Red Sox

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

BOSTON — Brad Ausmus was the second person to interview to replace John Farrell as Red Sox manager, baseball sources confirmed Monday afternoon. The Sox are expected to interview Ron Gardenhire, the Diamondbacks' bench coach, as well.

But the net might not be cast too wide. More and more, it sounds like the Sox already know who they want.

Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who met with Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in New York on Sunday, appears the frontrunner to take the reins next year. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal has reported that to be the case multiple times, and for some inside the Sox organization, that's a growing feeling as well.

MORE:

The criteria the Sox value most isn't hard to guess: a strong connection with players, an ability to incorporate data and analytics; and someone who can handle the market.

"I knew Alex for a couple of years before getting a chance to work with him and had tried to recruit him to work a few years ago and he had other options," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday in New York, before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. "To watch him develop relationships with the players, he's all about baseball. He's all about the competition and small advantages within the game, one of the brightest baseball intellects that I've been around. And to see him pass some of that on and transition from player to TV personality to coach, he's had a ton of impact.

"He challenges people. He challenges me. He's someone who's all about winning. And I think to watch our players respond to him, he's got a lot of respect in that clubhouse because of the work he puts in and the attention to detail that he brings. That's why he's the hottest managerial candidate on the planet and deservedly so."

Cora joined the Astros before this season.

Ausmus, whom Dombrowski hired in Detroit ahead of the 2014 season, grew up in Connecticut and went to Dartmouth. The 48-year-old spent 18 seasons as a big-league catcher, the last in 2010. He was working for the Padres before Dombrowski gave him his first shot at managing the Tigers. 

Ausmus went 314-332 in four years managing the Tigers, a more veteran team than might have been ideal for him as a first-time manager.

Ausmus pulled out of the running to interview with the Mets, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag while Cora was expected to interview with the Mets on Monday or Tuesday, per the New York Post's Mike Puma.

What could change from here? One baseball source indicated a second interview with Cora was expected. Asked if he plans a second round of interviews generally, Dombrowski did not say.

"We have started the interview process," Dombrowski wrote via email. "I do not have any specific time frames at this point. Will wait and evaluate as we go through the process."

The Boston Herald's Chad Jennings first reported Ausmus' interview.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game 8-6 in 10 innings

bregman.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Photo

Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game 8-6 in 10 innings

WASHINGTON -- A record 10 home runs. A slew of strikeouts.

The all-or-nothing All-Star Game mirrored what baseball has become.

Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer homered on consecutive pitches to begin the 10th inning, and the American League beat the National League 8-6 Tuesday night for its sixth straight win.

"Standard operation nowadays, right?" said AL manager A.J. Hinch of Houston. "We're going to homer and punch out as an industry."

"There's a great love affair with both results. I mean, to kind of empty your tank and hit homers tonight at this event is probably the best thing imaginable," he said. "Just to have that kind of emotion that comes with the home run, especially when the big boys hit it and especially when the Astros hit it."

Mike TroutAaron Judge and Jean Segura also connected for the AL in a game where every run except one scored on a homer.

Scooter Gennett hit a tying two-run shot off Seattle closer Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. Joey Votto, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Christian Yelich also homered for the NL.

There had never been more than six homers in an All-Star Game since Babe Ruth hit the very first one in 1933.

One of the homers came off Milwaukee's Josh Hader. After the game, the 24-year reliever took responsibility for racist and homophobic tweets that resurfaced while he was pitching.

Hader said he was immature at age 17 when several of the tweets were posted, but at least one was from 2016 about the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem said he had spoken to Hader, and the league would have no comment before Wednesday.

"There's no excuse for what was said," Hader said. "I'm deeply sorry for what I've said and what's been going on. It doesn't reflect any of my beliefs going on now."

While several sluggers went deep, not everything went their way. Starters Max Scherzer and Chris Sale and the relievers combined to fan 15 in the first 4 1/2 innings, and there were 25 strikeouts overall.

