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Terry Francona pregame interview

Terry Francona pregame interview

Want to give us an update on Clement's leg and status before we get started with questions.

FRANCONA: Sure. What's going on right now is batting practice. I don't have an update as much as you need. We'll assess every day where they're at and that's happening probably in a few minutes.

Terry, is your team as capable of coming back in a Playoff series as they were last year?

FRANCONA: It doesn't matter. We need to win today. I think comparing the ability has no bearing on what we're trying to do. We need to win the game today and go from there.

Terry, would you consider using Curt out of the bullpen today if you needed him?

FRANCONA: I hope you never get a managing job, you will be horrible. Again, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. We really need badly to win today, and we would start him tomorrow.

When you take a look at how people have done historically against him, do you think the match up numbers are as important in deciding things when Wakefield pitches as they are with the other pitchers.

FRANCONA: That's actually a really good point. As far as Aaron Rowand goes, that's one that's very difficult for us. I think the point is, regardless of what people have done against Wakefield, if he's throwing the ball like he needs to, they may not be able to hit them anyway.

Rowand has given our team fits and Wakefield fits. I agree with your point, I think if he throws the ball the way he's capable of, you can throw those numbers out the window.

Terry, you constantly said in these elimination situations, win today and you've got to focus on the game at hand. Does that mean you focus any harder on this one game than you normally would or do you try to keep everything the same?

FRANCONA: You keep it simple. I think it's a philosophy that we've taken actually the whole time, but it bears out now. That's why we do it. If you look at things differently, you can get overwhelmed. You never hear me say we're going to try to win the series. We're going to try to win tonight. We've always felt like that because I think it's the best way for a team to be good. Stay in the moment and take care of what you can take care of and the rest of those things will answer themselves, are you good enough to come back, did you win 2 out of 3? Those things take care of themselves if you stay in the moment and take care of what you can take care of.

(Inaudible?)

FRANCONA: No, that's my point. I think you missed my point. I believe in it. I'm not just saying that. I woke up this morning with a lot of anticipation, not anxiety, but anticipation. These things I say to you or the ball club, I didn't read them in a coaching book, I didn't make them up. That's how I feel about things.

How does the weather affect Wakefield's knuckle?

FRANCONA: Rain, he gets wet, but as far as wind goes, it does affect his knuckle ball. If the wind is at his back, it can make it tumble sometimes. You can't always go on the flags out there, though. It could be swirling at times. Again, I think it can help the ball break. It also can be tougher on his command. I think the relatively warm weather or humidity is very good in him. Last year in Game 1 against the Cardinals, it was so cold that it was difficult for him to get a feel for it.

Terry, last time out on three days rest Tim didn't pitch as well as you would have liked. Do you know how he does on an extra day's rest?

FRANCONA: I think last time out, he felt great. He didn't have a good feel for his knuckle ball. It was something he had to battle. He took it into his throwing on the side. Like he said, his legs felt great. I think with an extra day's rest his legs will feel better. It was getting the feel for his pitch. He never really got comfortable last time out.

I know that this may seem like an odd question with Doug catching today.

FRANCONA: Nothing you ask would ever seem odd.

Do you think that Jason gets shaken off by your pitchers more than other catchers on a team?

FRANCONA: I don't know. I wouldn't know where to begin that one. I have no idea.

Can you talk a little bit about pitch selection in Game 2, about when you go back to back with the same pitch, because Wells threw the same pitch twice. I was wondering, I don't remember Wells shaking it off much, but do you see that a lot?

FRANCONA: No, I think our pitchers have a lot of confidence in when he puts a finger down, there's a reason, and if a pitcher, a lot of times it can be the wrong pitch, but if they throw it with commitment, it ends up being the right pitch.

When you ask somebody, a pitcher late in the game to throw a fast ball, if you don't throw that pitch with commitment, it probably won't end up. With Varitek back there, there's so much relief him being there.

Do you think Varitek should win the Gold Glove?

FRANCONA: I can't vote for him, he's on our team. I think he's awesome. Anybody that's ever been around him, I think that things, if you look past numbers, what he does defensively is I think the word awesome is not a big stretch, everything he does, I like that word.

I don't know how much you've gotten to know Graffanino. What are your thoughts on how he's handling the last couple of days?

FRANCONA: That's how he's been since he got here. I don't think we ever expect anything different. I think Tony understands the team concept, responsibility standing up. He's handled this just like he's handled everything else, which is very professionally, again with a great attitude. That doesn't surprise me one bit, and it doesn't surprise me the way our players this is always going to be us and I think we do a great job with that.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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