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10/05/07 7:18 PM ET

Terry Francona pregame interview

Francona says Ortiz never gives at bats away

For those of us who didn't see Matsuzaka's 32 or 33 starts, can you sort of take us through them. Obviously, he had some good ones, some bad ones. A lot of us saw the early ones that were very, very good, and then were surprised later on to see that he had some struggles. Could you just sort of take us through, if it was a mechanical thing or getting used to the rotation thing or something like that?

TERRY FRANCONA: I can run you through some of the cycles that he did. Because there were, I think the thing you just kind of touched on though was he went through a lot of things for the first time. You know, he's a polished pitcher, I know he's a rookie by our standards, but he's not a rookie pitcher.

But he was thrown culturally -- every time, think about it, every time he opens his mouth even to talk to one of his teammates, he has to think his way through it because there is that hurdle to always get. You know, new training methods, different methods. Okay, if they're not different, where do we meet in the middle? There is a lot to work towards, which I thought he did a very good job.

Now about his pitching, he went through a period where he lost some real tough games 1-0, 2-1. Pitched really well. Then he went about five starts where all his pitches started running together. You know, kind of hard. When he got into a bind it was hard, harder, his slow stuff started to run together. His last outing there was a lot of definition to his pitches again, which is good. Four, five different pitches that have different looks, different locations, different speeds because that's the way he needs to pitch. He can throw his fastball when he needs to, but his off speed can be so devastating. Hopefully.

Your bullpen was the best in the American League this year, and if Matsuzaka goes deep in this game, and another off day, some of those guys will have gone ten days or two weeks without working. Will you do anything different tomorrow and is that a concern of yours?

TERRY FRANCONA: That would be great. If that's the case, we could come up with a simulated game so fast it will make your head spin. That would not be a problem (smiling).

Pap and Oki threw the other night and got hot. That will be the least of our problems. I understand your question. That would be a great perceived problem to have.

What did Julio Lugo show you given how the first half went and how he got the slow start, and how he's played in the second half? And what do you see, he seems to be enjoying the postseason spotlight a little bit?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think he said the other day that's why he came here. He got off to a really slow start. And in Boston you're not allowed to do that. And it bothered him for a while. Then he started playing the game the way he can. You know, I know his batting average .238 or .240 is not what he expected to hit. But over the course of maybe his last 80, 90 games he's been the player we thought we were getting.

His defense, I think he even got better. More consistent. But he got on base. He understood how we felt about running the bases, did a real good job stealing bases and not getting caught, not making outs. Put some pressure on the other team. We talk about the Angels so much. The pressure they put on with Crisp, Ellsbury, Lugo, we can somewhat do the same thing maybe not just with our whole lineup though.

Can you talk a little about why David is so consistent in the postseason.

TERRY FRANCONA: I hope that it continues. I guess that's why it would be consistent. I think the big thing is first of all, you have to be good and then David never gives at bats away. You know, so when the moment comes where it's a perceived huge moment, he just has to stay with what he does. If you throw him away, he can hit the ball over the left field wall or reach the wall. If you throw him in, he's strong enough to hit a home run, he can fight some off. So often you see the shift where sometimes it takes a hit away, sometimes something falls in. And you can't cover everywhere.

He's just such a talented, knowledgeable hitter, that the moment doesn't get the best of him either. He's got a lot of things going for him.

Was Daisuke fighting or auditioning for this start in that last start against Minnesota?

TERRY FRANCONA: Was he auditioning?

The question was whether he was going pitch in Game 2 or 3?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think that we felt the need to make our rotation out before we were supposed to, because we didn't know who we were going to play, and we didn't know when we were going to play. But the answer to that I think, would be no. We had this set up and actually had spoken to Schill probably before we even talked to Daisuke about what we were even going to do.

Now again, things happen. Guys get a ball off the shin, so we don't announce things, but I think the answer would be no.

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Is there anything about Daisuke's make up that may have surprised you during the course of the season or you didn't know about?

TERRY FRANCONA: We tried to know a lot. I mean, we really our guys did a really good job, Ship (Craig Shipley) and (John) Deeble, the guys that really scouted him, they did a great job scouting this guy. There is not much we didn't know. There is a lot we're happy about, but I don't think surprised.

What are the plans, speaking of Schilling, for him to leave?

TERRY FRANCONA: He and Beckett are heading out about right now. Because of the craziness in the scheduling, time changes, early start and late start, the importance of the games, they're both leaving right about now. Got a big press conference tomorrow at 2:00 that we want Schill to be there for.

I know it's looking ahead a little bit, but can you talk about Schilling and where he is right now how you feel about -- ?

TERRY FRANCONA: He's on the way to the airport (laughter). I don't know that I'd be comfortable. There's time to do that. I'd really like to look at the game tonight and kind of stay where we are.

A couple of the guys were talking about how vocal and animated Beckett was prior to Game 1 in the dugout. Talking to guys, kind of giving them a little rah- rah and all. You've seen both ends of the spectrum with Schill not even basically acknowledging you, and Beckett being more outgoing. Which is more the norm in your experience? Which is more typical of starting pitchers?

TERRY FRANCONA: Everybody's different. I know, and I've been around Schill so long, there were times, especially in Philadelphia, when he would talk to me or anybody. I remember thinking uh-oh, because he's not ready to pitch like he needs to be. And the days where he's particularly surly, those were more often than not his big days. I don't talk to Schill very much during a game. If there's something strategic that needs to be spoken about, I don't have a problem with it, but I don't make a habit of it.

I don't make a habit of going and talking to any of the pitchers. I don't think it serves a purpose. John Farrell's the pitching coach, and they don't need a buddy on the day they're throwing. They just need to -- just need to stay out of the way. If I need something answered, John can do that. But everybody's different, to kind of somewhat answer the question. They all have their own personality, and I don't care what it is as long as they get people out.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

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