The following are excerpts from Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona media availability during today's ALCS workout day at Tropicana Field.
Francona on ALCS pitching rotation:
Weâre going to go, Daisuke, Beckett, Lester, Wakefield now.Â We reserve the right if something crazy happens in the middle to make a change but thatâs the way weâre set up to go.Â The reasoning is actually pretty simple.Â I think I thought this was how it would shakeout even before we did the media after we beat Anaheim.Â I just needed to take the proper time to talk it through.Â It gives people rest, not too much rest not too little.Â Itâs probably the best way where we donât have one guy going on 8, one guy going on regular.Â Keep everybody somewhat in line.Â Rest at this time of year is huge and weâll take advantage of it while trying not to give too much.Â And the guys that pitch 1, 2, and 3 are lined up for 5, 6, and 7.Â Nobodyâs going to throw 3 so having those three twice is really whatâs important regardless of how itâs lined up.
Francona on Lesterâs record at Fenway factoring into the rotation decision:
Not really, I know what it is.Â You can get into a lot of details but there really didnât need to be.Â The way it lined up was appropriate.Â Those three will pitch twice if it goes to 7.Â In the end, as long as theyâre pitching the order isnât as important so then you go on whatâs best for them.Â
Francona on playing the Rays in the ALCS and if there is any bad blood between the teams:
We know them really well, they know us really well.Â Itâs the way it is when you play in your division.Â You play so much thatâs the way it is.Â Itâs been like that for us with the Yankees the past few years.Â You play them a bunch.Â The bad blood, I donât think anyone has even thought of it.Â That was a long time ago.Â This is the playoffs that really doesnât enter into it.Â
Francona on ALCS roster:
We have not done that yet.Â We have a lot of meetings tomorrow in Tampa.Â We have a workout at 3:00 p.m. and weâll have our meetings in the morning.Â I think weâll have a meeting from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., weâll workout at 3:00 p.m. and I think weâll probably have our roster to announce tomorrow before the workout.Â
Francona on any thought to having Byrd pitch Game 4 instead of Wakefield:
We considered everything but when it comes down to what serves the ballclub best, Byrd can probably be used more flexibly out of the bullpen and then when you line up Wake, you put him with Cash, you see how far you can go and then you can make your determinations with how to go with the bullpen as opposed to trying to bring in Wake in the middle of the game knowing that heâs possibly throwing to a catcher that you havenât had.Â Itâs an easy decision when you look at all the dynamics of it.Â
Francona on Rays success and what makes them a good playoff team:
I hope theyâre not a good playoff team.Â It shouldnât be a surprise 162 games and a playoff series that theyâre good.Â I understand some of the story behind this.Â They havenât had any success going into this year and all of a sudden they went from the bottom to the top.Â Itâs a great story for baseball.Â It made our life a little bit more miserable this year.Â If you look at their team from top to bottom there really shouldnât be a surprise.Â They have a very good, very healthy starting rotation.Â They have a deep bullpen.Â Theyâre able to match up, they have power.Â Their starters got them deep enough where they didnât wear out their bullpen.Â They catch the ball better than any team in the league and offensively they have gotten contributions from everybody.Â How many times do you turn on the TV and see somebody hitting a walk off homerun or somebody got hurt and somebody else picked it up.Â They have a real good thing going.Â Our job will be to derail that.Â
Francona on experience heading into the ALCS:
I think the one thing where it really does help is there are so many things that happen on the periphery that can get in the way.Â There are little things like ticket requests and the extra media things that can throw you off a little bit.Â At least we know what to expect so it doesnât get in the way of baseball.Â Thatâs the whole idea, to be able to play the best baseball you can.Â It doesnât guarantee youâre going to win but thatâs what you really set out to do.Â The first time you hear people say , myself probably included, it can be a little overwhelming.Â We really try hard to never let that happen.Â You get thrown a lot of unusual requests, everybody has a request, so if youâre used to it at least you have an idea so baseball doesnât get pushed to the side.
Francona on what has allowed the young Red Sox players to succeed:
Theyâre good players.Â If youâre a good player, I donât think it matters what age they are.Â We try to talk to players if they are inexperienced and not hold that against them.Â Continue to talk o them and if they make a mistake not jump down their throat but give them guidance.Â The only way to get experience is to play.Â I think weâve been blessed with this organization; there are some really good players that come through here.Â Because theyâre young, we would never hold that against them.Â They can help us win.
Francona on why the Red Sox have difficulty in domes:
I used to think it was fairly obvious.Â When we were slower and we would get on turf, it was Toronto, Minnesota, teams that could run and we couldnât we were at a disadvantage. I donât feel that way anymore.Â Weâre built differently but youâre right, our record is not very good.Â Iâm hoping thatâs going to change.
Francona on Pedroia:
Numbers wise he had a tough series and we won.Â This will never revolve around one person.Â The better he does is important but the idea isnât to get one guy going, the idea is to win.Â But to get your best players swinging the way they can certainly helps.
Source: Boston Red Sox