Oct. 14 Terry Francona postgame interview

Oct. 14 Terry Francona postgame interview

Q. What can you say about what Kluber gave you, especially when he had to work out of so many jams early on?

TERRY FRANCONA: Early in the game he threw strikes really well. Uncharacteristically gave up -- most of his were 0-2, 1-2. But then when he did, and there's some traffic, boy, he'd bear down and his breaking ball was at times devastating.

Then he got in a rhythm and, I mean, both pitchers I thought were terrific. Different styles, but man, both were so good. Fortunately for us Lindor got a changeup and that was the difference in the game.

Q. There's often more attention with a guy like Kluber's resume when he's making his Postseason debut. What does that say about this kid?

TERRY FRANCONA: I got asked that the time he pitched his first game. And it never even dawned on me that it was his first Postseason start. He's pitched so many games for us the last three years and big games for us that it never even -- I don't think it ever even entered into his mind, either. He's such a good pitcher and his routine, his work ethic are impeccable. When the game starts, whether it's April or October, he puts himself in a position where he can go enjoy competing because he prepares so well.

Q. Why do you think Lindor, for as young as he is, is as poised as he is? He never seems he's overmatched by any situation at all.

TERRY FRANCONA: He's got a ton of talent. I just think you can tell how much he enjoys playing the game. Shoot, if I had his ability I'd feel confident, too.

But, I mean, on the baseball field that's where he's most comfortable. And you can tell he's enjoying himself. And what's probably even better is as good a player he is, he's probably a better kid. That's saying something.

Q. I think he hit a change-up?

TERRY FRANCONA: He did.

Q. What does that say? That guy has maybe one of the best change-ups for a 22-year-old kid, what is it to say about his raw ability as a hitter?

TERRY FRANCONA: I mean, Frankie's, he's a strong kid. He's kind of wiry. I mean, at some point somebody was going to have to hit a change-up, just because the way he was going back and forth. I actually thought he threw maybe more fastballs early than we expected. But his change-up is so good you can look for it and still not hit it. It might be the best change-up in the game. There's deception to go with it. Frankie has good strong hands, and sometimes you get a change-up up a little bit and they'll tend to go out.

Q. What's the feeling like after he gives you that lead and Kluber got you as deep as he does, that you had Miller and Allen? It's not as long as you'd asked them to pitch.

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I think Andrew threw 30 pitches and it seemed like it wasn't that -- and that's still a lot. And for him to go through the middle of the order like that, that's why we got him. And we intend to use him, but like we said before the game, you can't use him, then, if you don't have somebody behind him. And that needs to be one of our strengths if we get where we want to go.

Q. Some of the national commentators have noted how your team as evolved defensively over the last three years, both statistically and the eye test. You got two. A great play by Kip today in the hole. And talking about Frank, a couple of nice turns out there. Can you talk about what the defense means to this team now versus what it was those three years ago?

TERRY FRANCONA: Last year at the trade deadline when we got younger, but we got better defensively. I think it showed us, even with just the offense not being really much improved, how much better our pitching looked and how much more it actually showed in the win column.

So this winter I know when we were talking about trying to acquire players, I know Chris and Chernoff and the guys, their challenge was to try to get us some offense without sacrificing the defense. You're right, we don't want to do that. And that's part of what makes us good. And we need to play clean baseball, that's part of it. If we give teams extra opportunities it doesn't usually work out real well.