Cora faces familiar foe in 'relentless' Dodgers

Red Sox manager matched up with Los Angeles in last year's Fall Classic with Astros

October 21st, 2018

BOSTON -- The Red Sox already had to get through two ultra-talented teams in the Yankees and Astros to get to the World Series, and they know another big challenge awaits against the Dodgers.

Los Angeles punched its ticket to Boston by upending the Brewers in Saturday night's Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, thus creating a matchup of tradition-laden franchises on the game's biggest stage.

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It is a familiar Fall Classic foe for Red Sox manager Alex Cora. As bench coach for the Astros last year, he had a front-row seat for a tremendous World Series that saw Houston beat the Dodgers in seven games.

"They do a good job mixing and matching," Cora said. "They've got two different lineups, against righties and against lefties. Their rotation is pretty solid. They've got a great closer. They do a lot of things running the bases and all that. It's a tough team. Relentless."

Game 1 will be Tuesday night at Fenway Park when the Red Sox send lefty ace Chris Sale to the mound. Los Angeles is likely to counter with its own lefty ace in , who is considered by most to be the most accomplished pitcher of the last decade.

Red Sox to start Sale in Game 1 of World Series

"Right now, the best two teams are in it and they don't just have Kershaw," said Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce. "They have other good pitchers, too. It's going to be a dogfight. It will be a challenge. You look at their lineup, their pitching staff -- they're solid from top to bottom. We can't take them lightly. They're a good team and we've got to go out there and play our best baseball."

There are some changes from the Dodgers team Cora faced with the Astros last year. Star shortstop is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May, but Los Angeles now has Manny Machado, who the Red Sox are very familiar with from his years with the Orioles.

"[Justin Turner] has been amazing at third base and in the clubhouse," Cora said. "Chase [Utley], I know he's not active and I don't know what's going to happen in the World Series, but he's one of their leaders. He's great in the clubhouse for those guys. Manny Machado is back. We're going to see him again."

The Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 games in the regular season and are 7-2 thus far in the postseason. But no one will be taking the Dodgers lightly.

"It's a complete team," Cora said. "They play with energy, too. Dodger Stadium will be loud, and the weather will be great. It should be a great World Series."

Considering the history of both the Red Sox and Dodgers, the matchup is a highly compelling one from a national standpoint.

"It's the World Series; it's the two best teams in the league competing at the highest level. It's great, regardless of the history," said second baseman . "But you get two storied franchises, it definitely draws more attention from fans and from the average baseball watcher, I guess. To have that history behind two organizations is cool."