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10/06/05 2:11 PM ET

Francona off-day interview

How does it look for Matt Clement coming out of the bullpen tomorrow?

TERRY FRANCONA: Right now, I wouldn't say it's perfect. He stopped in maybe half hour ago before he was heading down to the field.

He threw I don't want to say extensively yesterday but harder than he normally would. That leg doesn't feel real good, and, you know, he's pitched a lot. You know, you got a day off. We'll see. I kind of told him the same thing we told him yesterday: We're trying to keep every option we have available to us open. At the same time, we'll never be unfair to a player. We'll just see how he does.

If you were able to use him out there, what do you think he's capable of work wise and situation wise?

FRANCONA: Well, again, that kind of goes back to what I just said. We probably don't know that yet. As far as where we use him in the game, I don't know that I would give an advance warning on how we're going to use our bullpen. I don't think that helps us competitively.

You had talked this past weekend about Tim Wakefield getting back to a normal routine, getting rest. Would you talk a little bit about how you expect him to do.

FRANCONA: Certainly. You know, he's been so outstanding for us this year. We got put in a little bit of a bind last week. We had to come back on a short rest, and it didn't work out real well. We fully expect that to change.

He's been such a horse for us. He's been consistent. At times, you can almost use the word "dominant." Probably doesn't throw the ball 95 miles an hour, but I still think at times he's been dominant. He's gotten us very deep into a lot of games and very effectively.

He's a smart guy. He's been doing this a long time. He knows what we got going tomorrow.

With all the experience the team has had with their backs to the wall, you've always talked about every season being a season unto itself, can you talk about whether that experience is going to help you in this situation?

FRANCONA: Again, I think every experience you have helps you. Regardless of whether it's baseball or writing or whatever, you try to pull from your experiences and make them positive and learn from them. We have a lot of experiences in a lot of areas. So if players or me or the coaches or somebody can pull something positive from that experience, good.

What it ultimately comes down to, regardless of whether you're experienced or not, is we need to win tomorrow. That's what we're going to try to do. If the experience helps, good. We know we need to win.

Do you anticipate any lineup changes tomorrow?

FRANCONA: Well, I don't know. We've changed it pretty frequently the last two months of the year.

Have you been surprised at all by the White Sox pitching versus your hitting in these first two games?

FRANCONA: I think you have to look a little bit past that. That's kind of a broad statement. I mean, I actually think Mark Buehrle was a starter in the All Star Game. We were very effective against him early on. We really did a great job. If you go back and look at the tape, we hit a number of balls right on the nose. So I don't think that was a correct completely correct statement.

Somebody asked me last night about us not taking walks. If you actually watched the game, there were none to take. Swung at strikes, did a very good job at swinging at strikes. Sometimes, you know, you come up against pitchers that are throwing strikes. I mean, Jenks came in, and I think it was our hope he would not command the strike zone. He did. Again, when you're throwing 98 with a breaking ball from here to here, and you're throwing strikes, you know, that's not real easy to hit.

You guys haven't faced Garcia at all this year. Do you think that helps or hurts the guys?

FRANCONA: I hope it helps. I don't think it matters. There's a lot of history there. We'll be prepared. I don't think it matters. I mean, we faced Contreras, faced Buehrle. They faced guys in the past. Again, it just comes down we need to win the game, regardless of whether we faced them or not.

What have you guys not done and what do you need to do to get yourselves back into it?

FRANCONA: We need to win. Actually, yesterday we played a very good game. We made a couple mistakes, and it cost us. I thought we hit the ball very well. I thought we played a very good game. I thought we pitched very well. We lost a really tough game.

One play in so many games, we talk about this often, can swing a game, or one pitch, a walk or a key at bat. Again, I thought we did a pretty good job. We came out on the short end of the stick. We got to find a way to be one run better. That's basically what we have to do.

Would you talk about why your team plays so well at home.

FRANCONA: I think there's a number of reasons. I think every team is more comfortable in their home ballpark. The way ours is configured, I think our left hand hitters know they can reach the wall. Manny is strong enough to reach the rightfield wall. Not too many guys in baseball are.

Again, if you hit as a hitter, if you hit with balance, using the whole field, you're strong enough to get rewarded for that, you're going to have success.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

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