Q. Terry, I think it's fair to say you know what it's like to be the object of anger of a passionate fan base, from your experiences. Just wondering, in your experiences, have you found the best way to navigate that in terms of your words to us, your words
Q. Terry, I think it's fair to say you know what it's like to be the object of anger of a passionate fan base, from your experiences. Just wondering, in your experiences, have you found the best way to navigate that in terms of your words to us, your words to your players?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I think the way -- when you say navigate it -- I think I might have answered this. I don't know if it was yesterday or the day before. You do your homework, and you're prepared, and you make your decisions. And then, you know, after the game, you have to answer for it, which you're supposed to. If you don't have an answer, shame on you.
And then you're confident enough in what you're doing and you move on. You can't rush to wake up to see how you're being perceived, because it's just not helpful.
That's kind of how I've always felt. I think with experience, it helps, but I've always felt like that, even when I was back in Philadelphia, because I got killed every day there.
So it's just not productive.
Q. Tito, can you give us an update on Encarnacion and what his future looks like for the postseason?
TERRY FRANCONA: He is, I would say, I don't know if remarkably better is a good word, but pretty close. He's doing much better today. I don't think he's going to start tomorrow, but he's not been ruled out either. So we'll take our time and allow to him continue to get treatment. But if he's that close to being available, that's a really good sign. So we're obviously not going to do anything roster-wise.
Q. Terry, last year was your third pennant winner, obviously. What is the biggest challenge in the year after? When you've managed a team that's gone all the way to the World Series, what's the biggest challenge the next season?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I think to understand that the challenges are really basically the same. It's a new year. Sometimes getting people to understand that might be a challenge. It's hard enough to win. It's hard to win sometimes. If you're putting on baggage from the year before, just makes it harder so you try not to do that.
I think we're really good about staying in the moment. I didn't -- we took the bus out here today and I didn't hear anything about yesterday, just like if we -- whether we win or lose, our guys are good about moving on, staying in the moment. I think that's what good teams do.
And it goes back to even last year. You learn from everything, whether it was good or bad, and move on.
Q. Terry, how does the replay system, the challenge system work for you guys? Is it just the replay coordinator gives you a yes or a no on the play?
TERRY FRANCONA: Not necessarily. I actually don't know how everybody else does it. I'm assuming it's very similar. We have Mike Barnett, who I think you guys probably all know. He was here for years.
He's not very good (laughter.) We've overcome a lot of his deficiencies.
No, he's actually like -- we're pretty fortunate. He's a former major league hitting instructor. He's done video here in the past. He came up learning under Lou Piniella. So it's a really unique background.
And then he has Scott Atchison who does our advanced stuff sitting next to him to offer insight, which I'm sure he'll appreciate. But he'll call Millsy, or Millsy will check with him, and he'll give his opinion. And then Millsy is really good about deciphering that in a way where I can make a decision.
Now, it is new this year, where the 30-second thing. And I think it's a good rule, because if we can't decipher in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it, because the rule was put in place to -- I think the word they use was egregious errors. Not ticky-tack, you know, the guy that slides into second and he pops up.
So if you can't tell within 30 seconds, I've always kind of felt like maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway.
Q. That seems a lot, Terry, from what you just described, seems like a lot to get done in 30 seconds.
TERRY FRANCONA: Very much so, yeah. Very much so.
Q. I guess the other part would be have there been a lot of times where you think you've gone past 30 seconds in making a decision?
TERRY FRANCONA: I've tried to hold umpires up. Like they start coming over at 30. The last thing they want to do is start a confrontation. They've been real clear with us about that. They have guidelines they have to work under. But when you see them starting to come to you, you know they want an answer.
Q. How do you stall?
TERRY FRANCONA: I yell at Millsy to yell at Barney. That always helps.
Q. The Yankee starter Tanaka, he had an up-and-down season this year. What do you think about him?
TERRY FRANCONA: His last start was up. Very up. He's been a little inconsistent this year, mostly in the first half. Second half, he's been much better and his last start was really good.
Couple things. When he has power to his pitches, but also -- and I don't know if he refers to it as a split, change, whatever you want to call it. But at times it can be a huge weapon for him.
So we're going to have, one, you gauge how a guy is throwing. Is he pounding the zone with it? Is it in and out of the zone? And then either hit a mistake or lay off the ones that are down and out of the zone.
The strike-to-ball is the hardest pitch of all because he's got so much good deception with it, it's easy to say lay off, but it's another thing when it's actually happening.
Q. Tito, what did you think of Joe Smith's inning last night? How pivotal --
TERRY FRANCONA: Pivotal?
Q. Yeah, that's the word.
TERRY FRANCONA: You're quite a wordsmith.
Q. -- was he in the game?
TERRY FRANCONA: There were so many things that happened yesterday, things obviously got lost. There was 19 million things going on. We were going to send Smitty out to start that inning because we're trying to keep an eye on Andrew a little bit.
