Red Sox, Alex Cora Looking To Be Experimental Down Stretch

'We're pushing guys to do stuff that they probably haven't done in a while'

by

September 20

The Boston Red Sox are experiencing a lost season in 2022, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying to improve.

The Red Sox took home a 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, riding another strong performance from rookie pitcher Brayan Bello — who secured his second-career win by trying a few things out. The 23-year-old utilized five pitches and was much more in command than he had been in his prior starts.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was asked about the process behind having Bello commit to using a larger mix of pitches, and his answer gave a preview into what Boston’s over-arching philosophy has become down the stretch of a season that will likely end after Game 162.

“That’s something we’ve been talking about, and obviously where we’re at, we’re pushing guys to do stuff that they probably haven’t done in a while,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “It’s about usage and stuff like that. (Stuff) that’s going to make them better. We’re going to see it tomorrow with Connor (Seabold). We want him to use certain pitches, and be aggressive with them, and trust his stuff. That’s the message to everybody and I think they did an outstanding job tonight.”

Bello set a good example of the experimental philosophy the Red Sox are looking to instill into their players. Tuesday marked Bello’s highest usage totals out of his slider (32%) and curveball (3.5%) in his major-league career. His three curveballs on Tuesday were more than he had thrown in his entire career prior. Part of the reason for that is he’s still being taught the pitch by Rich Hill.

Seabold, who joined the club in Cincinnati on Tuesday, will look to mirror Bello’s commitment on Wednesday when he’ll make his first big-league start in over six weeks. First pitch from Great American Ballpark is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET, and you can catch full coverage of the game using NESN 360, along with an hour of pregame coverage.

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