “I haven’t had a chance to take a look at it. Like I said, I really disagreed with the one early on. It was the third inning and 3-2 count. J.D. is very — he doesn’t argue too much, and the way he reacted, you know, I had to jump right away. I don’t want him to get thrown out.

“We disagreed with that one, so I know it’s early in the game, but it’s first and second one out. It is what it is. It’s a tough job. I know Laz since our days in Miami, you know? He used to cover our games when I played at the University of Miami. Every Friday he was the man in those games, so it’s a hard job. I understand that. It’s a hard job.”

Cora insisted that while the dialogue around the Martinez call was an argument, he had “a conversation” with Díaz about the Eovaldi call.

“The last one I’m not going to get thrown out. I learned my lesson in Game 1 of the last time we played them and I told him — I said, I’m not going to get thrown out of this game, but we thought that pitch was a strike, and he disagreed with us, but that’s a tough job,” Cora said. “I don’t think — yeah, it changes — if it’s a strike, it changes the whole thing, right, but I think we had chances early on. They did an outstanding job with the bullpen. We didn’t do enough offensively, and now we go to Game 5.”

Díaz’s called ball on Eovaldi ultimately helped fell the Red Sox. It kept Jason Castro’s at-bat alive, and he responded by driving in a run to make it 3-2 Houston. The Astros would go on to rattle off six more runs to even the series at two games apiece.

Jim Wolf is scheduled to be behind the plate for Game 5 at Fenway Park on Wednesday. First pitch is set for 5:08 p.m. ET, with NESN carrying an hour of pregame coverage at 4, and an hour of postgame coverage immediately following the final out.

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