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francona Transcript Saturday Fenway

10.10.09 at 5:27 pm ET
By

October 10, 2009

Terry Francona

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Workout Day

THE MODERATOR: First question for, Terry.

Q. How are you going to change, start hitting and win this game?

TERRY FRANCONA: If I that had answer we wouldn’t have lost the first two. We haven’t had a very successful approach to those two games. They’ve executed very well and we haven’t made a lot of adjustments and we’ve paid the price for it. What’s happened has happened. Now we’ll show up tomorrow, do what we always do on early games, have 12 pieces of bacon, a Red Bull and go get ‘em.

Q. Any lineup changes because of Kazmir?

TERRY FRANCONA: No. We might adjust our batting order a little bit, but the same guys will play.

Q. Terry, do you think that just coming back here will make a big difference? Have you thought about possibly doing something to shake it up in any way?

TERRY FRANCONA: No. We really — again, we’re going to stay with our guys — we may adjust our batting order like we have against lefties. I hope coming back here does something, because the next place is not home but home. We can say everything we want and all whether it’s a cliche or… But the best thing for us to do is show up and win tomorrow. That kind of simplifies things.

Q. Some of the people on the Angels were sort of remarking about the game time tomorrow and that it being breakfast time for what they’re used to. You guys went out there on Monday. Were you out there long enough for the game time to be impactful for you?

TERRY FRANCONA: In a good way or bad way?

Q. Either.

TERRY FRANCONA: I don’t know. I never thought — you ask me odd questions. You continue to excel.

Q. I like the word “thoughtful” better.

TERRY FRANCONA: Odd.

Whatever time we’re supposed to start, we start. I don’t think it really matters. Like I said, wake up, have some bacon, Red Bull and go get ‘em. If it was a late night, have afternoon bacon and a Red Bull. So it doesn’t matter, just play when we’re supposed to. The team that loses is going to be mad. The team that wins will be happy. It doesn’t matter.

Q. How much of a confidence boost would it be; you guys have been down before and have come back from deficits like this.

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah. I’m sorry?

Q. How much of a confidence boost will that be for your team?

TERRY FRANCONA: If we come back?

Q. Just knowing you’ve done it before.

TERRY FRANCONA: Oh. You know what, it doesn’t hurt. Again, it’s a different group, though. The Angels are somewhat of a different group too. There’s a lot of — there’s reasons we’re down 0-2. Some of that is because they’re pretty good. Again, though, rather than sit and get too philosophical about things like that, because it can kind of appear kind of daunting, that’s why just keep it simple and try to win tomorrow. That’s our best way to go about this. And that’s what we’ll try to do.

Q. People say there isn’t much of a home field advantage in baseball unlike some of the other sports, but you guys are a good home team and weird things do seem to happen here. Is it just because — is there still a Fenway thing that you guys are more comfortable with that other teams aren’t? Is the crowd a huge factor? Is there something you can put a finger on?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think you just mentioned a couple and I think both are valid. It’s a quirky ballpark, and we’ve played the majority of our games here. Our hitters are certainly more comfortable here because the lefties — we have more practice at using the left field wall or the righties of pulling the ball, because we play 81 games here. Right field is difficult. Center field is a triangle. There’s a lot of quirkiness here.

And then our fans become involved. You get around the seventh inning and somebody throws ball one, all of a sudden the place starts shaking. So there’s a lot of things that are helpful here for us.

Q. Obviously, there’s going to be some level of pressure on Clay tomorrow. How much of a help is it for him. He made a start right before the trade deadline, he made a start against the Yankees‘ CC, it was kind of in a big spot. He’s gone through some of those experiences this year already where there was pressure exerted on him.

TERRY FRANCONA: I guess I hadn’t thought of it that much. I guess, I feel like — there’s no down — no use down-playing tomorrow’s start. But they get so revved up every five days throwing big parts. Even in games where maybe things don’t seem like the season is on the line, the starters get pretty revved up for their starts. So hopefully he doesn’t get too revved up. And that’s why again he’s out there today doing his normal — that’s why we stay on — we get such a routine because you don’t want games of this magnitude to alter your approach. We try to really stay on our routine as much as we can.

Q. Try not to make this an odd question but is there something that you noticed about why Kazmir pitches so well against you guys, particularly here? Obviously if there was something you could do about it, you would. Is it his stuff, his mentality? Did you notice anything as to why that is?

