Alex Cora joked that the Red Sox have an advantage with Angel Hernandez behind the plate

"I have the upper hand because I'm bilingual and the umpire behind the plate is too."

Angel Hernandez
First base umpire Angel Hernandez watches from his position during the second inning of Game 3 between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. –AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Angel Hernandez had three calls overturned by replay review in Monday’s Red Sox-Yankees game. On Tuesday, as the umpire moves from first base to behind the plate, Boston manager Alex Cora said he’s not concerned about Hernandez’s prime placement for Game 4.

“There’s a reason he’s in this series, and he has a job to do just like all of us,” Cora said.

The Red Sox manager was asked about Hernandez because of the three blown calls and an incident involving second baseman Ian Kinsler last season. Kinsler, then a Detroit Tiger, took issue with the umpire during a game against the Texas Rangers on Aug. 14, 2017.

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First, Kinsler had words with Hernandez after the umpire called a questionable strike on a pitch that looked to be below the strike zone. A second pitch, outside and called a ball, prompted Kinsler to ask “What about that one?” and Hernandez to throw the second baseman out of the game.

After that ejection, Kinsler said, “I don’t know how, for as many years he’s been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to reevaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line.”

Cora doesn’t sound concerned about that history ahead of Tuesday night’s potential series decider. In fact, he joked that the Red Sox will have an edge with Hernandez calling balls and strikes.

“I’m joking here, don’t take it seriously, but tonight I have the upper hand because I’m bilingual and the umpire behind the plate is too,” the Puerto Rico native told reporters pregame. “So I can use both languages tonight.”

Cora noted managers try to put pressure on umpires, but ultimately they will call the game the way they see it regardless.

“They do a good job of it. It’s not an easy job, especially nowadays with the stuff that we see on a nightly basis,” Cora said, “We’re talking about guys — like last night. He throw 99, with a cutter at 95 and a split at 92. That’s tough. I can’t even think about calling strikes and balls, and they did an outstanding job yesterday.”

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The Red Sox can clinch a berth in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros with a win over the Yankees on Tuesday night.