Red Sox

‘We don’t act that way’: Alex Cora explained why he was upset with Eduardo Rodriguez’s gesture toward Carlos Correa

Rodriguez pointed at his wrist while looking at Correa while walking off the mound in Game 3.

Eduardo Rodriguez pointed at his wrist while looking at Carlos Correa, seemingly mocking his celebration from earlier in the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Eduardo Rodriguez was in control for much of his start in Game 3.

The Red Sox lefty started strong, retiring nine of the first 10 Astros hitters he faced. Rodriguez hiccuped in the fourth, giving up two singles before Kyle Tucker blasted his two-out, two-strike slider into the bleachers in right for a three-run homer.

But Rodriguez found his groove again. After giving up a single to Yuli Gurriel following Tucker’s homer, Rodriguez retired the next seven Astros hitters he faced, finishing his day by getting Carlos Correa to ground out.

As Rodriguez walked off the mound at the end of the sixth — which presumably was the end of his day as he was at 97 pitches — he turned to Correa and pointed at his wrist. The gesture seemingly mocked Correa for his celebration after he hit the go-ahead home run in Game 1, in which the shortstop pointed at his wrist right after he made contact and said, “It’s my time.”

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Rodriguez’s gesture appeared to upset Red Sox manager Alex Cora at the time as he yelled, “No! No!” to Rodriguez. Cora said his message to Rodriguez when he returned to the dugout was: “Don’t do that.”

“Because we don’t act that way,” Cora said. “We just show up, we play, and we move on. 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 move onto the next round.”

Cora compared the moment he had with Rodriguez similar to a teaching moment with one of his kids.

“It’s not that I’m mad at him. It’s like [when I’m speaking] to one of the twins: ‘Don’t do that.’ We don’t have to do that,” Cora said. “He knows. He understands. We’re not that way. We talk about humble approach and humble players and that’s what we are. We like to grind. We like to play. But we don’t do that.”

Rodriguez owned up to his action after the game, expressing some remorse.

“That was part of the game. That was just part of the game. The atmosphere, the moment, and everything. I mean, I did it,” Rodriguez told NESN’s Jahmai Webster. “I mean, what else can we do? Just turn the page and go out there tomorrow.

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“As for the conversation with Alex, he told me don’t do that. Be humble and don’t do that. That’s something I really got to learn. That’s it. That’s all. It’s part of the game. What else can I do? Sometimes I feel like hitters show us up all the time. As a pitcher, we get our time too. Like I said, it’s part of the game.”

Outside of the gesture toward Correa, Cora was proud of his starter’s performance. In six innings, Rodriguez gave up three runs on five hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts.

By striking out seven and not allowing a walk, Rodriguez became the first left-handed pitcher in the 109-year history of Fenway Park to record such a stat line in the playoffs.

In addition to the efficient strikeout-to-walk ratio, Rodriguez also ate most of the innings in Monday’s game, marking the second straight game the Red Sox’ starting pitcher lasted at least five innings.

With the unpredictability of the starting rotation outside of Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi, Cora was happy to get as many innings as he could out of Rodriguez to avoid having to use the bullpen too much on Monday.

“Besides [the gesture toward Correa], he was outstanding,” Cora said. “Establishing the fastball, good changeup, good cutter. Good tempo. One 0-2 pitch that [was hit for a home run], we really don’t care. One of the things I told him was, ‘Hey man, we’ve got to throw strikes. Don’t walk people. Make them earn it.’ And he did.

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“And the fact that he went six innings was very important for us. It’s three games in a row against a great team. To be able to rest the bullpen for tomorrow is huge. He understood that. He made some pitches, made some double plays. Overall, he was great.”

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