He says, I feel fine, I want to go back out.
So that gave us, what, 9 and 1 with Andrew. So we had Smitty for 2 and 3, and we had a base open, so we just told him, hey, you got one or two hitters. You don't need to give in, but you've got two hitters to get on out. We knew we had Cody for Gregorius.
And it was one of the funner things yesterday, watching him not only execute his pitches, but then come off the field and be so jazzed up, because last year he didn't participate and he said it killed him.
And when he came off the field, he was just like a little kid. And it was really cool moment. Like in the middle of a game like that, it was kind of cool to see how excited he was just to compete and to watch him embrace that, because that's what you want.
Q. Tito, the no challenge, whatever it was, it ended to benefit you in winning the game.
TERRY FRANCONA: Wait a minute. Slow down.
Q. With all that was happening last night, with ended with the benefit of you winning the game, what is the difference this year between this team and the last year's team, where this year maybe you can advance to get the ring that you're looking for in the World Series.
TERRY FRANCONA: I mean, we're not there yet. It's a hard question to answer, because people will say, do you think your team's special? Only one team is going to go home happy. We came really close last year. I mean, we have work to go in this series. And then if you're fortunate enough to move on, you've got a lot of work to go.
I mean, it's hard to win. That wouldn't take away from how I feel about our guys. Yesterday's game, win or lose, I mean, I was so -- I think I said this after the game. I was so honored to go through that game with our guys, because it was fun, through the ups and downs. We had some downs in that game, but you go through them together. And that's kind of how I feel about the whole season.
We don't have a crystal ball. We don't know how it's going to end, but we don't have to just get to the end and then go, oh, okay, I like these guys. I like going through the journey with them. It's fun.
Q. (No microphone) going forward between the players?
TERRY FRANCONA: The object is to be the same, whether you win or lose. That was one of the things I was thinking about during the game is, okay, what can we take from this so it doesn't bog us down going forward. Because you don't know that you're going to win that game until you win it. And I wanted to make sure that whatever happened, we were positioned that we were going to bounce right back and be ready to go. Because we did a lot of good things in that game, even if we didn't win. You always are trying to keep track of that so you can move forward and come into the ballpark the next day feeling the same. That's the object. You don't want guys -- I like when they're up, but you don't want them too down. You want them to come in every day feeling like okay, our day's today.
Q. Tito, before yesterday's game, you said Brantley was getting close to the possibility of maybe playing in the field and then the knee injury happens to Edwin. How much does today's workout and Brantley's reaction to today's workout tomorrow morning figure into where he fits in in the lineup, where he fits in the field, possibly, how you're going to use him.
TERRY FRANCONA: It's kind of an easy one. If Edwin doesn't play, he walks into the DH spot. That's easy. As far as the lineup goes, I don't know yet. I mean, one, we've got to check on Edwin. And then we'll put it together.
Millsy and I will sit down later and kind of look at things. But we need to talk to our guys first.
Q. Just to follow up, the injury to Edwin gives Brantley an opportunity to step in and sort of be counted on the way that his injury gave other players in the lineup a chance to step in and produce. How meaningful is it to him to be able to do that?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, my goodness. He missed last year's postseason. Every single day, whether everybody else is out doing interviews and the bright lights are on, he's back in the back working hard. Never missed a day.
For him to get an opportunity to be part of what we're doing is extra meaningful to him. And before Edwin went down, he was most likely going to play left field as long as he felt physically good enough. But just now, just kind of makes it easy. If you have a choice to make, and you have an open slot at DH, it just seems common sense to put him there.
Q. Tito, what role organizationally has patience played in Carrasco's development?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, boy. Well, a lot. We've talked about it numerous times. We can't be an organization that pulls a plug on guys too quick. And we don't have a crystal ball either. But with an arm like that, if you run out of patience too quickly, he's going to be doing this for another team. Another organization. We can't have that happen.
And it wasn't just patience. I mean, it was a lot of hard work. I know Kevin Cash isn't here anymore, but he did a lot with Carrasco, sitting out in that bull pen, as far as mentality and embracing what's coming. So I think there's a lot of people that deserves credit. Carlos is right at the top of that list. But it's a good story for us because he's been one of the better pitchers in the game.
Q. In reference to Edwin, he will be day by day, or he's going to be out for the series?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I thought I just answered that, but we don't know exactly what he's going to be. Going into tomorrow, at the moment, he's not been ruled unavailable. Now, he came in on crutches, so I don't think you're going to see him stealing any bases, but we'll let the medical people do their stuff today. We'll let them do their stuff tomorrow and then we'll kind of see where he's at. He might be able to pinch-hit. He might not be able to pinch-hit. He might be able to DH. We'll see. There's no way to know yet.