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October 18, 2007

Terry Francona


Q. What are your thoughts on Joe Torre deciding not to come back to the Yankees? How strange is that going to be next year not to see him there?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, I just actually heard about it a couple minutes ago. I guess I hope that however it came down, and nobody knows but Joe and whoever he was dealing with, I hope Joe is happy. I think he deserves the respect, and I think you're going to hear people in baseball, every area of baseball, say probably very, very kind, respectful things about Joe the next couple days, and they're all deserved.
I just hope he's happy.

Q. Just further on that, is there going to be something missing between the Red Sox and the Yankees without him on the other side now? I know you mentioned you have a good relationship with him, so I'm curious from a personal standpoint, will that be a little bit different for you?
TERRY FRANCONA: Again, you'll have to forgive me if I haven't -- that's not right on the front burner tonight (laughter). There will be a time for that, but we really have other things on our plate right now. No disrespect to any organization or any person.

Q. How unexpected is it for you to be this deep in the series without Papelbon having really played a major role?
TERRY FRANCONA: He threw two innings in an extra-inning game. That's pretty major for me. When you give up seven runs, though, in two separate games, that can be part of that dilemma. And I hope that your question, you're not saying that again. We need Pap to be a part of this game. I think that's stating the obvious.

Q. What do you think the team has to do from an offensive standpoint just to kind of get back on track and swing like you were earlier in the playoffs?
TERRY FRANCONA: Pretty much the same outlook we've taken to every game, grind out at-bats, get pitches you can handle, and when you get it, handle it. If it's not in the middle of the plate, try to work an at-bat where you can get a hitter's count. Again, if he wants to throw strike one down the middle, take an aggressive swing. But more often than not if you get deep into a count, good hitters can do something with those pitches. We don't want to have quick innings. We want to make C.C. work as much as we can.
You certainly want to score runs, but sometimes when you don't score runs, it's a byproduct of just making him work and getting him out earlier.

Q. Understanding that you're worried about the game on the field. You had told us earlier that you had reached out to Joe. Now that this has happened, will you at some point make a call?
TERRY FRANCONA: I'm going to go back -- this is sort of a big day for us to try to win this game. There's time for -- this probably isn't the time for -- we need to try to win this game tonight, or I might be getting phone calls (laughter). Joe might be calling me.

Q. Everybody builds up an elimination game or a deciding game or the series could be over. Is there a different feeling when you show up here today? Do you talk to anybody, talk to anybody as a group? How is this day different from the rest of the series?
TERRY FRANCONA: In the way that we act, none. I think we have a consistent enough approach, and that's what we really try for all year, where you don't have to hit a button or give a speech or do anything like that. Try and approach each game as if it's the last game you'll ever play. We've tried to do that for the most part, treat every game like it's the only one that counts, so when you get into the game it is the only one that counts and you don't have to do anything different.

Q. Just checking on the lineup.
TERRY FRANCONA: Same as Game 1, Kielty hitting sixth. Did they keep you guys in the dark on that? It wasn't a secret.

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