Today’s Spring Training game is the ultimate Throwback Thursday. Nearly five months after the Houston Astros defeated the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALDS, the teams are meeting again. And the déjà vu doesn’t stop there; Game 4 starting pitchers Charlie Morton and Rick Porcello take the mound again today to begin the Grapefruit League game.
Both teams are virtually unchanged, with two major exceptions: Alex Cora has switched sides, and the Houston Astros are now World Series champions. Cora said that he was looking forward to his new team facing his former team, and brought most of his big guns across Florida for the game. On Wednesday, he told WEEI, “Just a reminder: Remember what they did to you guys.”
Cora’s head is definitely in the right place. The coach-turned-manager knows how it feels to win, but most of his new, young team does not, and no one serves as a better reminder of that than the team that kicked them out of the postseason. With the exceptions of Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, and a few others, this Red Sox team is far removed from the team that won Boston’s last championship in 2013. Boston’s new manager said, “being in front of those guys, it will be good for them,” and hopefully, he’s right. Nothing like a painful reminder of your failure to motivate you to have a better season, and the Red Sox will need to seriously perform if they want to make it to the postseason this year. It’s a ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ situation; Cora wants his players to see how a championship team operates, though I’m sure most of these guys haven’t forgotten how the Astros handed them their asses back in October.
Hopefully, there’s some osmosis today so the Red Sox can absorb some of that winning essence.