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10/16/07 6:14 PM ET
Pregame interview with Terry Francona
Sox manager gets a heavy dose of pitching questions
By / MLB.com
Two things: One, is your lineup the same today besides Mirabelli? Is that the only change going into tonight? TERRY FRANCONA: Yes, Dougie's hitting eighth. The other question I have, I'm not sure how aware of it you were, but Matsuzaka was sitting in his locker for more than an hour after the game last night, still in uniform obviously, very upset and all. Is it your practice to just let a guy deal with losing however he's going to deal with it rather than pull him aside and talk to him, or have you talked to him since? TERRY FRANCONA: Whether I talk to him or John Farrell talks to him or in the hitter's instance, Dave Magadan, the thing I don't get too worked up about is how somebody is perceived or maybe what they say after a tough loss. I think that happens so often. If a guy every once in a while lets you in to how he's feeling, and sometimes they don't, it doesn't mean they don't feel like that, they just hide it better than other times. You know, how he sat in his locker or his demeanor after the game won't have any bearing on how he pitches the next time out. Did you see anything different with Pedroia's at bats right now? He's not having the same kind of success he was. TERRY FRANCONA: A little jumpy, a little anxious. One of the things Pedroia does real well is swing at strikes and makes contact. He's chased a couple balls out of the zone, and he checked his swing early yesterday at a pitch out of the zone. Just a little anxious. Just kind of reminds us maybe of April, and now hopefully the back part of the series will be like the rest of the year. David was talking about his knee and how on Sunday it had swelled up, and he was clearly concerned about being able to play the rest of the way. Was that ever an issue with you and how is his knee now? TERRY FRANCONA: No, it's not an issue. I don't know where that came from, but I just talked to David for about 20 minutes today, and it didn't even come up. No, it's not an issue. There were a lot of questions for Josh Beckett about whether he could have pitched on three days' rest. Did you consider that at all, or did you not consider that at all? TERRY FRANCONA: I can't believe somebody asked me that question. Yeah, I think what we considered was trying to put our ballclub in the best position to win the series, and there's a lot of different reasons why we feel like that. Some of it certainly concerns Josh, some of it concerns the guys behind him. I guess it kind of comes down to when you set up your rotation and your roster prior to a series, the reason you set it up like that is because you think it gives you the best chance to win. To alter that, regardless of what the games are, doesn't make sense to me. Now, certainly when you get down towards the end of a series and there are no more games to play, it's kind of all hands on deck. I understand that. But right now this is the way we set it up, and we set it up for a reason, and hopefully it'll pay off. Just back to Matsuzaka for a second, he has two starts in the postseason now, both not finishing up five innings. Is it a case with him of something needs to be fixed per se, as far as executing his pitches? I mean, how do you view it from his two outings? What's been not clicking right for him? TERRY FRANCONA: I think he's been carrying a lot of responsibility, and that's probably far too simplistic. But I mean, all the notoriety that came with him signing with the Red Sox, the cultural differences. You know, there's been times, this isn't during the playoffs but times during the year where we'll take him out and he'll be apologetic. He feels so much responsibility because he is so competitive, and he is so conscientious that now that it's playoff time, I just think he understands and knows his responsibility, and if he feels like he came up a little short, it bothers him. I certainly understand that. You know, this kid has had so much thrown at him, and we knew it would happen. I think it's not unfair to expect that as he progresses and gets more comfortable in this culture, he'll pitch better.
I think that is definitely the case.Just one follow up on that: That being said, do you think if he goes out there again that he's the type of guy that can just bounce back from these two? He's strong enough mentally to do that? TERRY FRANCONA: I think he's one of the strongest guys mentally I've ever seen. Again, ten minutes after a game how a guy reacts won't have anything to do with five days later with time to process things and learn from our mistakes and get back on the right track. If weather comes in to play tonight and there's some sort of delay, do you have any advantage with Wakefield pitching tonight than maybe a power pitcher, sending him back out after a delay? TERRY FRANCONA: You know, I think that can be a little bit misunderstood or misread. I think people think Wake, because of his style, can throw 150 pitches, come back on a side day and throw in the bullpen. I think ten years ago he could. Not anymore. This time of year you may be a little bit more flexible with how you approach a delay or something like that. I know during the year when the tarp comes out, we pretty much -- that's it for our starter because it's going to be about an hour. And when you have 100 or so innings ahead of you, you don't want to lose those innings. You get into the middle of October, sometimes you can be a little bit more flexible. I'm just curious if you watched at all any of the National League series or if you have as a baseball fan a comment on what's gone on there? TERRY FRANCONA: A little bit, not a lot. I watched some of the game, but it was late. I don't know how kids and managers stay awake (laughter). Can you comment on what the Rockies have done. TERRY FRANCONA: It's phenomenal. The run they've been on is phenomenal. They seem to be all over the field. Their defense is -- again, every time a ball is hit they're moving. And that place can get, I remember back some time, the Blake Street Bombers and all that, and that area of downtown, it was so enthusiastic. It's kind of cool to see it happen again.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.