Fitting, because this season is on pace to become the first with more strikeouts than hits, a year after a record number of home runs.

"You're facing power pitchers right now, so that's kind of what you expect: hit-or-miss with these guys," Boston's J.D. Martinez said.

Martinez, who leads the majors in homers and RBIs, singled and struck out in his two at-bats.

Orioles shortstop Manny Machado had fun, pulling out a camera to snap a selfie at second base after Matt Kemp doubled. By Wednesday, they could be teammates - Baltimore seems ready to trade Machado, with the Dodgers and Phillies in the mix.

"I'm just trying to enjoy this moment with the American League guys," Machado told FOX in the dugout. "If this is the last time (in a Baltimore uniform), hopefully I treated them well and did everything I can for the organization."

Major League Baseball, meanwhile, seemed to take a selfie of itself, with all the homers and strikeouts. This was MLB 2.018, an update that's not appealing to everyone.

"Some of us are going to get them and they're going to get us. It's just how it goes," Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said.

Declining attendance is a concern, and the sport's owners worry that slower games with less action on the bases are taking a toll.

A day after hometown star Bryce Harper electrified the crowd by winning the Home Run Derby, it was eerily quiet for most of the evening at Nationals Park. Harper didn't excite the fans, either, fanning in his two at-bats.

The popular Presidents Race drew the biggest cheer in the middle innings, with the big-headed George Washington character prevailing.

The only thing missing was a bevy of defensive shifts. Overloaded infields are the norm now, Hinch and NL manager Dave Roberts of the Dodgers pretty much played things straight up.

Bregman and Springer homered off losing pitcher Ross Stripling of the Dodgers - that's kind of how last year ended, too, with Houston battering Los Angeles pitchers in the World Series.

Bregman smiled all around the bases and earned MVP honors. He's familiar with this city, his grandfather having been the general counsel for the old Washington Senators.

"My dad grew up on Ted Williams' lap. So to see Ted Williams Most Valuable Player on this trophy is pretty special," Bregman said.

Segura's three-run homer in the eighth landed in the bullpen and broke a 2-all tie. The Seattle infielder popped up the previous pitch, but Votto, Cincinnati's reliable first baseman, dropped it for an error as he approached the dugout railing. Segura then connected off Hader.

Judge homered in the second off Scherzer, the Nationals ace who became the first reigning Cy Young Award winner to start an All-Star Game in his home park. There was another judge at the park besides the Yankees slugger - Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

"It's tough to barrel up some balls when you've got some of the best pitchers in the game throwing against you and you don't really have a scouting report. You're just going up there swinging," Judge said.

Trout kept up his All-Star excellence, tagging Mets righty Jacob deGrom. A two-time MVP in his event, Trout is 7 for 15 with five extra-base hits and three walks in these games.

Diaz wound up with the win and Toronto's J.A. Happ got his first pro save after giving up Votto's homer.

The AL won for the 18th time in 21 games played to a decision, and leads the series 44-43-2. Not since the early 1960s has the AL been ahead.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Here's how the Red Sox fared in the All-Star Game

sale.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Photo

Here's how the Red Sox fared in the All-Star Game

Four of the five Red Sox All-Stars made an appearance the All-Star Game, with closer Craig Kimbrel the lone Boston representative getting the night off.

Chris Sale's All-Star Game start was short and sweet as the Red Sox ace tossed one scoreless inning before being replaced by Luis Severino in the second.

Sale was greeted at the top of the frame with a leadoff single by Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, but then he settled down and got Nolan Arenado to fly out to left field, followed by a strikeout of Paul Goldschmidt and an inning-ending fly out to center from Freddie Freeman.

The left-hander didn't hold anything back, hitting the 100-mph mark on the radar gun consistently. And even better for Sox fans keeping an eye on his workload this season... Sale only needed nine pitches to complete the inning. 

On the offensive side of things, Mookie Betts has a quiet night going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, J.D. Martinez went 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout, and Mitch Moreland went 2-for-2 with two singles.

The American League won in 10 innings, 8-6.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE