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10/13/08 1:48 PM ET

A pregame interview with Terry Francona

Manager discusses the lineup and outlook for Game 3

If I read correctly, you were thinking about Byrd coming in in the 12th inning the other night, and if so the question is what is the criteria to determine when someone is going to come in in a game like that, a guy that's got to pitch until breakfast?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, the fact that he has the ability, as you kind of said, to pitch until breakfast, and Timlin would not have that ability, nor would it be fair. So you take the guy that's shorter depending on how the inning went. We may have tried to tried to send him back out for part of the next inning.

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I don't know, depends on how much he labored to get through the inning and have the ability to get through, and then once that happened, we would have gone to Byrd, like you said, until breakfast.

The question is why not Byrd, and what's the difference between the 11th and the 12th at that time?

TERRY FRANCONA: Because we have no ability to make a change. If Byrd struggles, you can't go to Timlin because you have basically one inning. If you have Timlin, and again, I understand if you struggle enough, the game is over. But if you struggle some and you have the ability to make a move, at least you have the ability to make a move. You can't do it the other way.

We haven't seen the lineup yet. Is Cora in, and if so

TERRY FRANCONA: Yes, A.C. is playing short, J.D. in right. I think that's the only real changes from the other night.

Wakefield has had tremendous success against the Rays career wise, not quite as much this year. Is that a function of them being more patient at the plate this year?

TERRY FRANCONA: His career numbers are fantastic against them. That might be a function there's been some struggles this year at times. Part of that is the fact that they're now at 97 win team as opposed to 67. Some of it is they have different players.

Some of the career match ups Wake is always going to be a guy you look at his match ups, there will be some he's 2 for 30 and there will be somebody who's 10 for 20. There's always some interesting match ups versus Wake.

On your off day, do you watch the National League series? Do you spend any energy doing that, or are you just all focused on your series right now?

TERRY FRANCONA: I watched a little bit of the game. I watched a little bit of the Patriot game. I watched a movie a little bit on TBS not TBS, whatever.

I just kind of went back and forth, and mostly slept. It's one of those nights where you're so tired, you fall asleep early, then you can't sleep late. But I watched a little bit of the game, just because I like baseball.

What's the difference between this year and 2004 from a team trying to get to the top of the mountain to being on the top of the mountain that everybody else is trying to knock off?

TERRY FRANCONA: At this time of the year I don't think there is anything difference. I think how you handle success, there's something to that. And we discuss that every spring; okay, we were fortunate enough to win, let's learn from that and try to be good again, because once the season starts, you'd be surprised at how very little the last year means to us.

I think you can get other teams' attention a little bit more by winning, so how you handle that is important. This time of year there's four teams left; I don't think it matters anymore.

Jason Bay's statistics speak for themselves. What are some of the intangibles that you have seen from him to this point, and how has that helped this club?

TERRY FRANCONA: Very good teammate, very good base runner, good outfielder, very good hitter. What he is is a really good baseball player, and we got him at a time where he was in a situation where again, as a professional player, you're going to always play the game towards the end. But he was excited about being in an atmosphere where every game meant so much. He was probably the perfect guy at the perfect time.

Can you talk about the decision to start Cora at short today?

TERRY FRANCONA: Sure. Against some of the harder throwing right handers, we did it against Anaheim, I guess it was Santana. Does that sound right? That's, I think, the one night where we think A.C. gives us maybe a little bit better chance.

With the bunch of lefties they have in their bullpen we can have Lowrie sitting over there, where that's been his more successful side, maybe make them at least think about a change, or if they decide to make a change, maybe it can help us a little bit.

I think the both of them combined are a pretty good player.

What did you see in Kevin Cash that made you believe that he would be a guy cut out to handle Wakefield?

TERRY FRANCONA: His ability to handle Wakefield. (Laughter). I mean, that's not I'm being pretty serious. We saw John Flaherty retire. (Laughter). I mean, Flash came over to me that first game in Fort Myers, we were playing the Twins, and he looked like a deer in the headlights, and the next day he came and got me off the treadmill and said, I cannot imagine doing this every five days. And he retired.

We saw a very good backup catcher in Josh Bard get beat up. And Josh Bard was still a very good catcher, and it was hard to handle Wake. That's why Mirabelli, he had an unbelievable ability to catch that ball.

It's not easy. Some days there's balls that are going to go to the backstop. That's just part of the way it is. There are going to be stolen bases, there's going to be wild pitches. There's going to be fastballs, but the good part of that is you look up in the seventh and he usually gives you a chance to win.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

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