BOSTON — In their upset of the Rays in the American League Division Series, the Red Sox went with a pedal-to-the-metal style of pitching in which manager Alex Cora asked a lot of his pitching staff.
The starters knew that, just about every day, it was “spikes on,” meaning there was a good chance they could be used in relief.
The high-leverage relievers knew they could be called on for anything from one inning to the five that Tanner Houck pitched in Game 2, when he changed the momentum of the series. And if a pitcher has had a couple of days of rest after throwing 73 pitches in his previous outing, don’t be surprised if Cora looks for another 67 the next game, as he did with Nick Pivetta in an even bigger momentum-turner in Game 3.
That style worked beautifully for Cora in the more forgiving best-of-five format that is used in the Division Series round.
Can it also work in the AL Championship Series, which is a best-of-seven, and will start in Houston on Friday night?
We are about to find out. Because Cora indicated he will stick with his seize-the-day mentality in the upcoming days, just as he did throughout the 2018 postseason.
“When we announce the starters for Games 1 and 2, the rest of them will be in the bullpen,” said Cora. “We’ve done it before that way. And that’s the way we’re going…