Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora clarified his comments following Boston’s loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. He insisted he was not accusing the Orioles of stealing signs.
After a gem of 11 strikeouts against the Twins in his final start, veteran Red Sox left winger Chris Sale struggled badly against Baltimore, as he allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings of work, and for only the second time in his career, he failed to strike out a batter on a start.
“Sliders down and in and they hit it. Fastballs up and away, they hit it. Changes – there were no swing-and-misses at one point. Hard throws,” Cora said of Sale after losing 5- 4 . “You have to give them credit, I guess.”
“We’ll have to look at it and see if we find anything,” Cora continued.
When Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was made aware of Cora’s comments, he objected. “I’m not sure what he meant,” Hyde said. “Actually, pretty disappointed to hear that. I thought it was disrespectful to our hitters, to be honest. I thought we had a great game plan. I thought major league hitters had really good at bats.”
Ahead of the series’ second game on Tuesday, Cora clarified his comments (via Associated Press):
“It wasn’t about pointing the finger at them. If he took it that way, I’ll talk to him now, but that’s not the case. I was the guy who was suspended for what happened in 2017, so I’m the last man who can accuse someone of doing wrong if he thought that’s what I meant.”
Cora’s initial comments could be parsed as his concern about Sale potentially tipping pitches, as opposed to a suspicion that the Orioles were stealing boards, but given Cora’s history — he was suspended for his role in the Astros board-stealing scandal and— an alternative interpretation is understandable. Presumably, Cora’s follow-up comments will end the controversy.