If the Red Sox are worried about the monster bullpen the Yankees are building to back up a record-setting offense, they sure don’t sound it.
Alex Cora, who led the Sox to the best record in baseball and a World Series title in his first year in the manager’s chair, spoke Thursday at the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s annual dinner and issued a dire warning to the rest of the league.
“If you thought last year was special, wait till this year,” Cora told the crowd.
The Red Sox won 108 games last season and ran away with the AL East, besting the second-place Yankees by eight games. Their offense led the AL in batting average, slugging percentage and runs scored, while their pitching staff was in the top three in ERA, strikeouts and ERA-plus.
They breezed through the playoffs, beating the Yankees in four games and the Astros and Dodgers in five games apiece en route to the title. Outfielder Mookie Betts won the AL MVP award, Chris Sale finished fourth in the Cy Young race despite an injury-shortened season, and Cora finished second in the AL Manager of the Year voting.
But apparently, none of that was enough for the defending champs.
“They’re never satisfied,” Cora said. “If you start looking at some of the players we have … I do feel we’re going to be better. We’re going to be better, and hopefully we have some good luck in October.”
Perhaps Cora is overconfident – a World Series ring has that effect – but all the same, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still out there if the Yankees want a little insurance.
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