Red Sox manager Alex Cora is looking forward to this upcoming series against the San Francisco Giants. The main story line going into it undoubtedly will be Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson, Mike Yastrzemski, making his Fenway Park debut.
But for Cora, another important name in the series is Bruce Bochy.
The Giants manager is winding down a stellar 25-year career that’s probably worthy of the Hall of Fame. He managed the San Diego Padres from 1995 to 2006 before taking over the Giants in 2007 and winning three World Series.
Cora is excited to pay his respects to Bochy.
“I was thinking about him the other day,” Cora said Sunday. “He’s been amazing. The way he goes about his business is great.”
Cora came up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing with them from 1998 to 2004. So he saw a lot of Bochy as Padres manager.
“Even in San Diego when I played against him, it seemed like his bullpens were always good,” Cora said. “Communication was awesome. For a guy to be around doing this for so long, that’s impressive. I’m only two years into this, and there are certain days I’m just like, ‘Wow, it’s only two years?’ ”
Bochy’s connection to the Cora family extends back to Cora’s brother, Joey Cora. Joey’s first year as a player was in 1987 with the Padres, in Bochy’s last year as a player. To be in baseball that long says something, Cora said. More important, the ability to adjust through the decades says even more.
This year’s Giants team wasn’t supposed to be competitive. Instead, the club found itself in a battle for a wild-card spot for a good chunk of the summer. Cora gives credit to Bochy for that.
“They made a good run this year,” Cora said. “They did an outstanding job throughout the season. Made some adjustments, and for what everybody thought it would be for them this season, it was actually the other way around.”
For Red Sox fans, of course, Yastrzemski’s grandson will be the center of attention.
Cora noticed Mike’s swing during spring training, when Yastzremski was still a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Cora liked some of the cuts he took against his Red Sox club and was surprised when Baltimore decided to trade the 29-year-old to the Giants.
Yastrzemski has capitalized on his chances, hitting .265 with 19 homers in just 362 plate appearances. Yastrzemski also will play left field, just like his grandfather did.
“For a guy that’s from a baseball family, you see all this stuff and it’s pretty cool,” Cora said. “I know how it feels, but this is kind of like another level. I know it’s going to be a special three days for their family.”
Cora hopes the Sox can tame Yastrzemski’s offense, though.
“Hopefully [his family] can enjoy watching him play defense,” Cora said with a smile.
Eovaldi to start
Nathan Eovaldi will get the start Tuesday, and he’s a full-go, it appears, for the remainder of the season. He lasted just 4⅓ innings in his last start against the Blue Jays, throwing 93 pitches and allowing three runs. His best outing was Sept. 5 against the Twins, when he allowed one run over five innings. Cora is hoping Eovaldi can get to six innings, a mark he’s reached just once this season, back in April against the Yankees.