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October 16, 2007

Terry Francona


Q. All three of your losses your pitchers haven't made it out of the fifth inning. Is it something they're not doing, or is it something that the Indians changed from Game 1 that's getting them out so early?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think every game kind of has its own feel or personality. I think there are times, too, you get in a playoff game where during the regular season you might give a starter some wiggle room but you can't go to the bullpen in the fifth inning three games in a row in the regular season. But now because of the importance of games and trying to keep games at a manageable point where if we do get those three home runs we're right back in the ballgame, I think it's just a little bit different during the regular season.

Q. Jhonny Peralta has had a pretty good series. Given your scouting reports, I assume this is no big surprise that he's had a good series given how good a hitter he's been for a while.
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, he's very dangerous and we're finding out.
The formula that we used tonight, bringing in Manny Delcarmen behind Wake is something we've done a lot this year because just of the differential and the speeds giving hitters different looks. He fell behind 2-1, tried to go up and away, really elevated a ball that Jhonny caught up with. Obviously I know I'm stating the obvious, it's a big blow in the game. If we can stop the bleeding right there, it certainly gives us a much better chance. And we still came back with a lot of energy and swung the bats the next inning, but we really dug ourselves a big hole.

Q. There's guys in your room who have some history with being in a bad place in the postseason and coming back. Is there anything that you need to say, can say, or does it just kind of have to be left unsaid?
TERRY FRANCONA: No, we don't need to have meetings. We know where we are, and like you kind of said, there's some guys in there that have been in this situation before. And the best way I think all of us know to go about our business is to play the next game. Put that on our radar and try and take care of the next game. You start trying to look ahead, it can look a little overwhelming. Just play the game that's in front of us, and that's the only thing that matters right now.

Q. Scouting report mentioned before by Tim, I'm sure you had thorough reports on the Indians' bullpen. Now that you've seen them in person, up close in the postseason, is it better than you thought collectively or about what you thought, especially the back end?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, the series isn't over. We're very aware of what they can do. Betancourt comes in with 79 innings and I believe nine walks, what, 51 hits. That's a phenomenal year.
Our goal always is to get to the bullpen before they can set it up, where they can match up or get to guys before they want to. We haven't been able to do that the last couple nights.

Q. With Tim, no hit three innings and then the bottom falls out, can you just talk about his performance. And have you seen this before from him? Does it happen with a knuckleballer like that?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I think you have to keep that inning a little bit in perspective when you're talking about Wake. He gave up the lead-off home run to Blake and then a single. That at-bat to Shoppach was -- then we get the ground ball. That's a huge chase, knowing he's got a guy at third that's probably tagging, the ball drifted on him a little bit. If we don't make that play, and then we get the line drive (inaudible), and then we're out of the inning. Then we go to Manny to keep it right where it is, and we certainly didn't do that.

Q. I was just going to ask if you could talk a little bit more about Wakefield's performance as a whole throughout the game.
TERRY FRANCONA: Actually threw the ball really well. The big concern for us tonight I thought was getting through that first inning and getting on a little bit of a roll and getting him a little bit of confidence. With Wake, when he's quick to the plate that means he's not trying to load up and make that ball do more or like he feels like it has to do more. His times to the plate tonight were great. He threw the ball with confidence.
Like I said, in a regular season game we would have stayed with him longer, but in a situation we're in, a playoff game, we want to stop it right there.

Q. What kind of argument did you have with the umpire after the fourth inning? Is it something related to double-pumping by Paul Byrd?
TERRY FRANCONA: I didn't have any argument. I just asked him a question. It was no argument. I wanted to get a rule interpretation, that was all it was.

Q. Can you talk about Paul Byrd and the job he did against your hitters, not just with the aggressiveness but with the selection of pitches?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, he's such a strike thrower, and he got on a roll where, especially to his glove side, his cutter, away right, into the lefties, he's opened up the rest of the plate for his off-speed pitches. Early on even the first inning, very aggressive, in to the lefties, which again, with his off-speed pitches and the way he throws strikes really made him tough.

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