Astros shortstop Carlos Correa pointed to his wrist after launching a go-ahead home run in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Red Sox, signaling that “it’s my time.”
Boston starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez returned the favor Monday in Game 3. His manager wasn’t having it.
After getting Correa to ground out to end the top of the sixth inning with Boston leading 9-3, Rodriguez pointed to his right wrist as he walked off the mound. Before he reached the dugout, manager Alex Cora was already telling him that that wasn’t the way to respond.
BY THE NUMBERS: Red Sox continue offensive outburst in ALCS Game 3 rout of Astros
“Don’t do that,” Cora said he told the 28-year-old left-hander. “Because we don’t act that way. I mean, we just show up. We play and we move on. And he knows. I let him know. We don’t have to do that. If we’re looking for motivation outside of what we’re trying to accomplish, we’re in the wrong business. The only motivation we have is to win four games against them and we’ll move on to the next round.”
Rodriguez said after the game that he felt bad about the gesture, telling Fox Sports’ Tom Verducci that it was “part of the game” with the moment and the atmosphere at Fenway Park. He said he wanted to apologize.
“Sometimes some things get in your mind and you just do things like that, but I really, like, I feel bad right now because I did it,” Rodriguez said.
No apology is necessary, in Correa’s mind. He said he “loved” seeing Rodriguez make the gesture.
“He did my celebration. I thought it was kind of cool. It’s just the way baseball should trend moving forward. We talk about making baseball fun, we talk about baseball growing and more people coming to watch the sport. You know you need things like that. You need to let the players have fun. I loved it personally,” Correa said. “I love every single bit of it. He pitched a great game, he threw six innings, struck out like seven. I mean he was nasty. His fastball coming out was great so whenever you have a great performance like that against the No. 1 offensive team during the season who we were the No. 1 offensive team during the season, you can do whatever you want. And you should have fun with this.”
That one moment aside, Rodriguez had a lot to feel excited about after Game 3. He pitched the deepest of any pitcher in the ALCS as he lasted six innings. He gave up three runs on five hits — one home run — to pick up the win in the Red Sox’s 12-3 rout. He also became the first left-handed pitcher in Red Sox postseason history to strike out seven and walk no one in Fenway Park, according to Fox Sports.
The Red Sox now hold a 2-1 advantage in the ALCS with two games left in Boston before a potential return to Houston for Games 6 and 7.
“He was outstanding. I mean, establishing the fastball, good changeup, good cutter, good tempo,” Cora said of Rodriguez. “One 0-2 pitch that we really don’t care, you know, because one of the things I told him, I said, ‘Hey, man, we’ve got to throw strikes. Don’t walk people, make them earn it.’ And he did. And the fact that he went six innings was very important for us. Three games in a row against a great team and to be able to rest the bullpen for tomorrow is huge. And he understood that, he made some pitches, we got some double plays all that.”
Cora — who worked with Correa in 2017 as a coach for Houston’s World Series-winning club — circled back to say that he wasn’t mad at his starter. He compared the situation to his 4-year-old twins.
“It’s like one of the twins, like, ‘Don’t do that.’ We don’t have to do that,” Cora said. “He knows, he understands, but we’re not that way. We talk about humble approach and humble players and that’s who we are. We like to grind, we like to play, but we don’t do that.”
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