ATLANTA — Last dead in the American League East, the Boston Red Sox had to look carefully in the mirror.
This is where manager Alex Cora thought he found the problem.
The Red Sox manager shaved off the salt-and-pepper beard he grew ahead of this season, hoping a new vibe could help Boston end its worst five-game losing streak of the season. Cora arrived clean-shaven for Tuesday night’s opener of a two-game series against the Braves, and he was ready to pin his team’s 10-19 start on the beard.
“If we win 10 in a row, that’s on me because I should have recognized it before,” Cora said with a smile.
The shave might have worked, as the Red Sox beat the Braves 9-4 on Tuesday night.
“If our offense depends on my facial hair, we’re in big trouble,” Cora said after the game.
Boston is 10½ games behind the New York Yankees. The Red Sox have lost 14 of 19 games.
Of course, Cora changed her composition as well. Trevor Story, hitting .194, hit sixth instead of leading the lineup and had two hits, including a single in the big second inning. Xander Bogaerts fell one spot to fourth and had three hits. Designated hitter JD Martinez hit third instead of fourth and singled.
“Rotate the big boys, see what happens,” Cora said before the game. “We have some capable guys, and they don’t swing the bat well. Hopefully moving some people around helps.”
Cora said her shave was an impromptu decision. He had no beard or mustache before this season.
“Yesterday I got up and took the family to the airport and decided to shave,” he said.
Cora insisted he wasn’t as superstitious as many others in the game.
Cora said his brother, former infielder Joey Cora, listens to the same song before every game. He said “it went to the extreme”.
If the Red Sox take off on a winning streak, expect a personal facial hair ban to become a new routine for the manager.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.