Pregame interview with Terry Francona

Pregame interview with Terry Francona

What did you take out of your experience in the Indians' front office? And what do you think is being done there to accounts for the success of Danny O'Dowd and Josh Byrnes?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, there have been a lot of good people come through that system. They do things so well. I mean, their basis and their foundation for what they do is based on a lot of intelligent people that care a lot about people. It's a nice combination. They've run a lot of people through there. I mean, they're dispersed out through the league a lot of different places, a lot of success, but they're really good people.

That's the basis I'd say that probably far outweighs everything else.

Could you talk about Schilling who's pitching tomorrow. And what are some of the changes he's made since being back the last three or four weeks?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know that he's really made changes. I think what's been more important is probably him being more comfortable kind of in his skin, the way he's had to attack hitters. Going back to when I saw him in '97, he could run it up to about 97. When that stopped being the case, he had to kind of come to grips with, okay, here's how I'm going to pitch, and I'm either going to be good or not good, and I think he's found ways to be good. He still commands the fastball probably as good as anybody in the game. He's got the split, he can cut the ball, he can throw a change up, and he's never lost the ability to compete or be able to follow a game plan. He does that, also, as well as anybody.

How comparable is Carmona's sinker with Derek Lowe's when he was here?

TERRY FRANCONA: As far as movement goes, very, very similar. Carmona has a little more velocity, but very, very similar. There's times when you see it and you hit it but you can't do anything with it. Just it's got that good a bite to it.

What are the keys to success against Carmona tomorrow?

TERRY FRANCONA: Sabathia is tonight, right?

Yeah.

TERRY FRANCONA: Just making sure. You guys are getting ahead of me.

I don't know that we want to go over our scouting report. Even though you called me Mr. Francona, I wouldn't trust you.

I don't think it's any secret, if you chase balls out of the zone on Carmona, down, it'll be too quick of a night. We need to bring him up and get pitches to hit that you can handle. But that's the case with just about every pitcher you talk about. If you can get pitches in the zone that you can handle and do something with it -- the byproduct is usually drive the pitch count up, scoring runs, having better swings. That's the case all the way around.

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You've had a lot of success as a manager here in Boston, and I don't expect you to pat yourself on the back, but Belichick gets a lot of credit in this town. We asked Schilling about you being underappreciated. What's it like to be the manager of the Boston Red Sox? And do you feel like you get the credit you deserve?

TERRY FRANCONA: Ooh, I don't know that I ever thought about that. I'm not even sure how to answer that. I mean, as far as Bill Belichick goes, I would be a horrible football coach (laughter). I don't know much about it. He should be revered here.

I guess the only way I can answer it is I don't wake up in the morning, and I've said this before, and run to see how I'm being perceived. I think to do this job correctly you have to have enough confidence in what you're doing, go do it, and if it does work or doesn't work, answer the questions and move on. I really don't feel like I need the game reexplained to me. I've spent a lot of time here trying to do what I think is right, trying to put people in the right position to succeed, and then be loyal to those people. And when it doesn't succeed, answer the questions.

We know that Manny Ramirez is a great hitter. We also know that he's very quiet, at least with the media. What is he like in the clubhouse? What are his contributions to the chemistry, or is he considered a leader in the clubhouse?

TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, I don't know about that. Maybe in his own way. Again, if Manny wanted you to know about Manny, he would probably tell you. I don't blame you for whatever your perception of him is. I don't blame you because he doesn't tell you, so it's not you guys' fault.

I'm not blaming him.

TERRY FRANCONA: No, I'm just trying to explain.

I'm just wondering what his contribution is.

TERRY FRANCONA: A lot of hits and a lot of production.

But as far as that goes, a little farther, he's a really good kid, probably a lot more approachable, a lot more likable than he comes across with the media, and that's what I was kind of alluding to. It's not really your fault because he doesn't allow people in. But I don't think he cares.

But I think he's immensely popular down in the clubhouse.

Obviously you've had a lot of time to prepare, an inordinate amount of time. Can you have too much time to prepare, bookwork and otherwise, for a series like this?

TERRY FRANCONA: No, I'd rather have the time because that means we finished off a series, instead of dragging something out where we could possibly lose.

This has been okay. We tried to turn everything into a positive. We had time off so we had our pitchers throw innings of simulated game, had our hitters hit, we ran our infield drills at full speed, kind of like in Spring Training, and then we'll go play. The Indians had maybe one less day than us. It happens. It's the byproduct of having some success. We're okay with that.

Have you spoken to Joe Torre this week? And do you have any thoughts of about what's going on with him?

TERRY FRANCONA: I have not spoken to him. I left a message for him and understandably his phone was off. I don't blame him.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.