Alex Cora responds to Orioles' manager's pregame assertions


Lessons learned from Grayson Rodriguez, Triston Casas

BALTIMORE - Things got a bit unexpectedly spicy between the managers of the Red Sox and Orioles prior to Tuesday night's game at Camden Yards.

In short, O's skipper Brandon Hyde was no fan of Alex Cora's comments after Monday's night, and Cora had no interest in suggesting he did anything wrong.

The back-and-forth was born from Cora's postgame comments, offering a thinly-veiled analysis that Chris Sale might have been tipping his pitches during what was a five-inning, five-run disappointing outing.

"I think command was off but at the same time, we want to take a look at the at-bats. Sliders down and in and they hit it. Fastballs up and away and they hit it. Changeups. At one point there, there were no swing and misses and tough pitches so you have to give credit to them, I guess," Cora said following the Red Sox' 5-4 loss. "There was one at-bat there by McCann that , it was like sliders down and in and he kept fouling off and then he got a fastball. It was down. The location wasn’t great and he hit a rocket the other way. So, i don’t know. We’ve got to take a look at it and see if we find something. I'm not saying … gotta give credit to them. But command was off today."

Hyde seemingly took the comments in a different spirit than many, as was evident by his pregame meeting with the media Tuesday.

“I’m not sure what he was getting at. Honestly, pretty disappointed in hearing that,” Hyde told reporters. “I thought it was disrespectful to our hitters, to be honest with you. I thought we had a great game plan, I thought we had major league hitters take really good at-bats, and I loved our approach last night. I thought it was the best possibly since I’ve been here.

“I’m not really concerned what other people say about us, honestly. But I did find it disrespectful.”

When told of Hyde's reaction, Cora seemed genuinely surprised.

“He said that? Oh, OK," the Sox manager said. "The red flag is about tipping. t's not about anything else. I'm the first one, you know, for me to accuse somebody of doing something wrong, I'm the last guy that can say that because I put myself in this situation in ‘17. So if he took it that way, I'll talk to him right now and let him know. But it's more about, you have to check what's going on. He’s a big league pitcher throwing 97 with a great slider and a good changeup with two swings and misses. That's it. They're doing an outstanding job. We know that. They cover the pitch up, they cover the pitch down. But it wasn't about, you know, pointing the finger at them. If he took it that way. I'll talk to him right now. But that's not the case. I'm the last guy to accuse somebody. I was the guy suspended for what happened in 2017. So I'm the last guy that can accuse somebody of doing something wrong if that’s what he thought I was saying."

As for the possibility that Sale's problems were rooted in tipping his pitches against the Orioles team who has roughed him three times in the last month (once in spring training), Cora said identifying that as a certainty is a work in progress.

“I think mechanically there’s something that we might adjust, you know, we’ve got to get him to be more athletic on the mound," the manager said. "That’s something we noticed. He’s a little bit too stiff. Kind of like robotic if you want to call it so hopefully we can accomplish a few things with his delivery, make him more aggressive towards the plate. One of the things with Chris, stuff-wise, it was always great, you know, but the deception, the movement, legs, elbows and then go after it. Maybe that’s something we're missing right now. Maybe, I don't know, but we're gonna keep trying and he's gonna keep trying."

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