Extra Bases

Francona reflects on state of Sox

Sox manager Terry Francona said he and Theo Epstein have not had THE TALK about making changes if things don’t turn around.

“We actually didn’t have that conversation per se. I didn’t wake up to see what he said to you guys or anything like that. I have talked to him a lot. Everybody has their own explanation of how you describe it, myself included. I think that sometimes when things aren’t going the way you want it to, guys try to do more than they’re capable of as opposed to spending their energy on doing what they are capable of and I certainly agree. It appears that at times we run ourselves out of some innings, we throw to the wrong bases, we make some physical errors. I agree with all that. The reasoning behind it I think varies sometimes.”


Epstein had used the word “undisciplined” to describe the team’s play to the Boston Herald on Sunday and vowed changes if things didn’t turn around.

“Undisciplined wasn’t the word I used. I think, again, Marco (Scutaro) tried to make something happen early in the game. His idea certainly was admirable. I mean he’s not doing it to…but it didn’t work. We had a guy hopefully get him on the ropes early making a lot of pitches and we gave them an out. Again, I know he’s trying to do the right thing, so that’s probably a good example.”


Francona was asked whether he’sd considered using Jason Varitek as a DH to take advantage of his hot bat.

“Uh, no. I hope when somebody asks me a question I’ve thought about everything because that’s part of my job. If you’re asking me if I want to do that tonight, no. I mean, Tek’s done a great job in what we’ve asked him to do. Again, when you do something like that there’s a trickle-down affect with the rest of the ballclub that we’re trying to sort out every day as it is.”


Francona has said he thinks players are trying to do too much. Has he had a conversation with them about that?

“We did that as a group a little bit today. And I’m part of this too. I don’t exclude myself. We’re all trying to reach sometimes. It’s human nature and I’ve caught myself doing it. We’re in this together. I hope that never changes. How we respond to tough times is very important and…so we’ll find out, but I hope we do it together. That’s the idea.
In baseball you’re so open to anything because when you lose there’s a million things you could do. But I’ve gone back probably every night and looked at, ‘OK, is this what I wanted to do?’ I mean, yesterday’s a good example. When the game’s over and you sit there and OK, we could have run for Tek. We set the inning up saying we’re not going to run for Tek because of reasons we felt strongly about. Then what happens we get a guy thrown out at the plate, but those are probably normal things that anybody that cares about the job thinks about. I think the idea is to be prepared, do what you think’s right and then move on. But if I said I didn’t think about things I’d be lying.”


Francona said struggling early has magnified problems..

“Y’know what, though? I don’t know that I’ve ever been here and felt like losing wasn’t the end of the world. Again, it’s difficult when it’s your job. That’s also part of what makes this place special. When you show up when every game means something, and it means something to us, too, and I don’t want that to do away. We have a lot of responsibility here. We have great fans. There’s a lot of attention from the media. Maybe losing is easier if there’s two media members here or no fans. That’s not what we’re shooting for. We’ve got a special place to play. We want to live up to that.”


The glimmer of hope seems to be the rotation.

“I think that’s gonna be one of our strong suits. Again, every day, again, you hear me say, just try to play the game right because you don’t know what’s enough or what’s not enough. I mean, the other night, regardless of the mistakes we made, we get top Bard and he gets the two lefties out and he tries to throw a two-seamer to Miggy and he hits it 400 feet and it changes the complexion of the game. You just play the game right and if we would have spread that game out a little but that mistake wouldn’t have mattered. But that’s what I meant about things being exaggerated or amplified because of that. That’s more what I meant.”


In other news:

Kevin Youkilis was back in the lineup today after a one-day respite while nursing a minor groin injury.

“He feels a lot better for him to be in the lineup,” Sox manager Terry Francona said. “When he got to the ballpark yesterday he thought he was gonna play but when he swung, concern came in a hurry. As much as you want his bat in the lineup I think him not playing yesterday really helped. He should be fine.”

Francona also thought Jeremy Hermida “will be available today. He’s going out there now. With a lefty pitching he’s not starting. The hope is to have him available. The hope is also to not wait three days and then hurt a guy. We’ll check on him when we go out.”


On Mike Cameron: “I think Cam is the one who is feeling pretty good. That doesn’t mean he’s on the verge of playing. There’s going to be some time where it takes him time to get stronger and get his range of motion especially when he’s lifting his knees to run. He was out there shagging in Baltimore, not full speed, but he’s getting after it pretty good.” Asked whether he go on rehab by the end of the week as Cameron hopes, Francona said, “I don’t know, we’ll see. That’s what he’s thinking. He’s been intelligent but he’s been pushing hard. That’s a good combination.”


On whether Jacoby Ellsbury is closer: “I hope so (closer to taking batting practice). You can do a lot of repetition in the cage. Once guys actually get on to the field it’s another milestone because you certainly up the intensity when you get out there.” Francona was asked about missing Ellsbury’s obvious skills: “Sure, he gives our team a different look. He’s that guy who can change the game. Having said that we’re lucky to have Marco (Scutaro). He’s guy who can hit first and we don’t have to wake up in the morning and say ‘Who’s hitting leadoff?’ Anytime you lose good players it’s certainly not going to help. You deal with what you deal with and hopefully you win. This road trip was a good example of that. In Toronto we were just good enough to win and in Baltimore we were just good enough to lose.”


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