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October 28, 2016

Terry Francona

Chicago, Illinois - Pregame 3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Terry Francona.

Q. There's been Cubs fans swarming the neighborhood since 6:00, 7:00 this morning. I'm just curious on the bus ride in what you noticed about the atmosphere and the like around the ballpark?
TERRY FRANCONA: I haven't taken the bus since Triple-A. I got up and swam and came to the ballpark about 11:00 with my jacket, hard shoes and my swimming trunks. So all the people out there, I didn't sign one autograph. Nobody probably -- I thought I was coming to get the garbage or something.

I know the atmosphere is going to be tremendous here. Shoot, they've been waiting for this for a long time, and Wrigley, and everything's pretty special anyway.

Q. You've been going up with Joe Maddon for a long time, dating back to the AL East and the connection there. What's it like to manage against him in this kind of stage where there are so many pivotal moves and that chess match going on for each game?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, I don't think I've ever once felt like it's me against another manager. It's our team against their team. And I just try to have our guys prepared and have them -- we put them in a situation where we think is best for them. I'm sure Joe's doing the same thing, and he's really good at it.

But I have a lot of respect for Joe. Just never feel that way during a game. Just never really feel like that.

Q. You've been around a lot of really good pitchers as a player, manager, are there any couple guys, maybe, when you look at Kluber you say, he reminds me in terms of his approach, demeanor, approach to the game?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, I don't know. I'm not very good at that. I mean, everybody's pretty unique in their own way. I mean, Kluber has made himself, through hard work, one of the elite pitchers in the game. Once he got here he didn't take the foot off the gas. I mean, this kid's routines are impeccable. He works hard. Every time he picks up a ball, there is intent. There's a reason that it's October 28th and his gas tank, the needle's on full. That's a pretty big compliment to his work ethic.

Q. I know obviously you're the visiting manager here, but managing the Red Sox, '04, '07, those Fenway Park World Series games and now here you are managing a World Series game in Wrigley, kind of your thoughts on that? Are you going to take any moment to slow things down, just even a minute to take things in?
TERRY FRANCONA: I'm not really good about taking the minute to take things in. Usually by the time the anthem's coming, you're getting that anxiety because you want to get going. I really enjoy the whole thing, though. I mean, I'm serious. I love what we're doing, and I don't need to look around. I love every minute of it. It's more fun when you win, but I would hate to wake up when it's over and then if we won, say I liked it and if we lost say I didn't. I think I've always been this way.

The journey for me, by far is the most fun. I love coming to the clubhouse today and being with the guys and then going out tonight and seeing how we can do.

Q. Do you get nervous on a stage like this? Did you sleep well last night?
TERRY FRANCONA: I always get nervous, like even during the regular season. I don't think that's bad, as long as it doesn't get in the way. I tell the players the same thing. That's okay. I think I slept okay. I'm getting a little older. My sleep gets interrupted from time to time, which doesn't seem to be getting any better (laughter).

Q. With John Lackey you guys are going against tomorrow, what do you remember about managing him in Boston? Is it good to see him bounce back from those difficult years?
TERRY FRANCONA: I mean, the year that I was with him, he had a really tough year, I believe. For all the pitchers that qualified, I think he might have had the highest ERA or something like that. You can imagine how fun that was trying to take him out of games because he doesn't ever want to come out. That's one of the things I respect about him, and there's a lot of things I respect about him.

He was going through a really tough -- his elbow didn't feel good. There were a lot of things that were tough on him that year. But never once did I doubt how good a pitcher he could be when he's healthy.

Q. Did you see anything yesterday during the workout with Santana? What's your mindset on playing Santana in left?
TERRY FRANCONA: Once we qualified for the World Series I started thinking a little bit, because I knew we'd be here games 3, 4, and 5 even before they announced who they were pitching I'd kind of start thinking about it. Because the choices are either sit Napoli or Santana. I think the safe thing to do or not safe, but where somebody doesn't question me, is to play somebody else in left field and sitting one of those guys. I don't think when I thought it through, that puts us in the best position to win. We didn't come all this way to try to keep it close. I just think that -- and we said early on before the Boston series that we might have to get a little creative at times. I would prefer to attempt to do that and then see what happens, than play it safe and regret it later.

And I told Carlos, I said, "You know, just do your best and if there's an issue, tell people to come see me because it was my decision." I don't think that's fair to Carlos because, again, we'll see how it goes.

But I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think it gave us the best chance to win.

Q. Do you have an explanation behind why Corey has been so unhittable, or not unhittable but almost unscored upon in the postseason as opposed to the end of the regular season when teams were scoring on him a little bit?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I don't think you're going to go the whole year without giving up runs. It's a long year. But I think, again, the things I talked about before, his work ethic and things like that, I mean, the postseason can be a really small sample size and everything gets magnified. But I do think that he's good enough where you give him a task, you give him some time to think about it and get prepared, he's one of the best in baseball. He could give up runs tomorrow. That won't change my opinion. He's just really good.

Q. Kluber's on record as saying he'll pitch whenever you need him. But he's such a creature of habit, do you think this fate will faze him at all?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, I would say more the first time. And again, we don't ever just do something without talking to our players or the coaches. And I had talked to Kluber a lot about this. It was funny, because the last time in Toronto his legs got tired quick, and he was laughing about it after. He said, "You know, I was trying to be so conscious of my legs," and he goes, "I looked up, and my stuff was exactly the same." In other words, I think he understands now that it was probably mental and that I think he'll have a lot more sense of being able to be himself going into this start than he did the first time. And I thought the first time he did just fine.

Q. Given Carlos' experience at third, how much thought did you give to having him at third and Jose in left?
TERRY FRANCONA: We could have thought about that. I didn't think -- I thought we were then going to weaken ourselves at two positions. Jose's a much better third baseman than he is a left fielder, and Carlos hasn't played -- Carlos played third at the beginning of last year, and we stopped doing it because it wasn't in our best interest. So I just think, probably if you're going to play a position that's not yours, the further away, the better.

Q. You've made a lot of moves in this postseason that normally you wouldn't make in a regular season. How important is it to have that mindset that you've got to go for broke in every game, and also the fact that you've managed in a lot of postseasons and understand exactly how you have to run games?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, that's part of what makes the game so special is everybody has their own way of doing things. I'm not really sure there is a right or wrong way. I don't think that the final score always is indicative that somebody messed up or somebody was right. I just think that I feel like I have a responsibility to our team and to our organization, and that's to try to put us in the best position to win.

Again, I know that there's a little bit of a crapshoot to that. I'm aware of that. I have some anxiety over it. But like I said, I'd rather do that than play it safe and look up and we don't have any runs.

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