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October 10, 2017

Terry Francona

Cleveland, Ohio - Workout Day

Q. Terry, you've been on both sides of these series when one team climbs out of a significant hole. Do you think that team, the Yankees in this case, have any sort of edge?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think it's our responsibility and our challenge to not let that happen. I don't think it's wrong to be honest about it, like I listen to other coaches talk, other managers talk. I think being honest is probably the best way to go about it. Would much have preferred us to have won and move on. We didn't do that.

Now, saying that, we have a really exciting game tomorrow that's in front of us. I think the day off helps us. We can regroup a little bit. And the challenge is to, by the time you get to the first pitch tomorrow, to have everything behind you so you can play your best game.

And we started doing that last night, right after the game. I mean, we met real quick after the game. Millsy and I talked during the game, as we always do. And the idea is to move forward, just like we say when we've won a lot in a row. We don't look back. So that's the same idea now.

And just watching the guys show up today, we'll be in a good place tomorrow. I mean, we're playing a good team and we respect that. They've showed that. But our challenge is to play the best game we can and I think we will.

Q. Could you give us an update on Edwin Encarnacion? Will you have him tomorrow?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think so. We're going to, obviously, go through the workout. He's been hitting off the machine already, and we're going to have him go out and run just to see where he is running-wise. He was never exactly our biggest base stealing threat, but we want to use common sense.

So we're going to go out at 4:00 and he'll do some running and we'll kind of gauge where he is. I think he'll be okay. Last night during the game he was moving and hitting around a little bit. I think he'll be okay.

Q. When you saw the injury, did you think it would be possible to have him back this quickly?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I mean I kind of said all along what I've said. Believe me, when I talk in these things, I mean it. I don't know how else to answer that. When you guys ask me a question and I answer it, that's why I answer it. I've been answering it every day. So yeah.

Q. You always want to win a series as quick as humanly possible. But is there any solace in your decision making that with the game of the year, season hanging in the balance that you've got the guy you want pitching?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think I know what solace means. I'm not exactly positive. I mean, I'm close. I don't know that solace is the right word. I think we tried to be prepared for just about every scenario that could be thrown at us, and I think we feel real comfortable with how we went about everything and we wanted Kluber if we got to this game. We got to this game.

Again, I mean, I understand you guys have a job to do and I respect that, to a point. But we have a lot of information at our hands that we're supposed to have, and we make the best judgments for our ball club always, and I'm comfortable with where we are.

Q. Tito, just with the importance of tomorrow's game, will you consider any type of defensive changes to kind of maximize the offense?
TERRY FRANCONA: We got a couple things going. One, we're certainly going to check on Edwin. We also need to check on Gio. He showed up a little more sore today. That ball kind of attacked him last night. So we just want to -- we'll make a run through the entire group just to make sure we're okay.

I've got about four lineups down there just because there's a lot of either/ors. And we'll kind of -- we'll figure it out, though.

Q. Terry, I've seen CC Sabathia for a lot of years. What have you seen in terms of the transformation that he's had to make from in his prime to what he is now as a 37-year-old?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, when you saw him younger, boy, he was -- you know, he still does it, actually. And he probably doesn't feel this way. But when he throws, it looks like it doesn't hurt. You see a lot of pitchers out there that have logged innings and they've changed their mechanics and things. He's always had such a pretty arm swing and he's got such a nice feel for the ball. He can manipulate the ball a lot.

He doesn't have the power that he did, which I think is natural. But he's got a really good feel for pitching. We're going to have to lay off the breaking ball that's the strike-to-ball breaking ball. We've been a little over aggressive this series. We've gotten in where we're chasing fastballs up, and then we're swinging at breaking balls down. We're going to have to do one or the other.

And CC's been doing this a long time, and if you don't make him stay in the zone, he will exploit that.

Q. Tito, Corey said he needs to change everything tomorrow from how he pitched in Game 2. What stood out to you about that outing which was kind of stunning to everyone?
TERRY FRANCONA: I thought from the beginning, he was having a hard time finding his comfort level in his mechanics. I think it actually had gone back a couple games. He was getting a little low on that, kind of sitting on that back side. I think there's reasons for it. At times, I think he's probably making sure that that back doesn't act up or things like that.

But he just wasn't himself. He was having trouble getting ahead, and then when he did he was having trouble putting hitters away.

Now, like we kind of know Klubes, he went out and had a really good side day, which if anybody's been around him for five minutes, his side days are not side days. They're game-on.

And my feeling is that he'll be just fine tomorrow.

