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October 15, 2007

Terry Francona


Q. How was your night? Did you get much sleep? And how do you feel your team is as far as ready to go? You don't have to give me exact hours or anything like that --
TERRY FRANCONA: You're getting a little personal there.

Q. I apologize for the way I phrased it (laughter).
TERRY FRANCONA: Do you want to know how many times I urinated in the middle of the night? We can start now (laughter).
No, we had a good day. We watched some baseball, watched some fastball. Happy with that answer?

Q. How about your team?
TERRY FRANCONA: I'm hoping our team is going to really be good. We had an optional workout. I think our guys are smart enough to know that the word "optional" means, if it's in your best interest, come out; if it's not, don't. There were some guys that wanted to throw and wanted to hit. Even though they were a little tired, get the kinks out of a long night and go back and get a good dinner and come back today and go get 'em.

Q. Tim Wakefield was just in here looking ahead to tomorrow night. Given he hasn't pitched in so long, are there any particular indicators you look for with him to see if he's on early?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know what, Wake is the hardest -- I certainly don't say this disrespectfully, he's the hardest guy to be a manager for of any pitcher I've ever been around. He's such a good pitcher and he's been good for a long time. But I think I learned real quick, sometimes to take both your hands, put them underneath you and sit there. Because of the way he pitches, if you don't do that, it can drive you crazy a little bit. There's going to be stolen bases, there's going to be some walks. At the same time if you're patient enough to let him pitch, and he's pitching well, he won 17 games. But it's very difficult.
I remember Jim Leyland talking about it when he had him in Pittsburgh. I got over here, you go through the same thing.

Q. The Indians are starting Trot tonight. I wonder if there were any indications in your scouting reports or your studies of their tendencies that would have led you to expect that Trot would be in there, or is it something of a mild surprise?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think we thought there was a chance that might happen. I can't sit and tell you that I knew what their lineup would be, but I don't think we were surprised when they sent it over today.

Q. You've managed a lot of playoff games now. A game like the other night, how long do you replay and grind out things that could have been, might have been, that type of thing, or are you able to just kind of put that away pretty quick?
TERRY FRANCONA: Try to put things away pretty quickly. It seems like the longer I manage, the losses tend to maybe stay with you longer than the wins do. I wish it wasn't like that. I'm not sure why it is. But at the same time, when something happens difficult in a game, I think it's our responsibility as a staff to show up the next day and be ready to go, and I think our staff does a really good job of that.
And again, we have practice doing that. In Boston every game means so much. You lose two or three in a row -- it's easy to talk a big game in spring training, this is how we're going to do things. Then when it comes time to do it we need to live up to our end of things, and I think we do that.

Q. How much of an adjustment is it after you face guys like hard throwers like you did in the first two games, to Byrd, a guy who doesn't throw as hard, or just in general if you face two really hard guys?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, there certainly is a differential in styles. But it comes down to the same thing: Swinging strikes, getting balls up in the zone that you can do something with, and lay off everything else. Jake can do the same thing if you want to chase balls out of the zone, he can get you rolled over and play in a hurry. Same thing with Paul Byrd. I've seen it against him. He's getting himself into hot water and he's great at getting himself out of it because as the stadium gets louder, he has the ability to go softer, and that can be very effective.

Q. Is it an innate thing that can't be taught, or is it something you guys have tried to instill?
TERRY FRANCONA: Can you help me with "innate" and I can give you a better answer.

Q. Natural-born.
TERRY FRANCONA: I thought so. I don't know, good question. I wish I knew a better answer. I talked to Theo and the scouting guys about guys that they're interested in. I think they feel like if you have that ability as a high schooler or more importantly probably college, that can maybe translate into your numbers as a professional.
I do think this: If you go through the minor leagues and you're swinging, a pretty tough thing to do is come to the Major Leagues and learn strike zone discipline. I think, if anything, it tends to go the other way. The competition is better, the pitching is better. I think as you go through the minor leagues, your track record probably speaks pretty highly.

Q. All season long you guys played very well on the road, played very well in Anaheim. In your eyes what has made you guys a very good road team? And with that said, the crowd should be pretty pumped up and loud tonight, how does that affect you at all?
TERRY FRANCONA: That doesn't enter into it. Them hitting last has certainly more to do with it. We love playing at home because it is such a special place. I think what makes it harder is the way you handle your pitching. When you're at home, you can go into a tie game a little bit more comfortably to Pap or Okajima, knowing if you stay tied you have a chance to win. You do that on the road and you're taking some gambles, then you have to keep it tied. Once you get to the ninth inning they have two chances to your one, so it makes you think things through a little differently. Part of the reason I think we've had success on the road is because we have a good bullpen, and not just one or two guys. We've been able to go to other guys like Timlin and Delcarmen and still be able to put zeros on the board.

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