Q. For either of you, multiple times this postseason I've seen a ball come off the bat and thought base hit, only to have one of your fielders positioned to turn it into an out. Who gets the credit for that?TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I mean the fielder, the guy that
Q. For either of you, multiple times this postseason I've seen a ball come off the bat and thought base hit, only to have one of your fielders positioned to turn it into an out. Who gets the credit for that?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I mean the fielder, the guy that catches it. But I think Mike Sarbaugh spends a lot of time positioning the infielders, and Brad Mills positioning the outfielders. So we do spend a lot of time on it. But I think we're blessed to have pretty good players that are athletic and move well and do make plays.
Q. Mickey, we've had a chance to talk to Terry a lot about Andrew Miller's performance this postseason. What have you seen from him over the last couple of weeks and all the time you've had him, did you think he was capable of a run like this?
MICKEY CALLAWAY: I think the first thing that really struck a chord with me, is when we walked into the clubhouse when we first got him and he's watching videos of the opposing hitters and scouting report. Man, you've got two pretty good pitches that you could just stick with. But he's totally prepared and that's what allows him to do above and beyond what most people can do. Those two pitches that he has and his ability to know exactly where he can go, that's a good area, versus the hitter, makes him really, really special.
Q. Terry, '04 was such an epic year in baseball history; the bleeding pitcher last night, people talk about Curt Schilling, the '04 Red Sox. How comfortable are you with so many conversations coming back to the '04 Red Sox just because of its impact on baseball?
TERRY FRANCONA: I'm proud of that, obviously. That was a wonderful four days. I don't think the first three were that great. But it ended -- it was fun to live through that and to actually live. I mean, so I guess if people ask, I don't mind it, because like I said, I was proud of those guys.
But this is a different time, a different team, very different circumstances. And through it all you just fall back on we've got a game to play today at 4 o'clock. We're going to try to go win, if we don't, we'll come back tomorrow. And I don't think that ever changes. I think our best way of playing good baseball is to always go about that that way.
Q. When the Royals got to the World Series a couple of years ago they had pointed to that Wild Card victory they had against Oakland as sort of the moment when everything came together. If you guys had to pick a moment or two when the team maybe really started to believe in itself a little bit more and got ratcheted up, what would be sort of your best estimation of that?
MICKEY CALLAWAY: I would have to say the 19-inning game against these guys. We had guys doing special things, special circumstances. Trevor came out of the pen and threw five great innings, and you could just feel it. Obviously it was during the streak. And it was the game of the year for us. And I think everybody did everything they could to win that game.
They believe in themselves and they believe in each other. And it's such a special circumstance during that game to be able to be a part of that. And you can see it every day. We come to the park and like Tito said, we're just there to play that day. And those guys aren't feeling any pressure. They're just having fun and playing baseball.
TERRY FRANCONA: I thought Mickey made a really good point, I thought during that streak it certainly propelled us into -- from then we were in first place from then on the rest of the year. And it's amazing as you see not just individuals, but the team itself, gain confidence because even with professional players and you know their skills, as they get confident they start to do more. And it's not a reach anymore, it's their ability. But it's really fun to watch.
You see it a lot in the Minor Leagues and maybe not so graphically in the Major Leagues. But because we are fairly young you can see guys kind of get better right in front of our eyes, which is really cool to see.
Q. Tito, everyone has given you so much credit for how you've used the bullpen and the way you've mixed and matched. What role does Mickey play in the endgame strategy of when to go to who?
TERRY FRANCONA: When things don't go the way they're supposed to, that's Mickey's area (laughter).
No, we're on the same page. I can't tell you, I'll look -- he'll walk over, because we're going to make a pitching change, and I'll start to say -- he knows who it is. We've been doing this together now for four years. We're always on the same page on what we're going to do. He'll probably spit it out before I even get it there. And if I have a question, I'll go ask him, like how he feels about a certain matchup, just because I think he certainly has a better feel for that than I do.
But it's easy. We talk all the time. And the majority of the time we're always on the same page.
Q. For both of you, when you acquired Andrew Miller, what was your initial reaction and when did you start really devising how you could use him?
TERRY FRANCONA: When they were in the -- upstairs in their meetings about the trade talks and they were talking about Andrew, they were actually talking -- and I was in there listening and doing some talking, just about how he would fit into a bullpen and how you could leverage him, just like we are now. So the thought was alive before we got him. We envisioned using him like we are.
MICKEY CALLAWAY: Yeah, our front office guys are so prepared, and they don't do anything on a whim. So we talked about that many times before we acquired Andrew. And that whole process was -- we wanted a guy that was going to be impactful in the most leveraged situations and that was the guy that we wanted and we ended up getting him. We gave up a lot to get him and it seems to be worth it.
