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Oct. 10 Terry Francona pregame interview

October 10, 2016

Q. Trevor was just in here and talked, he's really excited to pitch on short rest. He talked about the prospect of throwing and always wanting to throw. Where does that come from for a pitcher? TERRY FRANCONA: Let me back you up just a sec just so I don't misspeak.

Q. Trevor was just in here and talked, he's really excited to pitch on short rest. He talked about the prospect of throwing and always wanting to throw. Where does that come from for a pitcher? 
TERRY FRANCONA: Let me back you up just a sec just so I don't misspeak. He won't be on short rest.
Q. I know that, but he was talking about wishing he had the chance to pitch.

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't doubt that. He prides himself, I think it what you're getting at, on being able to throw every day. And whether it's volume, intensity, it doesn't really matter. I think he's trained his arm since he was probably before college that he can throw a lot. I know he gets perturbed at me at times when we take him out at a certain pitch count. It's not when I think he's tired, but I think when you start getting up around over a hundred, that means you've shown good hitters a lot of pitches. So normally it's time to go get a fresh arm in the bullpen.
But he does, he can throw all the time. It's amazing.

Q. Clay pitching tonight, obviously you saw him come up as a young pitcher and develop into the guy he's become. He's always had great stuff. He's always had a big arsenal of pitches there. Tell us about the ability of a guy like that to harness those pitches in a game. Seems like there's too many options for him.  
TERRY FRANCONA: I think he came from Double-A and made his first start, I believe, and it was a gem. We're not hoping for that tonight. It's funny when you know a kid since they were a pup, you feel probably a little bit more of a paternal feeling, whether that's true or not.

He's battled some injuries. Reminds me a little bit of Carrasco this year in that he went to the bullpen, he's pitched out of the stretch. They tried to give him short increments to of build his confidence and now he's back in rotation, but pitching out of the stretch. And like you said, it's never been a stuff thing. I know he's battled some injuries a few times. But stuff comes out of his hands so well. And like you said, when he's commanding or harnessing, whichever word you want to use, and he gets that changeup going, he can be a lot to deal with.

Q. You've been here, you've seen it up close when David has done the incredible. If a big moment arises are you inclined to not let him do the damage?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, I don't know that you can manage a game before it starts. I mean, like you said, I'm aware of what he can do. I'm also aware of what Hanley, Betts, Bogaerts can do, also. I think what they've done so well is they've -- David's had a phenomenal year, I don't care how old he is. But they've surrounded him with such potent bats that if you just determine that you're going to walk somebody, they're going to score. If there's a time during the game when I feel like a walk can maybe set up a double play, yeah, we might do it. But I think you fall back on at times you've got to get good hitters out. Like I said, if you just continually walking people they're going to score.

Q. The prospect of Bauer being able to pitch on regular rest instead of short rest, does that have any impact at all on giving you any extra leeway to use your bullpen in a different way tonight than maybe you would have otherwise?
TERRY FRANCONA: No, no, no. Again, if we have a lead we'll certainly try to win the game any way we can.

That's why we had Trevor going first because we didn't think it would impact. I think too much is made of playing three games in a row or what are you going to do tomorrow. That's why we talk so much about staying in the moment and trying to win tonight, because it will be hard enough to do that. And we'll do our best and then we'll see what happens. And if we have a chance to win we'll do it the very best we can.

And then if by chance we don't win, we'll start to think about tomorrow.

Q. When you think of your championship teams that you've managed, during the year before you won the titles, did you have a feeling that those were special clubs in terms of how they were made up compared to teams that didn't win that you've had?
TERRY FRANCONA: That's a hard -- I get asked that all the time. And it's a hard one to answer because in my opinion you don't have to get the last out of the year to be special.

I think this team right here that we have is special. Are we going to be good enough? I don't know. It's going to be fun to find out. I don't think you just wait for the last out and then claim that that team is special. You go through so much with the group during the year and to miss out on that I think is a big error.

Back in '04 we were kind of fighting around .500 for the first three months. Shoot, every time I went to the mound I thought my name was "you suck." And then we got hot, all the trades and everything -- sorry, Phyllis -- it just, you know, different things happen. I thought in, what was it, '08, I thought it was our best team. We didn't win. In fact, it had the intercoastal whatever.

So, again, it doesn't take away, though, from what kind of guys you have. Every team is different. And I think you enjoy them in different ways.

Q. Elimination games are never easy. Trying to eliminate this team, though, in this building, is it even harder?  
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, if we make it. I mean, everybody's aware that there's a lot going on here and it's an exciting place to play and things like that. And it's a really good team, to boot. But I think that's why we talk about the things we talk about. It's baseball. It will be exciting. You're on the road. We know that. But everything else is the same. It's just try to eliminate those types of things because what's really important is how we play the game, regardless of whether we're at home or on the road or it's raining or cold. Just play the game and try to be better than them.

Q. We've already seen a couple of pitchers' duels decided by late inning home runs this postseason. Given that home runs are up so much this year, if you have Tomlin, who gives up a lot of home runs, in a great pitchers' duel with Buchholz, is it going to be any different of deciding how long to go with him knowing one swing of the bat could decide it?
TERRY FRANCONA: If you would tell me that the guy we bring isn't going to give up a home run I'd say yeah.

I can't concern myself with how Toronto is swinging right now or Texas or the Dodgers. We try to be pretty prepared for our game, and that is certainly something to think about; one swing of the bat. But, again, if a guy is pitching really well and you take him out too soon, that doesn't help, either. That's why the judgment comes in and you try to use the best judgment you can. Like I said, common sense, you shoot for common sense. It's a hard thing to have sometimes during the middle of the game with all the emotions that are going on.

Q. I wanted to go back to what you said with Bauer about pitch counts and that it's not necessarily that he's tired but he's shown a team a lot of pitches. Are we as observers in the media and the fans too simplistic with the way we view pitch counts and maybe they are different for different pitchers? And how do you view that? And what is the formula, if there is one?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know if you're being too simplistic or not. I do agree with kind of the second part of what you're saying, it's different for everybody.

I think that pitch counts are good as a partial barometer or an indicator. If a guy gets up over a hundred, it's a round number, what I care more about is a guy standing in his delivery. Is he starting to come out of his delivery? Is he starting to elevate pitches? Can he execute a pitch from arm side all the way over to the other side of the plate after 100, 110 pitches, because if he can't, and he needs to get the ball over there and he can't, then you're asking for a mistake, which you don't want to have.

So you just try to know your guys really well. Different guys seem to get to different numbers, and then you start to see little things start to maybe fray a little bit. But also, I think, more than pitch counts, how many times a pitcher gets pushed in an inning is really big. If a guy goes a couple times where he's got to throw 30 pitches in an inning and it's like Game 7 of the World Series, that takes a lot out of guys, so we try to keep track of that, too.

Q. You've been on both sides of the playoff scenario. You've been down 0-3, you're up 2-0. How do you manage from one side to the other, how does that differ?
TERRY FRANCONA: You're happier when you're up 2-0.

It really doesn't. Again, that's why, all the things we've said since Spring Training, I really believe them, most of them. I think there's a couple that I probably said that I don't.

If you pay attention to tonight's game, like we're going to, we'll do the best we can. There's really no other way to do it, anyway. I mean, whether it's 0-2 or 2-0, regardless of what I say, we need to win. And if you do that enough then the other things take care of themselves.

I just think we have a certain amount of energy and some of us have less than others, so we try to spend it on what we can control. And if you do that good enough, then the questions get easier, except when you ask them.