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October 31, 2016

Terry Francona

Cleveland, Ohio - Workout day

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Terry Francona.

Q. I forgot to follow up last night, was Lonnie available? How is he feeling?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, he was available. In fact, he was going to most likely hit in the ninth, if we got to -- the pitcher's spot was in the eight hole. We had, I believe we were going to run Naquin for either Nap or Santana if they got on. And then we would have had Martinez and Lonnie, depending on the situation. And if we needed a hit, as opposed to maybe some situational hitting, it probably would have been Lonnie.

He got there, I think, I think he got back about an hour, hour and a half before the game and while I was up there, I mean, he got a sandwich down, and he looked a lot better by the end of the night.

Q. What is it about Josh Tomlin that makes him someone you felt like going to these playoffs that he's somebody you can rely on and do as well as he's done?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I've known him now for four years. That's a long time in our game. I mean, again, one, your players are your players. It's not like you get to the playoffs and then you just decide that you'll go grab some other guys. I do think knowing these guys gives you a sense of -- takes away some of the anxiety, because we've asked them to do some short rest, things like that, and I know how much they enjoy trying to meet the challenges.

So I think it's pretty obvious, but I've really enjoyed going through these with them. We don't always win or we don't always -- we make some mistakes, but I enjoy doing it with these guys. It's a fun group. If Tomlin doesn't win, he won't beat himself, and he won't back down. All the things we talk about, not backing down from a challenge and valuing winning and things like that, being a good teammate, he embodies all those better or as good as anybody I've ever seen.

Q. Just how happy are you to have the DH back so you can get back to sort of your normal alignment? And how challenging were the last three games constructing your lineup?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I am. Now, they'll also have the DH too, which I'm sure they're thrilled about.

I thought Carlos did an amazing job. There were no crazy chances out there or anything, but everything that was hit to him, he looked like a left fielder. Actually got behind the one ball and made a nice throw, hit the cutoff man. I was really proud of him.

He volunteered to do that, and like I said, I was really proud of him. He's come a long way. Took a lot of work in that four- or five-day span for him to be out there, and I thought it was pretty cool. I'll be glad that we can DH somebody though.

Q. Rajai Davis had an impact last night with the two hits and the steals. I know he doesn't always start against right-handed pitchers. Are you thinking of starting him tomorrow? And if so, what would be your reasons?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, we'll see. I've actually been looking at that. Here Coco in left. I think I was leaning toward Coco. It was nice to see Rajai get some hits because he hadn't been getting a lot of hits in these playoffs. Sometimes we want to be able to use his speed so much, and when he's not swinging the bat, if he's not starting, at least you can pick a spot where you can put him in for his legs.

So that's kind of the back and forth, Millsie and I have talked about it for a while now, and we'll probably talk about it a little bit more.

Q. Aside from the DH, is there a certain comfort level being at home, given how well you played during the season just being in your own beds and your familiar clubhouse, the dimensions of the ballpark?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think you might be taking it a couple steps too far like the bed and all that stuff. But I mean, being home, I mean, there are some obvious ones. When you're on the road, one, it's kind of you against the world, which is okay. But the biggest thing of all is when you're the home team, you hit last so you get to use your bullpen differently, and that's a huge advantage. That's why so many good teams have better records at home.

I think every hitter's probably going to be more comfortable in their home batter's box because they do it half the year as opposed to going to a city once or twice a year. So there are some other advantages. But just the fact you hit last is very big.

Q. I'm sure it didn't make your players play better or you manage better, but when the Cavs won, did that change the perception, do you think, of things around here in Cleveland and even around the ballpark?
TERRY FRANCONA: I thought it was wonderful for the city. I mean, it was hard not to get caught up in it. Shoot, the day of the parade I know myself and there were a lot of us, I went up to the upper deck just because I wanted to watch the parade. From that vantage point, I think they were expecting 700,000 and I think they about doubled it. And from up in the upper deck you could see the people coming across the bridge in droves.

So you saw how the city reacted. But then also you kind of saw how the Cavs reacted. I thought it was really cool all the way around.

I mean, there was sheer joy, but I also thought the way the Cavs handled it, they were so outgoing with the fans. I just thought it was really cool. It was hard, like I said, not to get caught up in it. In the last game I was watching the game downstairs where I live and the place, as you can imagine, was just packed. And when Kyrie stepped back and hit that three-pointer, it was kind of hard not to, you know -- I had to kind of remind myself I'm 57. Then when LeBron went down and blocked that lay-up on the breakaway, it's hard not to get excited. I can understand how people -- I mean, it is hard for me to understand how people get so caught up in baseball sometimes, except that when it's another sport I get that way. So it's pretty cool.

That was a long answer, I'm sorry.

Q. You mentioned this a little bit with the DH for the Cubs as well. Schwarber was basically eliminated from those three games at their place. How different does their lineup look to you when he's in there?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, it gives them a little more balance. It gives them some thunder that they'll situate right in the middle, which you have to respect. But I mean, they've got a lot of other good bats, too. I think people can get carried away with some things. Again, we respect him, but we also respect the other guys, too.

But I'm sure they're excited about being able to play him and having his bat in the lineup.

Q. The World Series roster is never the same as an Opening Day roster. How big a factor is being on the same page as your front office for six months?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, I would say not just for six months. I would say for the entire time, off-season, everything. I don't think it's been -- anybody that's spent ten minutes around me this year or the last four years know how comfortable I am in this situation here.

I mean, we get challenged a lot, but we always find a way to, whether it's me or Chris or Derek or Cherney, rather quickly to say how are we going to fix this? And I think Chris, if people were around him more, I don't think people realize how good he is. Because we haven't had the biggest payroll here. It's not like when Jon Lester's a free agent Chris was like, "Oh, I don't think he's any good." You know? You're given a certain number and you have to make that work, and he's managed to put together four years of pretty good teams. I think we're built -- there's no guarantees, but I think we're built where our organization is pretty healthy. We've got some young guys coming and our guys, our core group is tied up. But more important than that to me is the way he does it and the person he is. I think our whole organization follows his lead and I think that he's so modest that he would never take credit for that.

Q. 30 years ago most relievers were multiple-inning relievers. In fact, you played with a good one in Montreal in Jeff Reardon, and then it evolved to where it is now. Do you see a sea change coming and going back to the way those players were used, or is it just a function of the personnel that's in this series?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I think it's a function of the personnel in the series, also a function that it's not the regular season. You can't treat the regular season like this or your bullpen wouldn't hold up.

I think there are times, an example like with Cody Allen over the past few years, if he's gone three or four days and not pitched, that fourth day he knows he needs to pitch. So to ensure that, one, not only is he going to pitch, but that it helps us win, sometimes we might bring him in in the 7th, 8th, because why wait? I mean, we might not have the lead. Then you're pitching him in the 8th just to give him an inning. I'd rather pitch him when the game's on the line.

Now you have to have guys buy into it, and I think over the course of a year, it's probably cost Cody three or four saves, I don't doubt, but I think it's helped our team immensely. And fortunately we have guys that care enough about our team that that doesn't ever get in the way.

Q. Same thing with Andrew?
TERRY FRANCONA: Same thing what?

Q. With Andrew?
TERRY FRANCONA: What about him?

Q. Multiple innings and how you use him?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, Andrew's the model of just pitch whenever. The kid's unbelievable. Now it's easier for him, too, also because he's been paid, and I get that. I have a feeling that Andrew would do it regardless, though, but because of the way baseball's set up with arbitration and guys getting rewarded so much for saves, that it makes it hard to do that with bullpens all the time during the year. I get it.

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