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October 26, 2004

Terry Francona


Q. Can you talk about the odyssey that Derek Lowe has gone through this postseason?

TERRY FRANCONA: Sure. We called him in in Baltimore the last weekend of the season when we finalized our plans, rotation, bullpen, things like that and we explained -- we called him in actually a little ahead of time, told him that we were going to wait for Wakefield to get through his start and that we hadn't finalized everything, but there's a chance he's going to go in the bullpen. And he wasn't too thrilled, we expected that. When the game was over, we called him back, told him that's what we were going to do. We told him to take a day or two and get it out for his system. If he wanted to pout, get mad, go ahead, but he was going to help us win. To his credit he got it out of his system, I saw a couple of his quotes that this is the Red Sox, not this is the Lowes, all the things we believed in. And because he stayed prepared, look what he did for us, look what he's going to do for us, I'm thrilled for him.

Q. Because of the condition he's in, and because David (Ortiz) is playing first, do you expect the Cardinals to do more small ball and challenge your defense?

TERRY FRANCONA: I would love to see Pujols, Rolen and those guys go to the small ball. I think it would be wonderful. I think there's probably more being made of the small ball issue, like with Schill. You know, these guys are pretty good hitters, if they want to bunt, they may get a bunt down, but if they want to try to do it more than once, I think it favors us more than them. I think they probably feel the same way, because you haven't seen it much.

Q. Which regular did you have to leave out of the lineup and how tough of a call was it?

TERRY FRANCONA: Kevin Millar is the guy not playing tonight. You know what, he's such a character that it actually ended up being funny. It's not our best team out there. The team we built to compete was the one you saw in Boston. So we're a little bit disadvantaged. But that's the way the rules are, and St. Louis didn't build their team to have a designated-hitter. You try to take advantage of what you have, and minimize the disadvantages, and what we're trying to do is show up and win, so that's what we'll try to do.

Q. Back to Lowe for a second. Has there been some physical benefit for him not throwing as much as he would have over the last three weeks, do you think?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I'm not too sure I agree with that. He's actually thrown a lot. He threw on two days' rest in the big game in New York. He threw out of the bullpen. He's thrown maybe not nine innings, but he's been up and used and warm in the bullpen, and I think it's actually helped him.

Q. Can you share what was amusing about telling Millar --

TERRY FRANCONA: He's such a smart aleck. One of my biggest tonight will be keeping him -- he'll have a bag of snacks, I mean the couple of games in interleague this summer when he didn't play Atlanta, he looked like -- remember Leave it to Beaver, he looked like Larry Mondello, I thought about putting him in, but he had a stomach ache. When he doesn't play, he said things that made me laugh when I didn't want to laugh. You'll hear that voice down at the end of the dugout and it's hard not to laugh. He's a character. He's good for our ballclub.

Q. What's your feelings about your first year as manager, as the Boston manager, your feelings about being in the World Series?

TERRY FRANCONA: Obviously we're thrilled. I knew coming in that's kind of what the expectations were from the outside. I thought we had a good enough club to try to get here. But if you get the cart before the horse too early on, it's a long enough season. We just tried to stay in the moment. Even when things weren't going good, and the same thing with the Yankee series, you look ahead or behind too much. The task at hand can look overwhelming or daunting. We tried to stay in the moment. That's what we're doing now. You have one objective and that's to win the game tonight. That's how we did it all year. If you do that well enough over a period of time you put together a good streak. That's just what we'll continue to do tonight, what we tried to do all year.

Q. You have nine players who are free agents after the series, three more with a club option, have you seen anything that has had any effect positively or negatively on the club? Is it something you worry about?

TERRY FRANCONA: I was asked that right away in Spring Training, and my answer was, if we don't play good, it will be an issue, if we play good it won't be an issue. June, July and August it was a big issue, it was tearing the club apart, doing this. The last two months I have not heard one word about it, when you win -- winning takes care of a lot of things, including that.

Q. How has Pedro done in delays in the past, like for instance with the weather conditions tonight? Would that be particularly tough on him if there is one?

TERRY FRANCONA: If it's prolonged, yes. This isn't a 22-year-old kid. This guy's logged some innings. I believe there's only been one or two this year, and one was fairly late in the year, it actually ended up costing him going back out. The warmer the weather the better off he is, compared to the way the weather was in Boston, even if it's messy or rainy, it's going to be significantly warmer. If there's a long rain delay, we'll probably have to lose him.

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