Oct. 18 Terry Francona postgame interview

Oct. 18 Terry Francona postgame interview

Q. Can you explain your thought process in walking Donaldson to pitch Encarnacion in the sixth inning there?

TERRY FRANCONA: Sure. Trying to -- I went through every scenario in my head where we can't exchange outs for a run. So it's a difficult situation all the way around. But rather than play the infield in without a force out with Donaldson, I decided with the force out at the plate and pitch to Encarnacion. Either way it's not the most desirable situation. Early in the game you certainly wouldn't do something like that. But in a game where we can't give up another run. We have two hits, that seemed to me to put us in the best position. It didn't work.

Q. Did you get a chance to talk to Merritt today and what's your sense of how he'll handle the next 21 hours?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think he's okay. He talked to Mick a little bit the scouting report this morning, just to give him a chance to watch the game and also digest some of the stuff they talked about. I think he's okay. I think he'll be fine.

Q. What made Sanchez so tough today?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, you can see the velocity, everybody sees that. But right from the very first inning he commanded his breaking ball. Because we actually had a decent amount of hitters counts. But he has breaking ball going, like I said, right from the beginning, and that made it really, really tough on us.

Q. You had a fair number of Blue Jays hitters seemed to go up the middle or the opposite way. Did you see any difference in their approach or a difference in how you were pitching?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think they're good hitters. I mean, Donaldson got a 3-2 breaking ball that he hit for the home run. The other run off Kluber came -- kind of lost the strike zone for a little bit there and had two walks. And Carrera dunked in a little bleeder. I actually thought Kluber pitched really well.

Q. How much of a silver lining is it that you didn't use Allen or Miller today?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think that helps. Certainly when you're down one trying to keep it at one, so we have a chance, but also recognizing that if Miller and Cody pitch, that would have been four out of five pretty high-stress, high-leverage innings, decided to try to go a different route. Didn't work out as well as we wanted, but, you're right, we do have those guys available with a day off behind it.

Q. Did you consider taking Kluber out and not letting him go the sixth inning or what point did you start thinking about bullpen management for Game 5?

TERRY FRANCONA: About what?

Q. Bullpen, using your relievers.

TERRY FRANCONA: For Game 5?

Q. Yeah, holding back some guys.

TERRY FRANCONA: No, we're trying to win the game. We talked to Kluber after every inning. And I thought he held his stuff really good. I thought his legs started to get a little tired. And we went out in the sixth, we had somebody up but he got them out.