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Francona tidbits

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  October 15, 2008 12:21 PM

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Terry Francona had his weekly conversation with the hosts of the "Dale and Holley Show" on sports radio WEEI this afternoon. Here are a few of the manager's notable comments, including his reiteration that he will not move up Jon Lester to pitch Game 6:

On Tim Wakefield's performance Tuesday:

"Man, he left the two up in the first inning [for home runs], and we're down three, and knowing the circumstances, we got [Justin] Masterson up right away. But he goes out and has a four-pitch second inning, and then in the third inning he's two outs into the inning, and he gets ahead 0-2 to [Carl] Crawford, and he gets that swinging bunt . . . and then the next pitch leaves the ballpark, and the [deficit] is five [runs] instead of three. And that was a huge turnaround in the game."

On whether the Sox have confidence based on the fact that they came back from a 3-1 hole against the Indians in the ALCS last year:

"Well, they are separate, but you try to draw on anything you can . . . I think our guys are ready to play right now. And I love that. There are some guys coming in today that have some fire, and I actually wish we were playing in about 10 minutes . . . But this is what I expected [out of these guys] and had it been any different I'd have been surprised."

On David Ortiz's ongoing struggles despite his efforts in batting practice to hit the ball to the opposite field:

"Well, it's not as easy as batting practice. He understands what the game's about, trying to drive the ball the other way. But when you start to compete, there's a guy that's pitching who's trying not to let you do that. I think that's kind of obvious. They're running the back-door cutter, they're throwing the breaking ball, the running the fastball to keep him honest. And he's not been able to keep that base nice and still. Again, saying it and doing it are two different things . . . In his next-to-last at-bat, he hit that triple, but he still didn't get the backspin, but he hit it good and got the head of the bat to it. I'm hoping that gets him to feel a little bit better."

On whether Ortiz should to try to bunt against the Rays' defensive shift:

"You're talking about a guy that bunts once a year, so for me to ask him to bunt . . . the only time I'm actually comfortable with him bunting is when he thinks he can get it down."

On Josh Beckett's inconsistency:

"I think it's come down to . . . there's been four interruptions in his season. Each time his routine gets interrupted, it's just looks like he can't gather that last bit of arm speed to get the finish on some of his pitches. He feels okay. He feels a little beat up like all pitchers do at this time of year. Not one thing's grabbing at him, or he can't execute pitches, it's just that there's not that finish on his pitches, and the hope is . . . he can get into a situation, and feel it, and go get it, and that hasn't happened . . .

On why he left Beckett in when he was struggling during Game 2:

"Well, we scored three [runs in the top of the fifth] and took the lead, and I looked down at him and he had fire in his eyes. And I thought, 'Okay, send him back out, we can get an inning out of him,' and if he has a good inning, we can line up our bullpen and have some semblance of order, and it gets him back going. He went out, punched out [Akinori Iwamura], and then everything went wrong . . . I felt like it was the right thing to do for a lot of reasons. I'm probably in the minority."

". . . You might not see Beckett throwing 97 right now, for a lot of reasons. But that doesn't mean he can't win."

On the Rays' decision to start Scott Kazmir in Game 5 and James Shields in Game 6:

"I actually heard some rumblings last night, we had a little bit of a forewarning that this could happen. I don't think it necessarily changes our lineup or the people in our lineup. It may change the order we go in. We're kind of looking at that now and will continue to look at it the rest of the day."

On whether he will consider pitching Jon Lester in Game 6 and bumping back Beckett to Game 7 (giving him an extra day of rest) if the Sox win Game 5:

"No. We need to stay consistent on everybody's rest. Again, we're going to win or lose -- and hopefully, it's win -- with the guys we have, and we're very aware of where they stand physically, Lester, Beckett, everybody. We monitor them so closely, and we will continue to do that, but to bump up Lester now, I don't know if that's fair to him."

On whether he will have a team meeting:

"We don't need it . . . Pedroia came in this morning ready to fight the war, and it's spreading clubhouse-wide. Like I said, I wish we were playing an hour from now."

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