"Oh, you're so far ahead of me," Francona said to a small group of reporters. "We don't go ahead that far. We just don't. It's not advantageous for us to do that."
As for the reasoning behind utilizing Clement in the bullpen, something he has done just twice over 226 outings in his career?
"What we want to do is have every available option," said Francona. "I think we'd be remiss if we didn't do that. That's how we explained it to Matt. He's going to try to do his best to be available, but I also told him we wouldn't do something unfair."
The most likely options for Game 5 (if necessary) would seem to be Bronson Arroyo, who is currently operating out of the bullpen, or bringing back David Wells on three days' rest.
Clement struggled over his final four starts of the regular season and it carried over to the postseason, as he got pounded for seven hits (including three homers) and eight runs over 3 1/3 innings.
To make matters worse, he was pounded on the leg and wrist on a blistering grounder by Carl Everett in the third. Clement made the play, but the impact lingered into Wednesday.
"He got smoked in the leg and I don't think he feels that good," said Francona. "He's got a pretty nasty bruise on his thigh that I think is going to get worse before it gets better, and a contusion on his wrist that I don't think is much of an issue."
Olerud first choice: Francona often goes with the matchups when deciding whether to play John Olerud or Kevin Millar at first base. But his decision was a challenging one for Game 2, as neither Millar (1-for-18) nor Olerud (1-for-11) have done much against White Sox starter Mark Buehrle.
Francona wound up going with Olerud because he is the better defensive player.
"There was more to it than this -- I don't want to go into everything -- but Olerud is so good defensively," said Francona. "And the way that the White Sox play the game, I think that's a big part of the decision."
No mood swings: Predictably, the Red Sox carried their same confident demeanor the day after the Game 1 walloping. The looseness of the clubhouse has been considered by many to be a reason Boston has won so many big games since the start of the 2003 season.
"The mood of our team? Not tense," Francona said. "I think the mood of our team has been loose since the very first day of Spring Training two years ago until now. Our guys handle situations and critical games ... very, very well. I'm not downplaying the importance of this game. I would never want to do that, nor do I feel that way, but I think our guys handle it the best way to get the most talent out of our team very, very well. You can't fake being loose. You have to be the way you are. Some teams make life better being quiet."
Papi on pitching: Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has been fairly outspoken over the last couple of weeks on the state of his team's pitching staff, at times seemingly challenging the starters and relievers to step up.
"The thing is, like I always keep saying, if you see the games that we won in the past, you can see that our starting pitcher held the opposite team down for five, six, seven innings," Ortiz said. "It's hard to come back and win the game after you give up, six, eight runs and you're facing good pitching. Like I said before, good pitching could stop good hitting."
Optional workout, mandatory arrival: Because of Major League Baseball rules during the postseason, the Red Sox are required to go to Fenway Park on Thursday during the team's allotted workout time. However, Francona has made the physical part of the workout optional.
"It is not mandatory to work out," said Francona. "That was how it was explained to me. We'll show up, I can go up to the interview room, [and Tim] Wakefield can. Selected people. But we'll have optional hitting, because I just don't think it's in our best interest to have mandatory hitting."
Coming up: Following a day off, the Red Sox will send veteran knuckleballer Wakefield to the mound in the Fenway opener of this series on Friday afternoon. The White Sox counter with righty Freddy Garcia.