ATLANTA — Dead last in the American League East, the Boston Red Sox were due for a hard look in the mirror.
That’s where manager Alex Cora thought he found the problem.
The Red Sox manager shaved the salt-and-pepper beard he grew prior to this season, hoping a new vibe might help Boston snap its season-worst five-game losing streak. Cora arrived clean shaven for Tuesday night’s opener of a two-game series against the Braves, and he was willing to pin his team’s 10-19 start on the beard.
“If we win 10 in a row, it’s on me because I should have recognized that before,” Cora said with a smile.
The shave just might have worked, because the Red Sox went on to 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 first-place New York Yankees. The Red Sox have lost 14 of 19 games.
Of course, Cora tweaked his lineup, too. Trevor Story, hitting .194, hit sixth instead of at the top of the lineup and had two hits, including a single in the big second inning. Xander Bogaerts moved down one spot to fourth and had three hits. Designated hitter J.D. Martinez hit third instead of fourth and had a single.
“Flip-flopping the big boys, see what happens,” Cora said before the game. “We’ve got some capable guys, and they’re not swinging the bat well. Hopefully, moving some people around helps.”
Cora indicated his shave was an impromptu decision. He didn’t have a beard and moustache before this season.
“Yesterday I got up and took the family to the airport and decided to shave,” he said.
Cora insisted he’s not as superstitious as many others in the game.
Cora said his brother, former infielder Joey Cora, would listen to the same song before every game. He said that “went to the extreme.”
Should the Red Sox take off on a winning streak, expect a personal ban on facial hair to become a new routine for the manager.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.