Red Sox Notes: Alex Cora Acknowledges Veterans After Season Finale

'These guys mean a lot to us'

by

October 5

The Boston Red Sox season came to a close Tuesday, sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays in their final three-game series at Fenway Park.

NESN broadcaster and Baseball Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley wasn’t the only one to receive a standing ovation from the fans in attendance during the 6-3 win with a few veterans — both World Series champs with the club — returning to the dugout with a tidal wave of applause from Red Sox nation embracing them.

Team veterans J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts — both in the middle of uncertain contract standings heading into the offseason — took the field for possibly their final times in Red Sox uniforms. However, despite the unclear future for the two, Red Sox manager Alex Cora wanted to ensure a proper send-off for their contributions amid their tenures with the organization in front of the Boston home crowd.

The fourth-year Red Sox skipper revealed the ovations were previously thought out before taking the field.

“These guys mean a lot to us, mean a lot to the community, means a lot to Red Sox nation,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “They’ve done amazing things. They’re really, really good at what they do and they deserve that — to take a moment and acknowledge the fans and I’m glad that little by little, more people showed up to the game.”

Martinez served as the lineup hero for Boston, crushing a pair of home runs amid his 2-for-3 night at the plate, responsible for four of the six runs plated by the Red Sox.

“The cool thing about J.D., he was working as hard as he did the first day of the season in 2018,” Cora said. “Same thing today. Regardless of the results. … I told him in the top of the eight, ‘This is what I’m gonna do.’ And he kept swinging in the cage, getting ready for his next at-bat. … J.D. comes up and he’s like ‘No, you’re the jefe.’ He calls me the jefe. ‘You’re the jefe, you do whatever.’ I was gonna hit for him. He deserves it. He’s been a horse, like a caballo, like we call it in Latin America. Since day one, he showed up and decided to change the culture in a sense, right? The way we go about it offensively.”

Cora also had a very similar mid-game discussion with Bogaerts, offering the same liberty to the longtime Boston shortstop.

“I said, ‘What do you want to do?’ and he’s like, ‘Whatever you want,'” Cora said. “Whatever happens in the future, happens in the future. … But, for today, I gotta give you a chance to acknowledge the fanbase and for them to actually acknowledge you. I think it was cool. … Hopefully, it’s not the last chapter of the Red Sox and Xander.”

Cora offered an optimistic final takeaway to the season when looking back, despite missing out on the postseason and finishing at the bottom of the American League East division.

“The way they finished the season, the way they played in September, the way they went about their business, from day one all the way to today — that’s cool, that was cool to see,” Cora said.

Bogaerts, in his final showing of the season, went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles before making an early exit in the top of the seventh inning after taking the field for pre-inning ground balls at shortstop.

“It felt good,” Bogaerts said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “It just felt a little weird, you know? I’m still here, you know? But, I know, I get it. The situation that I’m in. … It actually was nice to get something like that done for me on a personal level. So I’m very appreciative for Alex for doing that, for thinking to doing something like that for me. And obviously for J.D. also. … That was nice.”

Here are more notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rays game:

— Bogaerts’ multi-hit game was the 49th recorded during his campaign and the second-most among AL shortstops, finishing behind Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette, who notched 56.

— Martinez’s multi-home run performance was his first since April 30, 2021 against the Texas Rangers. It was also the 18th within the 35-year-old’s 12-year big league career.

— Relief pitcher Matt Barnes, who earned his eighth save of the season, made his 12th consecutive scoreless appearance out of the bullpen. The 32-year-old posted a 1.59 ERA in his final 24 appearances after being reinstated from the injured list on Aug. 4.

— Infielder Christian Arroyo, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI, hit .329 (54-for-164) with a .806 OPS and 23 RBIs after being reinstated from the injured list on July 30.

— The Red Sox’s three-game sweep over the Rays served as their seventh sweep of the season and the fifth to take place at Fenway Park.

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Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
MLB: ALDS-Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox
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