Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said he was “pretty disappointed” by comments made Monday night by Boston Red Sox skipper Alex Cora, who questioned Baltimore’s success at the plate, calling them “disrespectful to by our batteries”.
After Baltimore’s 5-4 win, Cora was asked about starting pitcher Chris Sale’s struggles, which included just two hits in the Orioles’ 42 swings against him. The Orioles were hitless in the game, the first time they accomplished the feat since August 8, 2010.
“At one point there, there were no swings and fouls and hard pitches,” Cora told reporters. “But we better give them credit, I guess. There was one at bat there [James] McCann was down and in, and he kept fouling, fouling, fouling, and then he got a fastball. It was down, the location wasn’t great, and it hit a rocket the other way. I do not know. We need to take a look at it and see if we can find anything. I’m not saying, you know, I have to give them credit.”
Asked about Cora’s comments, Hyde said Tuesday afternoon that he wasn’t “sure what he was getting at.”
“Honestly, pretty disappointed to hear that,” Hyde said. “I thought it was disrespectful to our hitters, to be honest with you. I thought we had a great game plan. I thought major leaguers took really good hits. And I liked our approach last night. It was the best approach possibly since I’ve been here, one for nine, nine innings as a starter, and I’m not really worried about what other people say about us, honestly. But I found it disrespectful.”
During a weekly radio appearance Tuesday morning, Cora said Sale’s inability to induce swings and misses was a “red flag” about lefty stuff or if he was swinging his pitches. Sale struck out 11 in his previous start and 30 in his first 18 innings of the season. The Orioles tagged the 34-year-old veteran for nine hits and five runs in the comeback win. It was the first start of Sale’s career in which he went past the first inning and did not record a strikeout.
“No swings and misses is a red flag,” Cora said on WEEI’s “The Gresh and Fauria Show” in Boston. “I’m not talking about health, I’m talking about pitch mix or pitch selection. Obviously, the fastball up in the zone was a non-competitive pitch. No swings and misses on the slider, and he had an OK one yesterday, it’s one where we have to go back to the drawing board and see if there’s anything going on in terms of flipping or pitch selection or all that stuff because we don’t makes sense.
“The guy struck out 30 guys in his first three or four starts with OK stuff, and yesterday was very similar and we didn’t get one. So we’ll take a look, work on it and get it ready for Sunday.”
Cora said before Tuesday’s game that he was only referring to whether Sale was swinging his pitches and not accusing the Orioles of doing anything nefarious. Cora was the bench coach for the Houston Astros in 2017 and was one of three men suspended for their involvement in the team’s sign-stealing scandal. Cora, who was hired as Boston’s manager after the 2017 season, was suspended for the 2020 campaign and then rehired before the 2021 season.
“Well, ‘red flag’ means a tip. It’s not about anything else,” said Cora, who was initially surprised Hyde said his comments were “disrespectful.” “For me to accuse somebody of doing something wrong, I’m the last guy to say that because I put myself in that situation in ’17. So if he took it that way, I’m going to talk to him right now. I will let him know. But it’s more about, you know, you have to check out what’s going on. He’s a big league pitcher who throws 97 [mph] with a great slider and a good changeup with two swings and misses. This is. They do a wonderful job. We know that.
“They covered the fields. They covered the grounds down low, but it wasn’t about pointing the finger at them. If he took it that way, I’m going to talk to him right now. It’s not necessary. I’m the last guy to accuse anyone. I was the guy suspended for what happened in 2017, so I’m the last guy to accuse someone of doing anything wrong if that’s what they thought they were saying.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Nathan Ruiz contributed to this article.