This was a surprise. Alex Cora’s postgame press conference was going mostly as normal. He was answering questions about the game, one question about the president of the United States because we live in hell, but nothing was really out of the ordinary. In hindsight, you notice that no one asked about the next day. Cora certainly noticed that, and so as he was dismissed from the room and approaching the door, he turned around and told the media that David Price would be getting the ball for Game Five. The plan, of course, was that Chris Sale would start on Sunday on normal rest, so this threw people for a loop.
Before we get into this move, let me just say I respect the hell out of Cora announcing this at the very end like that. It was incredible. His explanation after he say back down was “nobody asked.” It’s true!
Anyway, what really matters is that they are shuffling the rotation around in surprising fashion. Sale, as mentioned above, was supposed to be on regular rest. Price, meanwhile, will be on three days rest. Cora insists that nothing is wrong with Sale and this was about liking the situation for Price, but that doesn’t pass the smell test. There’s no matchup in the World Series where you’d prefer your number two on short rest to your ace on regular rest if everyone is fine.
This definitely seems like it has everything to do with Sale, it’s just hard to speculate about exactly what the issue is. Perhaps he’s still feeling the effects of his stomach issues and they feel he needs a couple more days rest. Perhaps there’s something more to his injury and they are trying to sneak through to a championship without having to use him again. Perhaps the injury isn’t quite that serious but it’s still enough that they’d like to avoid having him hit. There’s know way for us to know, but the only thing I’m mostly sure of is that this isn’t just about some aspect of this matchup they like with Price.