When Boston Red Sox announced that he had mutually separated from the Puerto Rican manager Alex Cora in January 2020, after an MLB investigation concluded that it helped develop the signal theft system that contributed to the title of the Houston Astros World Series 2017, the press release reeked of reluctance.
The Red Sox had no real desire to ditch Cora, but his role in the Houston scandal was too pronounced to realistically move forward with him as their patron:
And anyway, MLB ended up suspending him for the 2020 season a few months later, after it concluded its investigation into the 2018 Red Sox.
Cora served her suspension and her rehire last November was not surprising. But if there was any lingering doubt that the Red Sox were right to give him a second chance, leading this talented but flawed team of 2021, a team few expected to even make it to the postseason, on the doorstep of the World Series it extinguishes it.
Boston entered October with tons of questions in the bullpen, but Cora has routinely pushed the right levers, even as ace Chris Sale just didn’t have her in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays. And his decision to put Kyle Schwarber in first place has worked wonders.
Cora is now 15-4 in the postseason, giving him the best winning percentage (.789) of any manager with at least 15 postseason games. And he’s 5-0 in possible clinches (games to win series). Without a doubt, he makes a difference on the bench.