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An Interview With Terry Francona

An Interview With Terry Francona

Q. In your six years with the Red Sox, has any team been as consistent in the way they play the game and what you have to contend with to play them as these Angels have been?

TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, boy, I don't know. They're good from top to bottom. They present a lot of problems. How many is to be seen. If Lester goes out there and does what he can do, maybe the base running doesn't come into the game. They have 15 base runners. There's a pretty good chance they can steal some bases and go first and third, that's what they do.

Q. What did it take for David Ortiz to get his groove back? And at what point did he feel he was back that you had a productive hitter in him again?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know if I can put a date on it. The first couple of months were miserable. Went out to Seattle. Gave him the series off. Came back and just asked him to keep plugging away and not look up at his batting average. He's done a pretty good job of that. He's been very productive from the first of June on. Even though his batting average is lower than he's accustomed to, he's been a really productive hitter.

Q. From your vantage point, how much of a manager's job is away from the actual nine innings different fusing problems in the clubhouse, dealing with personalities? And how much of a manager's job is really the in game machinations that people do see?

TERRY FRANCONA: Both. I mean, the job is to handle everything. Have your team prepared to play, it's not just on the field it's off the field in the clubhouse. It's talking to the trainers, there's a lot of things that go on. I don't think there's any responsibilities that we or I need to run away from. That's all part of doing the job.

Q. You had two really, really good options to start Game 1 and Game 2. In choosing Jon for Game 1, and Josh for Game 2, was any part of that decision difficult?

TERRY FRANCONA: No.

Q. Why?

TERRY FRANCONA: Because we would have had to completely we had to really get creative. This way Lester gets an extra day, Beckett gets an extra day. Not one guy on regular rest and one guy on eight.

It has as much to do with possibly being able to bring Beckett back for Game 5, too. We might be able to use these guys for four games. So that's part of it also.

Q. Back to Ortiz for a minute. Having him back in the lineup being a productive hitter as you said. You kept them in his normal spot even when he was struggling?

TERRY FRANCONA: No, I didn't do that.

Q. Well, you moved him around a little bit. Now that he's back to what he used to be, how does that change your lineup?

TERRY FRANCONA: It probably makes it a little bit thicker. Because we actually at one point dropped him down to seventh. But guys like Youkilis just younger guys hit in the middle. Or when David started hitting, it kind of made our lineup that much deeper.

Q. Josh Beckett and his ability to rise to big games and everything, what do you kind of notice about his demeanor and how he channels all that aggression he has for that game?

TERRY FRANCONA: He works really hard every day of the week, so when his day comes, he can go out and be ready to rise to the occasion. He doesn't have to try to push a button. He's prepared for what he's supposed to do.

Because of his talent, he put that together in a lot of big situations. He's come up big.

Q. For so long before you came over and Theo and whatnot, the Red Sox were known as basically a slugging type of team. Now your lineup can basically do everything. Certainly the Red Sox were never known for guys like Jacoby Ellsbury. What role does versatility play with your lineup in terms of your success here and particularly this year?

TERRY FRANCONA: We've had different lineups throughout the years. I think that our job is to take the guys we have and do the best we can. If you have guys like Ellsbury, you run. If you have guys like Ortiz, you hopefully hit homers. You know, you don't take David and hit him first and ask him to steal, because that's not going to work. So we take who we have and try to use our strengths, and we've always done that.

In '04, we were slow, but we had a lot of good hitters. So we didn't try to run them that much because it wouldn't help us. But now we have guys that can run and go first to third, so we try to do that.

Q. How gratifying has it been for you as a manager to watch the development of Youkilis knowing when he first got here he was kind of fighting for a roster spot for a couple of years and now to have him be one of the top five or ten hitters in the game?

TERRY FRANCONA: He was on that I 95 that one year. He's grown into one of the better hitters in the game, and one of the better defenders. Actually, one of the better players because he's a good base runner, too. He's grown into one of our main stays.

It's fun when you see guys come through the system because they're ours, so we are a little more proud, sure.

Q. Jered Weaver's pitched pretty well against you in his two starts. How have you seen him mature since he came into the league?

TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, boy, you'd be better off asking Scioscia that. We're trying to figure out how to beat him. He commands very well. There is some deception in his delivery, but there is a lot of command that goes with it.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

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