BOSTON — Upbraided by his manager on national television, Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez struck a remorseful tone after he mocked Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa upon finishing six innings of superb work.
Rodriguez even said that after pointing to his wristwatch in a send-up of Correa's "My time" celebration, he'd apologize the next time he sees him.
Correa's response? Nothing but love.
"I loved it, personally," Correa said after Rodriguez struck out seven in six innings of Boston's 12-3 victory in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Monday night. "I think the game should move in that direction where you can show emotions and be yourself and keep it real.
"There’s a lot of fakeness out there, the cliché answers that you get, and I think players should be more real, be able to express themselves. He pitched a great game. He was nasty.
"Any time you have a performance like that against the No. 1 offensive team of the season, you can do whatever you want."
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Perhaps deep down, Red Sox manager Alex Cora might agree. But even with a 9-3 lead at the time, on the way to a 2-1 series advantage, Cora's ulterior motive was clear: Don't poke the sleeping bear, even if the Red Sox have a significant upper hand in the series.
"Don’t do that," Cora said he told Rodriguez. "Because we don't act that way. We just show up, we play, and we move on, and 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 on to the next round."
Alex Cora was not pleased with Eduardo Rodríguez after he mocked Carlos Correa. pic.twitter.com/QCSHEz7lfE
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Rodriguez said Cora told him to "stay humble," and that admittedly may be a challenge for the Red Sox after outscoring the Astros 21-8 over the past two games, with all of Houston's runs coming after Boston seized 9-0 leads.
Cora said it wasn't unlike the occasional tough love he doles out to his 4-year-old twins when they, in essence, should know better. He's also close with Correa from his stint as Astros bench coach.
Not that the aggrieved party was that concerned.
"Why would it bother me? It’s fun," says Correa. "It’s the game of baseball. We should all go out there and have fun. So yeah, I loved it. It was great.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Eduardo Rodriguez mocked Carlos Correa's wristwatch celebration