Alex Cora’s teams tend to come back strong after a playoff loss, and that’s exactly what happened in Game 2.


Take that, you cheat, stlyin ‘Stros!

The Sox couldn’t have been very happy Friday in the seventh, when veteran Houston shortstop Carlos Correa stopped and looked at his watch after hitting a home run on Hansel Robles. It certainly sounded disrespectful.

It was a bit like Aaron Judge walking past the Fenway clubhouse with a boom box playing Sinatra’s “New York, New York” after the Yankees’ win in October 18. It also reminded of the Rays lounging in their dugout canoe in eating popcorn as they crushed the Red Sox in the first game at Trop Dome.

Just hours after Friday’s four hour and seven minute epic, everyone returned to Minute Maid for Game 2. The anticipation was excellent. The park was filled with orange-clad Houstonians, ready to watch their “Stros leap to a 2-0 series lead en route to a no-cheating showdown” with the same Dodgers they stole in 2017.

These people did not know what they were for. The match started at 3:21 Central and ended in time for everyone to come home for BYU’s second half against Baylor on ESPN.

Houston wise skipper Dusty Baker chose to start second-year Venezuelan right-hander Luis Garcia, and Garcia put on one of the truly gruesome performances in playoff lore. He looked like a man who didn’t want to throw the ball home. In terms of urgency, Garcia made Daisuke Matsuzaka look like Mark Buehrle.

The kid threw 29 shots in a 21-minute half-inning. Kyle Schwarber led with a double rope on the right. Garcia walked Devers after taking the 0-2 lead. He accompanied Alex Verdugo to load the bases. Then he threw a meatball at Martinez, who lined it up with the wall on the right to take the score to 4-0. Martinez has 28 RBIs in 26 playoff games. Eight circuits.

In the second, Garcia propelled Kevin Plawecki early in the round. Baker dated a trainer and it was decided that Garcia had a bad knee and had to leave. This meant that Jake Odorizzi could take all the time he wanted to free himself.

Odorizzi milked it, great moment. He stretched. He threw a long time. He threw short. Maybe he was trying to freeze Nate Eovaldi in the Sox dugout – “I have walked up and down the stairs a few times and it didn’t bother me too much,” Eovaldi said. Maybe Odorizzi was just giving everyone a middle finger. In all respects, it was one of the worst commercials for baseball. Sad but true, MLB players have little idea of ​​how they make their product.

After the warm-up of the century, Odorizzi yielded a few singles and a grand slam to Devers; maybe he should have warmed up longer. The Sox became the first team in major league history to hit two grannies in a playoff game and it was still the second inning.

At that point, we were seven outs in the game and over an hour had passed. Almost everyone (including Baker) would have been happy to stop him and agree to resume the series, 1-1, at Fenway on Monday.

“It took a lot of pressure off my back,” Eovaldi said.

Then came Hernández’s millionth circuit last week. The ‘Stros rallied to three at the end of the fourth, but Eovaldi stayed on long enough (5 inning minutes) for the win. Getting 5 â…“ innings from a starter in October 2021 is like getting a Jack Morris shutout in 10 innings.

The Sox are in better shape than the ‘Stros to move forward. Cora lost Game 1 – Chris Sale’s start in inning 2 – when he asked his bullpen to do too much, but he came out of Houston with a split and neither used Nick Pivetta nor Eduardo Rodriguez.

“There’s a reason we mapped things out the way we did,” said Cora, whose playoff record is October’s best managerial score since Earl Weaver’s early days.

Houston, meanwhile, has a mound problem. The Astros may not have enough pitch to contain the Red Sox. Houston lost stopper Lance McCullers Jr. to a forearm injury before the series began. Neither of Baker’s first two starters have lasted three innings and Garcia is injured.

Even a staff with strong, healthy arms would struggle with what the Red Sox hitters do. Cora’s training is intimidating, especially the day after you win.

Do not puncture the laundry cart tires. Don’t make Cora’s men angry. They will come back the next day to beat you up and steal your lunch money.

Meet at Fenway Monday at 8:08 p.m.


Dan Shaughnessy is a columnist for The Globe. He can be reached at daniel.shaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on twitter @dan_shaughnessy.



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