Oct. 26 Terry Francona pregame interview

Oct. 26 Terry Francona pregame interview

Q. How close do you think or do you know that the Indians came to possibly getting Chapman before you got Miller? And if that was the case, were there any discussions that you had to have with Cody Allen, alerting him of the possibility that someone else was coming in?

TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, man, I'd hate to take the wind out of your sails on that question, I would never talk about another team's player. Shoot, I mean, I think it's safe to say that going into the trade deadline there are a lot of talks about a lot of players. But I wouldn't feel comfortable going any farther than that, just because, shoot, he's on the other team. That's not fair.

Q. Hopefully you'll talk about a player you almost got. I was wondering what your take was on the Lucroy situation when he vetoed the trade, and if there was any disappointment? Also, with what's going on with Perez, now if maybe things just worked out for the best? Have you thought about that much at all?

TERRY FRANCONA: I mean, I thought about it just because it happened. I guess, I looked at it, tried to look at it logically. I mean, he had the right to do that, and you move on pretty quick in this game. I think the last thing you said is probably how I felt, things work out for a reason, and I really do believe that.

I didn't have any ill will. I really don't know him. But like I said, it was his right to do that. But things generally do work out for the right reasons.

 

Q. Tito, with your postseason success, is it a quality of just looking at that day's game? I know you're always harping on that, but you transfer that to the players as well and they get into the same mindset. Is that what's going on here?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think what it is is I've been fortunate to be around some really good players. I mean, in baseball, you can't make your team better than they are. Like I think in football, there are systems, things where quarterbacks might throw for a lot of yards, things like that. Baseball, your players are your players. You try not to mess them up, and you certainly want to use them where you think they can excel. But I just think I've been pretty fortunate. I'd be lying if I said something different.

Q. There's a lot of good players in the World Series every year. But it seems like your team is very focused on that day?

TERRY FRANCONA: Like I said, I've been pretty fortunate to be around some pretty amazing players. I know I'm lucky. I feel like that a lot.

Q. How much of a luxury is it for you to have as many switch-hitters as you have on this team? Also, platooning, like as a manager over the years, how have your thoughts on that changed over time?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think they've changed. I think it just depends on your team. Some guys don't need to be platooned. Depending on what your team is, you know, you can't platoon everybody. Like you were just referring to, the switch-hitter certainly helps. Since I've been here, I think we've had about three every year, so that really helps. If you're trying to create a platoon advantage, you're always going to have a head start on everybody else because of the switch-hitters.

We've probably had two or three positions where we've platooned or somewhat platooned over the last couple years, and I think it's served us well. I know everybody wants to play every day; I get it. I just think at times when we use all 25, I think we're a little better team than just using 18 or 19.

Q. Thinking back to when you were first around the majors 35 years ago, could you have --

TERRY FRANCONA: Thanks for that (laughter).

Q. Could you have envisioned the way the use of bullpens has evolved? And how do you think your task is different from the managers you played for?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think I'm going to have a good enough answer for that, because 35 years ago I was just trying to hang on. I mean, I just wanted to be good enough to be on a team, and that was hard in itself. I mean, in some ways the game changes, and in some ways it never changes. So just like people, same thing. People change but you don't ever sacrifice the things you believe in. Just sometimes times change a little bit, but people down deep don't.

Q. You have Mike Napoli on your team. He's in the World Series a lot, it seems, every couple years for a different team. What is it about him that kind of, I guess, is part of so helpful to a winning atmosphere? And have you ever been to a party at his place?

TERRY FRANCONA: I can answer the second one quicker, uh-uh. I don't want to get injured.

I know you can't go to a World Series on your own, especially in our game. But there is more to it than that with him. He's had a huge impact in where we are this year, more than just the numbers. The numbers are really good. But all of the other things aren't overstated. I mean, what he's done is legit, and it's powerful. We were fortunate enough to have Jason Giambi here for two years, even to the point where he didn't play very much. He would get a big hit every once in a while, but just his presence in our organization was so helpful. And then Napoli comes and sometimes you just get lucky along the way where you get pretty special people and you try to take advantage of it.

Q. I wonder, are you ready yet to name a Game 4 starter? And whether the answer to that is yes or no, can you talk about the idea of Kluber with only 88 pitches last night possibly going Game 4 and 7? What are your thoughts in that department?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I just didn't want to put Klubes in a tough spot by saying that before he pitched. I didn't think that was fair to him. Then if something came up and he wasn't ready to make that start, I didn't think it was fair to him. But he's all set to pitch. That was probably our first -- that was probably plan A. But like I said, I didn't want to be unfair to him.

Part of taking him out then was with that in mind, that you start getting deeper into the game, and if they mount a rally, getting out of that, you're really exerting. You're up around 100 or so, I think that's unfair to ask him to come back after doing that.

So we got him out of there, I think he was at 84. He knew why, and he's ready to go.

Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think you've ever used a starting pitcher three times in a postseason series.

TERRY FRANCONA: You mean a starting pitcher?

Q. Yes. How much trepidation is there just going to one guy?

TERRY FRANCONA: You know what, that's a good question. I completely understand it. The reasons I hadn't done it before is because I didn't think it would help us. I think, and this might get a little convoluted, I'll do the best I can. I think people lose sight of the fact that you've got to win four. You're not trying to prolong the series. So you try to take stock of where you are, and I tried not to fall in ever to just relenting to like, well, we're losing, so let's move everybody up.