Q. The question about bullpen, who to use when. Specifically with the guys who came in on the front end, like Manship, McAllister, how much was matchup oriented, we're going to want this guy to face these guys, this guy to face these guys?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think there was a couple of things. We wanted Manship to face the right-hand hitters. We wanted McAllister for the majority of the part to face the left-hand hitters. And from there every time you send a guy out you're trying to figure out if he runs into trouble where you can finish the inning and where you can bail out of an inning. And guys in our bullpen complement each other with different skill sets. And they pick each other up when needed, too. So as long as there's an end in sight, you feel like you can get through it.
Q. Tito, Napoli started his career on good teams in Anaheim, went to a World Series in Texas, won one in Boston, and now he's here with you. So after a while it stops being a coincidence that he's on good teams. What impact has he had really since he got here in Spring Training on your club and what allows him to sort of blend in it seems wherever he is and sort of become a focal point?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think he blends in. I think the way he goes about it, I mean, from day one, first day of Spring Training, ground balls, he had his spikes on. And certain players have the ability to take guys with them. Sometimes the other direction. Nap had that ability right from day one. I think there was a large segment of our team that just wanted to follow Nap. I think there were probably a couple of guys that were scared of him. But they play the game right. And you see the way he plays it. It's more by example. I think that's what he's used to.
But I also think because he is kind of our elder statesman, because we're pretty young, that the younger guys gravitate towards him also and it was something new for him, but I think he kind of enjoys it. And he has made -- I can't tell you enough the impact he has had on our ballclub. I mean, we talk about base running all the time. He's our best baserunner, not our fastest baserunner, he's our best baserunner. He was so proud last night when he moved up on that ball in the dirt. And you're talking about a guy that banged one off the wall and hit a home run. But he cared about moving up on that ball in the dirt.
Q. When you look at your guys' roster, a lot of the pitchers seem to be lower-round draft picks or guys who maybe didn't succeed in other places. What do you think it is about your pitching culture that maybe allows guys to thrive and find themselves, both you guys?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know what, I'm going to answer this, because I don't think Mick will say it. I think Mickey's confident enough in his ability as a pitching coach that sometimes he let's guys figure it out for themselves a little bit. I think he gives them direction when they need it. But he trusts them all the time and I think that breeds confidence. And he's also confident enough where he can listen to opinions of everybody in the room, take what he wants, sift through it and that's kind of a rare -- a lot of territorialism in our business, if that's the right word. And it never gets in our way. And it's fun to watch.
Q. You had mentioned watching the growth of the young players. And in that sense, what have you seen out of Jose Ramirez, he didn't get to play every day in past seasons and he did this season. What do you see personality-wise? And what do you think of his hair?
TERRY FRANCONA: I'm probably the last person that should comment on hair. But since you asked, I think it's atrocious (laughter). Next to Phyllis's, it's like... (Laughter.)
As far as baseball goes, I mean, he has saved our ass, there's no way around it. When Brantley wasn't playing early, you kind of look at our team, you're like, man, how are we going to score runs consistently? Jose stepped into Michael's at-bats. He's hit every one in the batting order. He's driven in runs. He's hit with runners in scoring position. He's used the whole field, he hasn't struck out. He's hit for occasional power. And that's all playing leftfield, third base, he's played short, he's played second. This kid has turned himself now -- we know we have an everyday player that can hit the middle of the order at multiple positions.
Q. Mickey, it's no secret, Bauer, you've had ups and downs with him over the years, whether it's dealing with the media or finding the middle ground with you. How do you think he's handled the situation, whether it was the press conference the other day up here or coming out last night and being accountable, just trying to take the ball in that game, what do you think about he's handled all this?
MICKEY CALLAWAY: He's really great. I'm really proud of him. I had to witness everything he had to go through to try and go out there and pitch last night. And not too many people would have done that. He's been wonderful. He's obviously grown over the years because he wanted to. And he's smart enough that he knew that that's what needed to happen. And he's done such a good job of being accountable for everything that happens. He adjusts. That's what Trevor does. He's fun to work with.
It's not always easy. It's a challenge sometimes but that's why we do this job is for things like that. And to see him grow really makes me happy. I was kind of sad last night when he didn't get to keep on pitching because I know how bad he wanted to be out there. And that attempt was unbelievable.
Q. Tito, what made you go Shaw, Allen, Miller last night as opposed to most of the postseason you've been going just in reverse?
TERRY FRANCONA: A couple of things. One, Cody and Shaw have been with us four years and they've obviously pitched a lot. And they're used to pitching and bouncing back.
With Andrew it's been one or two days and then a day off in between. One, I wanted Cody to go through the heart of their order, which he was going to have to, because Andrew did it the other day. I thought giving them a different look would be good. And then if we had the lead late, go to Andrew, okay, we're going to go ahead win or lose. I didn't want to use him early and not win the game. Because we have leaned on him a lot. And if we want to continue we're going to need him more. So I wanted to -- we wanted to kind of keep the workload to a manageable, where it's fair to him.