Terry Francona Isn’t Panicking Yet, But He Admits He’s a Little Concerned
We’re one week into the Major League Baseball season, which of course means it’s time for the fan bases of slow-starting teams to start freaking out. I’m looking at you Boston Red Sox fan. The Red Sox lost 8-4 at Cleveland on Wednesday night, falling to 0-5 to start the season. Might I just say, settle down everybody. Sure, it’s not the start everyone was looking for, particularly with a series against Cleveland, and Terry Francona’s constant tinkering with the lineup hasn’t exactly been reassuring, but it’s five games.
Francona himself says it’s not time to panic. The team hasn’t even played its home-opener yet. The Red Sox were many folks’ pick to win the American League East, and an 0-5 start isn’t going to keep them from contending for that. As Francona says in the following interview, it’s fine to be concerned, but panicking seems a bit silly. Terry Francona joined WEEI in Boston with The Big Show to discuss why he isn’t panicking, his early lineup tinkering, why Adrian Gonzalez is hitting in the five spot, the team trying to find its identity, why he’s not calling for a team meeting at this point and if the transition from warm weather to cold weather has been a factor.
Is he concerned over the 0-5 start?:
“I’d say that’s a good way to put it. I don’t think there’s anything to be smiling about right now. But, I think there’s a difference between being concerned and being panicked. … I don’t think panicking is the right way to do it. When things aren’t going the way you want them to go, you’ve gotta fix it.”
On the early lineup tinkering:
“When we stay with guys, I think there’s always going to be a reason. There’s been a time in the past when we haven’t stayed with guys. … The lineup, I think right now, we’re just trying to help guys get comfortable. It’s not bailing on anybody or pulling somebody out of the lineup.”
Is there a chance we see Adrian Gonzalez at the three spot?:
“I think he’s going to be comfortable wherever you put him in the order. He’s a bonafide really good scorer. … We want to have Youk and Gonzalez in position to drive in runs and I think that’s where they are right now. … There’s reasons you hit guys in certain positions. When we hit, you don’t hear much about it.”
On the team trying to find its identity:
“We’re four games into the season and we’re kind of searching a little bit of our identity. … From 20, 30 years ago, there’s a lot of things that have changed. Some guys think you have your best athlete hitting third. Thirty years ago, guys played for one run in the first inning.” (Editor’s note: this interview took place before last night’s loss)
Does he need to hold a team meeting to tell everyone to relax?:
“No, because I think if I do that right now, they won’t relax. I think the idea right now is to just be consistent. … If I start going around and either ranting or raving and having meetings and going out of character, all that’s going to do is send up the emergency flag. We just want to play good baseball.”
Are early-season games really a true test as the Sox adjust to playing in cooler temperatures?:
“I think what happens in the cold weather is at-bats don’t carry over. When you get into the grind of the season and the weather gets warm and you get a hot hitter, they have a good at-bat and it goes right into their next at-bat. … [In the cold weather] they come back and their bat’s cold and they have to put it in front of the heater and they’ve got the propane going trying to get it to melt a little bit. … That’s no excuse for losing, but you don’t see the at-bats carry over.”