Spring training games start on Thursday afternoon against Northeastern. That means we've had a couple of weeks to get know new Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Before the NU game, he addressed a number of topics that helped shed further light on his managerial style. Here are some observations. -- He doesn't believe left-right balance is a requirement when constructing a batting order, which is a noted shift from predecessor John Farrell, who believed alternating right and left made it difficult for opposing managers to play the matchup game out of the bullpen. "It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter," Cora said. "You put the best lineup out there. I hate to bring up last year because I want turn the page, but you saw what happened at the end. We had five righties and it didn't matter. If you can hit, you can hit." Cora was referring to his powerhouse Astros, who eliminated the Red Sox in a four-game ALDS last October. At times in that series, they started five straight righties in their batting order (George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis). -- Speaking of lineups, batter-pitcher matchups are no longer simply a matter of batting average against. The analytics have grown so advanced, they include swing paths and launch angles and underlying values that make the result almost irrelevant. Cora calls these "NASA numbers" and cites an example from his own career when he played under Red Sox manager Terry Francona.