Alex Cora shaved his beard earlier this season in an effort to jumpstart the struggling Red Sox. The date was May 10th. His team was 10-19 and had just lost their fifth straight. After a 9-4 victory over the Braves in his first game sans facial hair, I delved into how something like this, as stupid as it may look on the surface, often works for baseball teams. The Sox have played 20 games since Cora shaved.
They’ve gone 13-7 in those games.
The biggest driving force (other than the beardless Cora) behind Boston’s recent surge has been the offense. Trevor Story has been a one-man wrecking crew at the plate, after scuffling for the first month plus of the season. He hasn’t been alone, though. Christian Vazquez has come alive. Verdugo, Hernandez, and JBJ have climbed over the Mendoza Line. Franchy Cordero has made solid contributions. All of this while J.D., Xander, and Devers continue to rake. The Red Sox offense is finally looking how Chaim Bloom had to have imagined it would.
Red Sox pitching has been sharper. The last few weeks have represented a downturn in performance, specifically in the bullpen. The return of Michael Wacha, and the eventual returns of Chris Sale and James Paxton, will help alleviate things, as relievers will likely be afforded a little more rest. But right now, a lot of guys are getting hit around, as evidenced by yesterday’s 10-0 ass-whooping at the hands of the Orioles.
Alex Cora’s cleanshaven face is only so powerful, guys.
Work to be Done
Moves like wearing your pants up, or in this case, shaving, can’t be overdone. These are last resort tactics meant to change the energy in a clubhouse by any means necessary. So far, it seems to have worked. But at 23-26 and fourth place in the AL East, the Sox are still way off from where they wanted to be at the end of May. A soft schedule will help them; they need to beat up on weaker teams in order to get back into the playoff picture. It’s now up to them.
Alex Cora only has so much hair he’s able to shave off.
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