Francona indifferent to ALDS schedule

Francona indifferent to ALDS schedule

BOSTON -- Unlike a season ago, when the Red Sox had the best record and got to choose their American League Division Series schedule, that decision was in the hands of their ALDS opponent this time around.

The Angels ended up making the same choice the Red Sox did a year ago, going with Division Series B, which calls for Game 1 on Wednesday and Game 2 on Friday. That setup allows for both teams to go with a three-man rotation for the best-of-five series if they so choose.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn't seem particularly affected by the choice the Angels made.

"I'm not sure I really had a preference," Francona said. "I don't think, regardless of what schedule there is, that will determine the series. I think it will be determined by who plays better. But the one thing it does is, whoever plays with the lead has an advantage, because you're able to go to the back end of your bullpen all the time. So the idea is not to play from behind."

Francona has yet to divulge his rotation.

Will it be Josh Beckett in Game 1 and Jon Lester in Game 2, or the other way around?

Beckett, the ace of the staff and the more conventional choice to open the series, last pitched on Monday.

"We would never have done that, first of all, if we thought it would hurt him," said Francona. "Again, we're always going to do what we think is in our best interest. We would never make a decision that we think hurts us."

The one advantage to pitching Lester in Game 1 is that it would set him up to pitch a potential Game 4 at Fenway Park. Lester has been a force at home this year, going 11-1 with a 2.49 ERA, including a no-hitter. On the road, the lefty is 5-5 with a 4.09 ERA.

"We're going to make some decisions in the next couple of days on how we set up and what best suits us," Francona said. "We'll get to that."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.