10/24/07 5:47 PM ET
Francona pregame interview
Manager discusses Red Sox roster, batting order and rotation
By / MLB.com
TERRY FRANCONA: It really doesn't. It really doesn't. Some of it will be David's health, but that's probably more than anything.
That's going to be the biggest thing?
TERRY FRANCONA: Sure, sure.
Could you talk about the lineup changes just in terms of the batting order has been moved around a little bit?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, with Francis pitching and Ellsbury playing, and they have three left handers in the bullpen, we didn't want to make it easier on them than we need to. Tek took some pretty good swings, pretty good pretext from Mike Lowell, put J.D. in, put Lugo in between, so if we do get to the bullpen they don't have an inning have they can have a lefty fly through three guys in a row. That would seem too easy.
Can you update us on Coco's health and how he's doing, and if David has to address his knee medically?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, again, that's not -- I don't mean to be rude, but we don't do that. That's just I'm sure he'll tell you at some point, so the answer is no. But we don't need to go into medical. That's just not really the way you're supposed to do things.
Coco, because of the lateness of the game, we're just starting to go on the field now, he's been getting treatment. So when I get out of here, as you guys will probably do, watch him move around, and the hope is that there's a lot of improvement today. But as of yet, I can't tell you that that's a for sure.
Can you just talk about the factors that went into deciding between something like Lester or Taveras on the roster?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know what, actually Cory was heavily involved in that decision, also, and I think the best way to put it in a nutshell is we tried to cover everything or anything that could be thrown at us, whether it's weather, whether it's somebody getting hit in the ankle by a line drive, and we felt that this best suited us for the entire series.
You wouldn't commit to John Lester for Game 4 yesterday. Will you commit to him tonight?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I don't know that that makes again, I mean, we fully intend for Lester to pitch Game Four, but again, there could be weather, there could be things that happen during games that change things. So that's the only reason I said that yesterday. We fully intend for Jon to pitch. He threw four innings yesterday. That's what we would like to do, and unless something crazy happens, he will pitch.
I think the initial plan for pitching rotation was Josh, Wakey, Schilling and Daisuke. Could I ask the reason why you pushed Daisuke from Game 3 to Game 4?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, that seems to be answering -- Wake's not even on the roster, and if we would -- quite frankly, wanted you in our meetings, we would have invited you. Some of our decisions we make are to put us in the best position we think to win, and again, because Wake is not on the roster, it's not even pertinent.
The years of managing this team in the postseason, what has it taught you about the care and handling of a bullpen this time of year?
TERRY FRANCONA: It's not just this time of year. I think it's actually almost more important what leads up to this time of year. You get to you can get yourself into situations where you have to lean on people so heavily, and if there's not much left, it could go wrong. And I guess what I'm kind of going back to, in '04 the game that the Yankees beat us by like two touchdowns, it wasn't a very fun game. Wake went out there and kind of saved us, we stayed away from Folke and Timlin and then in the next games leaned on them. And then the next two games if we tried to keep it within one touchdown it would have saved some embarrassment that night but it wasn't the right thing for us to win.
So if you take it over the whole season, we try to always make decisions not based on emotion but based on what's correct because you get into the seventh inning of a game, you want Papelbon available every night. It's just not in our ballclub's best interest for the long haul. Now we go to Pap and he's got a lot left.
Some of his teammates have described Mike Lowell as the consummate professional. How would you describe his contributions to the team and what he means both on and off the field?
TERRY FRANCONA: I agree with that. I think he's -- that's the best way to sum up Mikey Lowell. He gives you everything he has every day. If he's 0-for-4 he wants to make a play at third base. You try to give him a day off, he wants to fight you. That's the way he is. He plays the game and he gives you everything he has, and he's so good at third, he's not the fastest guy but he's a good base runner, and he's had a terrific year.
And I think it's kind of what you alluded to, I think his teammates are really happy for him.
I think it's nine of the last 10 years that the team that has won the first game of the World Series has gone on to win it. Is that just a coincidence or do you think there is that momentum boost for the team that wins the first game?
TERRY FRANCONA: I wasn't aware of that. I mean, I think you're stating the obvious. It would be great to win Game 1. If we don't, we're not going to pack it in, and I know the Rockies won't. It gives you an advantage until Game 2.
Talk a little bit about Curt Schilling and contrast him 2004 to now, both in stuff and in makeup.
TERRY FRANCONA: Makeup has never changed. If anything it's probably gotten better just because he hasn't lost the ability to follow a game plan or compete, things like that.
A little different pitcher. You know, there's some wear and tear. I think in '04, what he did in '04, everybody knew that he would pay a price physically, and he did. He came back in '05 and it was hard for him.
With the miles that have been put on his shoulder and the games he's pitched, he's not the guy that can pitch 96, 97 anymore, but he can still pitch very effectively and still navigate his way through some lineups.
Ellsbury has played well for you but he's still a rookie and this is Game 1 of the World Series. Have you offered him any advice on how not to get too amped up for tonight's game?
TERRY FRANCONA: No. I think the biggest thing we can do as a staff is just remain consistent. We talk to our guys all the time, but not that speech. I think that would set him off and make him nervous. We just remain consistent in our approach and believe in our guys. He'll be fine.
If he wasn't nervous tonight, he'd be crazy. I mean, this is the World Series. I'm nervous now, but it's a good nervous. It's fun. It's okay to be nervous. You don't want that to get in the way of your success.
We keep hearing about how Schilling has had to do more preparation because he doesn't throw the same way he did a few years ago or however long ago. How impressive is it for a pitcher to be able to make that transition at this point in his career, or is it basically a case of a guy doing what he has to do to win?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I think that's very correct, what you just said at the end. His preparation has always been off the charts. Again, I've been with a lot of teams, but I haven't been with every team, so I can't comment on every pitcher. But Schill's preparation has always been phenomenal. That has never changed or wavered. If anything it's probably gotten better.
But I agree with your statement, and I think you're entirely correct.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.