In our situation right now, there's a couple factors: One, some guys have gotten hurt. Two, we still wouldn't have done it if we didn't think it was the right thing to do. And part of that is the workload the starters have had lately hasn't really been -- this has been Kluber's least amount of pitches this month just because when they're winning, we go to the bullpen, and if they're losing, we take them out.

So I think they're all situated to handle it.

Q. You remember how you found out last night that you were the first World Series manager to win your first nine games? The second part, have you gotten many texts or messages from fellow managers saying, hey, it shouldn't be this easy?

TERRY FRANCONA: Okay, the first part of that was how did I find out?

Q. Yeah.

TERRY FRANCONA: Just now. I didn't know (laughing). I didn't know. I went home and turned on CNN and FOX to watch a little reality TV (laughing).

Q. Is Kipnis's ankle okay?

TERRY FRANCONA: He's good. I was actually going to take him out in the ninth just to give him a little break, and he said he was fine.

Q. And Lindor was just in here talking about Brantley's presence about when he got thrown out. Can you still feel Brantley making an impact maybe in the dugout even now?

TERRY FRANCONA: What do you mean when he got thrown out?

Q. When Frankie got thrown out, he said Brantley was the first one to tell him, just keep stealing, that kind of thing.

TERRY FRANCONA: Brant's found a way to -- it's hard when you're hurt. It's almost like there's an invisible wall that goes up, because you don't really quite share in all the frustrations, even though you care. It's just different. I've been through it. It's hard. Brant has found a way to eclipse that and still be a leader, which is not easy to do. I think it speaks volumes about him. That's why I said yesterday that it hurts me a little bit that he's not playing, because he should be.

He's so much a part of what we do and what we stand for that it hurts that he's not playing.

Q. Lindor was in here, he's always smiling and seems to be upbeat. You're around him all the time. What impressed you the most in how he handled coming up when he did, and playing as well as he has for a year and a half?

TERRY FRANCONA: I mean, there's a lot of things that he does well. I think the thing I'm really probably the most pleased about is the way he, I don't know if "tempered" is the right word, but he got the veterans quickly to understand that he cared about winning. Because as a young player, you can come in and be a little too loud, too quick and he made the veterans -- they bought into him quickly because they understood he cared about winning, and then that allowed him to have his personality show.

But I thought he really handled it very well. Because if you come in and try to take everybody by storm, it doesn't necessarily always work.

Q. When you look at some of the starters in this series, like your guy Kluber and Arrieta tonight and even Hendricks, they had to start somewhere and struggle before becoming elite Cy Young pitchers. What do you think that says about where places, teams can go to find top quality pitching and how to develop through patience, maybe, top pitching?

TERRY FRANCONA: You just said the right word. That's why we're always patient, especially with pitching, because especially here, we can't let somebody go somewhere else and be good. We don't always have a crystal ball either. We are not always right, but you don't want to be wrong and have somebody -- because you're right, pitchers figure it out at different time, and sometimes they don't. But you don't want to let somebody go somewhere else.

I mean, there was some frustrating times with Carlos Carrasco here. We'd put him in the bullpen and through a lot of hard work, he turned into one of the better starters in the league. It would have been easy to lose patience with him. Try not to do that, because you can miss out on some really good players.

Q. Looking around the game right now, so many teams are led by executives you could trace back to Mark and Chris here and then Theo and Jed. With your experience with both of those groups, how would you describe their different thought processes, and are there even differences between the way they approach things?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, little different. They're both off-the-charts intelligent, from all of the guys, from Jed, to Theo to Chris to Cherny. I mean, Cherny's kid is five, he already uses bigger words than I do (laughter). It's unbelievable. I mean, so the intelligence is obviously there.

But I think you then couple that with people skills and the people they surround themselves with, that's why you're seeing so many throughout the league. But I was telling Chris that the other day, I think it's a huge compliment to him that guys are springing up around the league.

I know, I guess they haven't announced it, but Minnesota's going to have a new one, too, and supposedly he's from here. Guess we're not really supposed to say that. But you know what I mean. And he'll be another one that just, he's smart and he understands people, and he'll be a star.

Q. You were just talking about Kluber and some of the things you have to consider if you're going to run him out there in Game 4 and then potentially after that. How much does having a guy like Miller who can throw multiple innings in the middle of a game like that factor into that decision? I imagine it makes it easier to do something like that knowing you've got that weapon in the bullpen like that.

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, having Andrew available helps everything. But I don't think that entered into our decision because you're not going to have Andrew every game like we did yesterday. That's not realistic. I just think, again, we tried to look at our team and how we best set up, and what's in our best interest to win four games before the Cubs do, and that's how we came to this conclusion.

I think, like I said yesterday and the day before, we reserve the right to change it if somebody needs it. We don't want to be stubborn either, but that's the way we're set up, but we can always change it.

 

Q. You said yesterday if you start Kluber in Game 4, it only makes sense to have the other guys come back on short rest as well. If they get through the next two days, fine, would that mean that they'd come back on short rest?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah. Because if they don't, now all of a sudden, you're sacrificing. You have one or two pitchers going short, and you're still pitching a bullpen day. So that doesn't necessarily help us as much as we want to. So we tried to think it through ahead of time.

Trevor, again, finger aside, Trevor's a guy that can pitch all the time. Tomlin, we were a little concerned. He's been pitching great, but he doesn't have the biggest frame in the world. But he hasn't pitched that much, so I think we're okay.