Terry Francona chatted with media on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s American League Wild Card Game, and chatted about Wednesday starter Danny Salazar, the Postseason in general and more.
Q: Can you talk about your closer situation and how you’ll use those guys?
A: It probably depends on how we get there. When Masty came back, we gained a huge weapon in the bullpen. That’s the way we plan on using him, either if he comes in in the seventh and pitches as far as he can, or if he pitches the ninth. Some of it also depends on their lineup.
Q: What makes this team so dangerous?
A: They always pitch and run he bases extremely well. They have dangerous hitters. They probably match up better than most teams if not all teams in the league. They have guys with great splits and Joe does it really well.
Q: You’ve managed a ton of postseason games. What is it like for you to manage a pitcher like Danny Salazar, who’s so young, in this game.
A: Believe me, we wouldn’t pitch him if we weren’t confident in him giving us the best chance to win. Danny has done nothing to make us think he can’t handle this. For a young kid, he’s so poised. The first game he pitched against Toronto, he said, after the game, on the mound is where he’s most relaxed in the world. I was kidding around the other day: If I had stuff like him, I’d be poised, too. But there’s a difference between throwing 100 and being able to get Major League hitters out. Danny can do that.
Q: October is nerve wracking to begin with; how much does that rise right now?
A: It’s stating the obvious: Lose and go home. Once I’m organized and I know what I want to do, I will enjoy the game. Doesn’t mean you don’t get nervous. We all do. We had a good advance meeting today once the game starts I will enjoy it.
Q: Can you update us on Michael Bourn’s status?
A: He’s feeling good. He’s going to do some agility drills today and hopefully that leads to him starting tomorrow. If it doesn’t, we’ll make some adjustments.
Q: Can you tell us what you see from Alex Cobb?
A: We faced him in April and he carved us up. He has three pitches he can throw any time in the count. He’s arguably been their best pitcher, so we have our hands full.
Q: Re: the Rays’ scrappiness and willingness to scratch out runs.
A: We respect how they go about the game. When you play them, the ball needs to end up where it’s supposed to, or they can run you into a bigger inning. They’re good at that. When they get a one- or two-run lead, they get very aggressive and want you to make mistakes. But I think our guys really good at that as well. This is one game. You can either embrace it, or moan about it. I would rather embrace it.
Q: Is it unsettling not to have everything lined up in the bullpen?
A: No. I think having Masty as a weapon – we have the guy we sent to the All-Star Game – available to pitch whenever, and it’s a luxury. We could let him pitch, we could do a lot of things. I think it’s a good thing.
Q: What do you think you’re going to take out of your PS experiences in Boston. How will that help you?
A: I don’t know. This is a different team. We’ve grown together. I said before, I didn’t know how to feel our first time. I was surprisingly calm and enjoyed it. I plan to do the same thing here. I want our players to just go play and do the best they can. That’s what we’ve been doing all year. We’ll do it again tomorrow.