10/21/07 5:41 PM ET
Francona pregame interview
Red Sox manager comments on Game 7 pitchers
By / MLB.com
TERRY FRANCONA: Most likely Wake won't. Wake is going to throw a side now. Just because of what he's gone through pitching, I think we felt like it was in his best interest -- and we're not trying to put the cart before the horse, but getting him up quickly won't work. I think we're all hopeful that we'll have more baseball to play, and that's our best way to go about it.
You've answered just about every kind of imaginable question in this series, from inane to insane. I'm just wondering, A, which question are you tired most of answering? And B, which question do you wish we would have asked that we haven't?
TERRY FRANCONA: Okay, that would be it right there (laughter). I think that about covered inane -- what was the other one you said?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I don't have a good answer for that one. I didn't wake up thinking that that would be asked.
I just really want to win tonight (laughter). I don't know where else to go with that (laughter). Believe it or not, I don't rate your questions.
What did you think of the way Ellsbury handled himself last night, in the game last night?
TERRY FRANCONA: I thought you were going to say, what did you think of that question? (Laughter).
I thought he handled himself fine. If you pick it apart a little bit, he probably could have got back to the wall because he's athletic enough to make those plays. I didn't think he looked overwhelmed by what was asked of him, or we wouldn't have played him. He had a real good at bat against the left hander and he didn't crush it, but he stayed back and let the ball get to him.
I think all the things we've talked about with Jake are true. He competes, and for a young player put in that situation, I think that's pretty high praise. Just the fact that we played him I think shows the amount of confidence in him.
When you look at him and Pedroia and then you look at all the young players in the National League, like Colorado and Arizona had, are young players different than they were five or six years ago, or are they more advanced or more prepared for that at this age than what we're used to seeing?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know. I think you're seeing -- there's only, what, three teams left, and you're talking about -- Colorado had a real special year, still having one. Arizona, same type things. But you're talking about some pretty special players. I don't know if that was that way all through the league. More teams would probably have success. I do think here in Boston, it's a little bit different because we are expected to win -- not every year, every day. And when you bring young players here, they're not allowed to struggle.
So you have to have pretty special people, not just players, that can handle being everyday players in a place like this. And I think we've got a couple. Youkilis has come through here, Pedroia has come through, Ellsbury is on his way coming through, and it's exciting. There's nothing wrong with having young players. It's fun. It's good for teams. But they have to be able to handle the responsibility, not just of being an everyday player, but being an everyday player in this environment.
Have you had a chance to check with some of your players and their mood coming into the clubhouse? Are they loose, focused, relaxed, uptight? And specifically how about Daisuke? Gordon mentioned after Game 3 he kind of was off to himself for an hour or so after that game? And have you checked with his mind frame?
TERRY FRANCONA: I can assure you -- I think that deserves a smart-aleck answer. I didn't stand by the door and greet them. Our day is always the same. You become very routine oriented. We talked about Daisuke and what he went through the other night and why he went through it. Our guys are going to be the same every day. We are very aware of what tonight means, but the best way to play a game like tonight is by playing your best baseball.
If I were to march in there and check their mood at the door or call a meeting all of a sudden, an inspirational meeting, I don't think that's going to bring out the best in our team.
How much interest has Beckett expressed to you in wanting to be a part of tonight and pitch tonight? And what kind of role could you see him potentially filling?
TERRY FRANCONA: Because he says he's available or wants to be available, doesn't mean we will try to create a situation for him to be available. Saying that, you could see him in this game, but those are two different things.
Again, it's a lot to ask. We think he can do it. But we're not just going to try to create that situation.
Daisuke mentioned a couple of times last night that teammates over the last few days had said, "We're going to get you another shot at this." How buoyed are you by the fact that teammates are going to support him, and how much help do you think that is to Daisuke's mind frame going into tonight?
TERRY FRANCONA: I'm buoyed by the three meatball sandwiches I had earlier (laughter).
I think Daisuke is very excited about pitching, and I think we look at him, and I think we're excited for him. I think his teammates legitimately wanted to give him another crack. It honestly means a lot to us to play another game tonight and try to win. But I think Daisuke is taking this kind of personally and wants to do something to help our cause.
Mike Timlin has also faced adversity over the past couple years, and he's been able to have that longevity. Talk about what he's meant to this club, especially to the bullpen.
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, he's kind of been the leader of that bullpen for a long time, and he's had to come back from a couple different things this year. It took a while to get him on a roll, but every time he's pitched with health, he's gotten on that roll. He's kind of had to reinvent himself, but he's still good and he still throws strikes, and that's important. When you know what you're getting out of the bullpen, "dependability" is a huge word.
Curious if there's any difference at all in the type of scouting reports you received coming into this postseason as opposed to '04, different points of emphasis, maybe additional categories of information, that kind of thing?
TERRY FRANCONA: If anything, I think -- again, the more experience you have with the same people, you kind of know what you want. So we might have gotten a few more things done. Allard Baird, who headed it, is pretty structured and pretty detail oriented, so we talked about it a lot of times when we were looking for it. I basically told him at the end, there's not too much you can put in. If we don't want to use it, we won't, but don't hesitate to use anything.
I was really proud of our organization's work getting ready for these series.
How did you look back on the way you guys approached Westbrook in Cleveland when you reviewed that game?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I don't think our approach was bad. I thought his approach to us was tremendous. He threw strike one and never threw it down the middle. He was really good. I think we have to expect him to be really good again tonight, and if he throws strike one over the middle, hopefully make him pay. If he doesn't, get into deep counts like we do with everybody and get good pitches to hit. He threw a lot of good pitches the other day, especially first pitch strikes.
What kind of a competitive advantage does Kevin Millar throwing out the first pitch give you tonight (laughter)?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know (laughter). Theo left him a text and said, as long as he's throwing it it's okay, but if anyone is going to catch it, get Olerud, which is pretty exciting (laughter).
I don't get it. This is another one of those things where he can pull it off. He's a member of the Baltimore Orioles, he's going to be spurring on the Red Sox and nobody is going to say a word. He'll probably bring the house down. I don't get it. I love it, but I don't get it. It's Millar. The whole place will be coming down. It's hilarious.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.