ANAHEIM, Calif — Manager Terry Francona arrived at the park at about 11:30 a.m. local time, the usual time he gets to the park. By 3:15 p.m., he had a cribbage board on his desk. He had beaten George Kottaras.
“Pedey quit,” Francona said of Dustin Pedroia, “because he stinks.”
With that out of the way, Francona addressed the topics surrounding tonight’s game.
— The Red Sox waited as long as possible before they declared Rocco Baldelli inactive for the series. Baldelli just does not heal as quickly as the average player because of his unique health condition, and he was not ready to play. He cannot run, and the most he had done was take dry swings.
“It wasn’t going to reach,” Francona said. “I think we wanted to take every chance we could. There wasn’t a lot of improvement, and it just wasn’t reaching.”
Francona, cautious of looking ahead, did not feel comfortable speculating about Baldelli’s chances of playing in the next round. For now, Brian Anderson will be the Red Sox’ righthanded option off the bench.
Anderson, who is from Southern California, went 5 for 17 with two home runs in his limited time with the Sox. They acquired him at the end of July, trading Mark Kotsay to the Chicago White Sox.
“Good outfielder,” Francona said. “Likes to talk. Good base runner. He’s not going to be the righthanded bat that Rocco is, but he has the ability to be a very good defensive outfielder and possibly pinch run, things like that.”
Baldelli would have given the Red Sox an option against the Angels’ two lefty starters in Game 3 and Game 4, Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders. Now, David Ortiz and J.D. Drew will each face the lefty starters.
“If Rocco was here, he might have played,” Francona said. “But David and J.D. are good players. I have no problem playing them at all. They might have played, anyway.”
— Daisuke Matsuzaka will be in the bullpen tonight. He is going to long-toss in the outfield next to Jon Lester before the game, because it is a pivotal piece of his pregame routine, and there is not enough room in the bullpen. That should make for a funny image — Lester and Matsuzaka chucking balls across the outfield together.
“If you see him play long toss, there’s no red flags with Lester,” Francona said.
-The Red Sox are 7-2 in Game 1s under Francona. Aside from the obvious importance of winning the game, Francona does believe getting off to a good start in a series carries special significance.
“There’s going to be a huge swing in the questions I get asked tonight,” Francona said. “We just need to keep the perspective. It is important, but it doesn’t mean it’s over either way. Somebody is going to go home tonight in a little better mood, feeling better about themselves. But that’s really what it is.”
-The Sox are pleased with how Hideki Okajima’s oblique has progressed. A week before the season, Okajima had acupuncture therapy on his side. He threw an aggressive side session yesterday and feels strong.