Alex Cora continues to have the magic touch.
Cora's Boston Red Sox completed their upset of the 100-win Rays on Monday night, defeating Tampa Bay 6-5 in Game 4 of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park to punch their ticket to the AL Championship Series.
The victory moved Cora to a perfect 5-0 in postseason elimination games as Red Sox manager, which according to ESPN's Jeff Passan is a Major League Baseball record.
So, what's Cora's secret? Here's a peek at what the Red Sox manager told his players in the clubhouse after Monday night's victory.
"To be in this position is a testament to who you guys are, not only as players but also as individuals," Cora said. "Since Day 1, you guys believed in this group. Not too many people believed outside this freaking clubhouse. But here were are. ALCS, on to the next one!"
Plenty of teams play the "nobody believed in us" card, but the Red Sox actually have grounds for doing so. After they finished last in the AL East in 2020, many projected Boston as a .500 team at best in 2021. And when they hit a rough patch in August amid a COVID outbreak, most wrote the Red Sox off as first-half overachievers who were coming back to earth.
Doubts about the 2021 Red Sox weren't unwarranted, either: The club dealt with a suspect rotation and a shaky bullpen all season and committed the second-most errors in baseball (107 in 162). But now that they're in the postseason, anything seems possible for a group that's an incredible 15-4 (and 7-2 at home) in the playoffs under Cora.
"This game meant a lot. Nobody gave us a chance," Cora told MLB Network's Jon Morosi after the game. "... I tip my hat to (the Rays) for a great season, but here we are, man. This is awesome. On to the next one."
The Red Sox will face the winner of the Houston Astros-Chicago White Sox series in the ALCS.