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October 18, 2008

Terry Francona


Q. I think that's three times in this series now that Okajima has gone multiple innings for you and held the Rays there. How big has he been for you guys this series?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, and you might see it one more time. He gives us kind of the luxury of a guy that can come in and get a lefty out and then stay in and face righties because of his change-up or the split, and he has really been tremendous.
You're right, he's given us a lot. In situations where we've needed multiple innings, he's bridged that where we don't get that line moving in that bullpen and it kind of settles down and we have some semblance of order out there.

Q. How much of a factor was the delay in terms of how you handled Beckett, and specifically as it pertained to the fourth inning because I think you had Lopez up before he even went to the mound that inning.
TERRY FRANCONA: The reason we did that, Josh didn't complain or anything like that, but it was a long delay, and if he goes out and struggles, when we rush Javi, that doesn't do any good. So we wanted to give him a time to warm up, throw some pitches so he didn't get rushed into a game. But it was just almost like a rain delay. It was a short one, but it was kind of an oddity we just wanted to be prepared for.

Q. Especially given now Jason's struggles of late here, how big was that home run he hit in the sixth?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think I could, from our side, think of anything more appropriate. I mean, our whole dugout went crazy. We'll take runs any way we can get it, but by that means and by who hit it, it was not just a big run, it was a huge run. But the way it happened, and as hard as he's worked, it meant a lot to everybody.

Q. Getting back to Jason, was there anything he might have said to Josh while he was working through whatever injury he might or might not have tonight?
TERRY FRANCONA: I'm sorry, could you maybe say that again?

Q. Was there anything specific that he was telling Beckett during the game tonight?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know, I was in the dugout staying out of the way. They communicate a lot. Just trying to work through every inning and navigate his way through a pretty dangerous lineup. I thought Josh did a very good job.
He got to the fifth and left a breaking ball out to Bartlett that at the time ties it, but we come right back and put two on the board. I thought Josh pitched with a lot of courage tonight.

Q. Facing this team 24 times this year, including the playoffs, do you think that gives someone like Jason an advantage because of the work ethic he puts in, because of the way he studies opposing hitters?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think we always feel like we have an advantage with Tek behind the plate. That's one of the reasons I think he's such a huge asset to our pitching staff. We always believe that, regardless of whether it's 24 or 2. He's been doing it for a long time, and he's very good.

Q. A performance like this, do you think that finally puts to rest all the question about the healthier starting pitcher tonight and everything, the way he threw?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I thought he threw with a lot of guts. It's not vintage Josh Beckett, but he also proved who he is, and again, that was -- he gave us what we needed. I don't think it was real easy for him at times, but he pitched with a lot of composure and a lot of guts.

Q. You rarely, if ever, have anybody up behind Papelbon when he enters a game. Delcarmen was throwing in the ninth. Is there any sort of physical issue there, or what was going on?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know what, there's no reason not to. Again, if something goes wrong, you're picking out your Halloween costume. There's no reason not to.

Q. It would seem obvious that experience has to be a factor in your favor tomorrow. Is there any way that it isn't a factor in a Game 7?
TERRY FRANCONA: I hope it is. Again, you know, any way you can gain an advantage, you're going to try. They're going to try to do the same thing.
It's going to come down to who plays better. It's probably pretty appropriate. We come down to the last game, and whoever plays better gets to move on.
We have a lot of respect for how good they've played, but we also really like our ballclub. Like I said, it's probably appropriate.

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