TERRY FRANCONA: Early in his career he actually dominated us. You probably remember that as much as anybody. He threw some games where he overpowered us; fastball, slider. We’ve had some games where we’ve really made him work hard also. Even when he’s got outs, we’ve driven up his pitch counts and got him out of the game. Some of the numbers you see are from early in his career when he just overwhelmed us.

Q. Obviously the stage last year, Game 5 shouldn’t be an issue from the standpoint anything you guys will do differently?

TERRY FRANCONA: Last year, tomorrow is a lot more important than last year, certainly.

You know what? Any experience you have, whether it’s facing a pitcher — you certainly try to learn from it. But it’s not going to affect the outcome of the game.

Q. Terry, you say throughout the season you — the team doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low. How does that help them tomorrow?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, we just need to play as good a baseball as we can. All the things that we’ve done all year, try to be consistent. It’s because of this. There’s no magic button to push tomorrow. Just need to play as good as you can. And then that’s why. If you start doing things — I mean, I understand that we need to not lose. But you can’t do too many crazy things. Or it doesn’t help you win. I understand we’re not — there’s a point where you have to — you can’t let the starters settle into the game and around the sixth inning because if you lose you go home. At the same time, if you make moves too quickly you don’t really help your club either.

Q. You mentioned yesterday that Jon Lester might throw a side today. I just wonder did that happen, and you looked at him as on track for Monday if there is a Monday?

TERRY FRANCONA: He’s definitely on track for hopefully, like you say, Monday. As far as a side goes, I think he’s going to go flat ground and then maybe a short box where he works the front of the mound for touch and feel.

Q. Were there any negative ramifications on Lowell from the ball that looked like it hit him in the hand?

TERRY FRANCONA: Are you talking about the line drive? It whacked him pretty good. He’s okay. As far as when I came up here a couple of minutes ago, he hadn’t even come in for treatment today. So that’s a good sign. I checked actually checked with him when I went out to make a pitching change. He was okay. It was just sore.

Q. What specific challenges do the Angels present to Clay tomorrow?

TERRY FRANCONA: The same as everybody else. They hit with power. They have the ability to run the bases, steal bases. It’s not just stealing bases, it’s going from first to third or if a ball ends up where it’s not supposed to — it’s not just the lead runner but the trail runner. They’re always going 60 feet. And so the ball needs to end up where it’s supposed to, that’s probably the biggest thing. Last couple of outings he was a little bit — when he was up, he paid the price. If he’s down, and he’s throwing his change-up, he’ll be just fine.

Q. Torii Hunter has said, “You have to kick somebody when they’re down and that’s what we’re doing.”

What’s your response to that quote?

TERRY FRANCONA: I appreciate you saying hi. Hello back. I don’t care. Torii just wants to win. I don’t really think we need to have a response to that. They would like to win. He’s a very emotional player. He’s a great kid. Nice try but we’ll pass.

Q. Generally speaking over the years since you guys have refrained from ever bringing anybody back on short rest, is there anything about Lester in particular that makes him a more viable candidate to do that? Is there anything about this team or situation that has led you to consider him more?

TERRY FRANCONA: Maybe you’re missing the point here. It’s not just bringing back Lester on short rest. That’s actually probably not in our best interests. It’s been proven out there that guys normally aren’t stronger early. We know that. But it also gives us the ability of bringing Beckett back on regular rest. So if we’re fortunate enough to go five games, Beckett and Lester will pitch four of them. That’s the whole idea.

Q. Two things. You mentioned yesterday that optional hitting, did anybody come in? And how are you feeling? Are you back to 100%?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don’t think I’ve been 100% since 1981. Even then that was in question. No, I said we were going to check on the optional hitting. We don’t have anybody hitting. We have four or five pitchers throwing, and probably a few guys getting treatment. But there’s no reason to hit. We’ll hit at breakfast tomorrow.

Q. You guys obviously already had a good time before you got Billy Wagner. Talk a little bit about what he’s meant and what impact he’s made to the bullpen?

TERRY FRANCONA: He’s been good. It was kind of the same type of acquisitions as when we got Eric Gagne. It just didn’t work. Theo talked about it a little bit where it’s a little bit of a crap shoot. It was with Billy too because he was coming off the surgery and almost a rehab. But he’s been so good. And I think he’s really taken to this.

I think when we first talked to him he was a little bit leery of getting thrown into a situation where a pennant race would get in the way of him recovering which I understand. But he’s gotten so excited about being here. He wants to pitch every day. You can see him last night. He was getting after it. There’s a reason he’s been good for a long time. Now we’re seeing it first-hand. He likes to get out there. He’s been fun to have around.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Terry.

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