Q. Hi, Tito. Maybe we should do this one in Spanish.

Q. Are you prone to big speeches in moments like this. Will you do that for your team tomorrow?
TERRY FRANCONA: Small speeches. About 30 seconds. That was last night after the game. We just met for literally 30 seconds. And Millsy and I talked during the game.

I think it was to Ken's point, we've got to move forward. What's the best way to move forward? And just wanted to make sure, as a group, we figure this out together. It was more of a -- it wasn't an rah-rah. It was just, Hey, let's remember who we are, how we got there and what we do.

I was glad we did it, because I felt better when we left. You might as well start heading in the right direction as soon as you can. Not let guys think about it all night and everything like that. And I was pleased that we did that.

Q. So it's fair to say that the last game was not representative of who you are?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I mean, we were a little sloppy defensively. I mean, I always -- I never question our will to keep playing. I mean, even in a game like last night, we came close to getting that tying run a couple times, which is not easy to do.

I just know that the magnitude of these games, I just wanted to make sure our group is -- I want to do my part. I don't want to overdo. You always kind of walk that balance. I just wanted to make sure they understood that, hey, as bad as things happened in that game, that has nothing to do with the next game.

Q. Girardi said last night that the Game 2 loss for them was as difficult as he's ever had as a manager. With the way they bounced back, it was a great game, obviously, in three, 1-0. Did that show anything about their team that you didn't know? You knew they were a dangerous team and they had talent. Does that take it to kind of a different place that they had that kind of confidence or that resiliency to be able to do that?
TERRY FRANCONA: I spent more time worrying about their resiliency. I hope they don't have it. We knew going in they're very good. We knew that.

Every game has been so -- I mean, yesterday was not a fun game. The other games were really fun. Even the 1-0 game. My goodness. I mean, it was some really good baseball, and we knew that coming in.

Going through it with our guys is really special. I mean, I love it. I love it. Last night, even, during the tough times, trying to figure out, okay, come on, we can -- how are we going to bounce back? We're already trying in like the fifth inning of pulling together and our guys do a really good job of that.

Q. Just to follow on that, Terry, do you recognize that characteristic in your teams with the Red Sox teams that you had and with these teams here, that obviously you have talent and stuff, but do you see a character to them, something that enables them to do greater things or even more than you might expect?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yes, of course. Again, that's why we met real quick last night, because they do have those qualities. And I don't want them to forget that. It wasn't a fire and brimstone. It wasn't yelling. It was just, hey, remind them of who we are and that we can figure things out together.

And that's how we do things. They're a good group. I mean, they're easy to like.

Q. Terry, you've been through so many post seasons, but take back to 2004. What happened in that series against the Yankees, did that change your outlook on what can happen within a series, or did you always know that there was -- that anything could happen within a series?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know what? I never have gotten too shook up in thinking like that. That's for you guys to do. Our job is to just win the game we're playing. If you do that, it makes it a lot easier. When you get put in these situations, the coaches, myself, the players, we have something to fall back on. What's our goal? To win the next game. That's always the goal.

So it doesn't change tomorrow. So I think it really helps when you play the whole season that way.

Q. Has Jose Ramirez been pressing, do you think? If so, what can you do to get him to just relax, like he was during the regular season?
TERRY FRANCONA: Do you want me to give him like a Xanax? (Laughter.)

I mean, mechanically, he's a little bit off. I think we talked about this the other day. When you're not exactly perfect mechanically and then you face a guy like Tanaka, who's got a ton of deception and movement, it exacerbates it. But he's one of the best hitters in the game. We believe in those guys.

For us to get where we're going, those guys will help us get us there. It's not always going to be 72 and sunny. We realize that. You've got to fight through it together and that's what we intend to do.

Q. Tito, were you encouraged at all about Brantley getting a hit last night and do you think he'll be in the lineup tomorrow against Sabathia?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I don't know about that one. Some of it may depend on who's available. Sabathia's been tough on him historically anyway. We may be better off having him on the bench. I haven't quite worked through that yet. Obviously, a lot of that hinges on Edwin.

But I do think he lined out once, he got the base hit to right. I thought it was a lot closer to Brantley.

Q. What's the challenge, if there is one, after you guys lose three straight to close out the World Series last year, now you lose two straight to close out this series of guys not pressing and thinking too much about that?
TERRY FRANCONA: Because we don't view it like that. I think if you viewed it like that, you could set yourself up to press. We play every game like it's our last game. I mean, that's the hope. And our group does a good job of that.

I mean, I think there are so many things that are within a game that sometimes between winning and losing is so little margin. Like the other night, if Judge is 6'2", we win. And everybody's like, My God, you guys swept 'em.

There's a lot going on in between that I think people lose sight of. I don't think you're just either dumb or smart or good or bad. Sometimes there's some gray there.

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