Red Sox manager Terry Francona made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday afternoon and talked about the team's philosophy heading into the final days of the regular season with a playoff berth highly unlikely.
"It changes, but the philosophy of our games certainly don't change," Francona said. "Regardless of who plays, you try to play the game right and you try to win. Obviously, we're incorporating some younger kids in the lineup, and we're trying to get them to understand what a huge honor it is to play in these games. If you're a Lars Anderson and you're playing a couple of games instead of a Mikey Lowell, he needs to understand that, 'Look, man, this guy has had a long career and you're taking some of his at-bats, so get after it.' And I think they're doing that."
Francona praised the work of Ryan Kalish, suggesting that he viewed the 22-year-old as "a true center fielder" who is "a better outfielder than I ever thought he would be." He could not say whether Kalish would be an everyday player for the Sox in 2011, but suggested that his time in such a capacity might not be far off.
"He’s done a great job. And he probably got here a little quick because of all our injuries," Francona said. "I think the at-bats he’s getting are huge in his development. I don’t know if he’s ready to be an everyday center fielder on our team next year — maybe he is. But even if he’s not, this six weeks is going to be huge for him. And at some point in his career in the not-too-distant future, he’s going to impact our team. This is a keeper."
At the beginning of the season, when David Ortiz struggled through a miserable April, there were calls for the Sox to sit the slugger. Francona was asked if he now felt vindicated for sticking with the veteran, who hit his 30th home run of the season Tuesday night.
"I think we've stood by people when we think that that's the best thing to do," Francona said. "And I believe in loyalty, believe me. But there's a difference between being loyal and not being very smart. When we felt like [Jonathan Papelbon] should replace [Keith] Foulke, we did it. But when I feel like somebody's struggling, and to make a knee-jerk reaction, that's not, to me, a good manager. That's just making a reaction. You've got to let these guys play a little bit. David's a great example of that. He's maybe the only one who believed in himself. And I'll be darned, you look up later, he's got 30 home runs, he's going to drive in 100 runs. Good for him."
Francona gushed about the contributions of Jason Varitek, who made his first start Tuesday night since returning from his broken foot. "He's been the captain," Francona said. "He's never once not been there for somebody. He supports everybody. He's vocal — he's probably more vocal than he used to be. He's done a terrific job being the captain. He's worked hard to get himself back to being available. … He's taken all his positives and all his attributes and he's taken them into his therapy and his rehab. And the way he helps the players, it's fun to watch."
Asked if Varitek can contribute next season, Francona said: "Certainly. Certainly. He was having a very good year as far as a backup catcher. And then he got hurt. He got a broken bone. That happens. This wasn't something out of old age or something. He just got a broken bone. I think he wants to play."
The Red Sox' 2011 schedule was released Tuesday, and Boston will open the season in Texas before welcoming the Yankees for the home opener. "I love opening on the road," Francona said. "I think there's so much going on, the first couple of games, all the pageantry and all that stuff. I love doing that on the road. Then you get all that stuff out of the way. Then you can come home and play. I've got no problem with that. I don't care who we open with. I don't care who we play. You're going to have to play [the Yankees] a certain amount many times, I [couldn't] care less when we play them."
Greg and Chris talk more offseason happenings with the Pats and their plans. They talk about some of the free agents toward the bottom of the list with Stevan Ridley and Dan Connolly. Price thinks that Connolly could end up back with the Pats and Ridley elsewhere (Cowboys?), but Greg thinks they both could be back. They also chat about the departure of VInce Wilfork and what he meant to the organization, the re-signing of McCourty and more.
The very first airing of the offseason edition of NFL Sunday gets underway with Greg and Chris delving into the free agency period and how the Pats made out. Of course they lost Revis to the Jets, but what else went on? Greg isn't over the loss of Revis yet and the guys discuss what went into that whole ordeal. Price is looking forward to the additions of Chandler and Cadet. They also get a call from Mike Petraglia and get his thoughts on the Pats offseason moves.
We talk to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News about his column today which basically accuses the Patriots of sour grapes for asking the league to enforce their own rules against tampering.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase kick off this weeks show by talking to Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly about his biceps recovery, getting ready for the season and his NCAA brackets. They then talk about the Red Sox depth at closer with Koji Uehara questionable for the start of the season.
Jack Edwards of NESN joins Dale, Michael and Jerry. With 9 games left the Bruins don't have much if any margin of error, and Jack knows it.
DJ, Joe and Pete talk more playoff scenarios in hour 2 and if the Bruins can get in, they'll be a very dangerous team... to the point where DJ thinks teams would much rather face the Senators and are doing their best to oust the Bruins from the equation. It's become apparent now more than ever that Chiarelli probably needed to pull the trigger on a deal for a defenseman at the trade deadline. Also. Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun joins the boys to discuss the Hamburglar and the Senators and Bruins being neck-and-neck for a playoff spot.
With the Senators hot on the tail of the Bruins for a spot in the playoffs, Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun calls into Sunday Skate. He talks about "the Hamburglar" craze sweeping through the league as goalie Andrew Hammond has really stepped up for Ottawa. They discuss playoff chances, the fans' reaction in Ottawa and more.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Darrelle Revis' comments on his contract offer from the Patriots.
The guys opened the show by discussing the rumored profanity laced tirade by Bill Belichick.
Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the show to talk about the struggling Bruins, the play of Zdeno Chara, and the future of Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York joined the show to talk about the ongoing tampering scandals between the Jets and the Patriots.
Christian does not impress the high school girls hockey team.
Dale and Michael discuss the collective egg laid by the Celtics against the Heat, and how the Bruins turnaround better begin tonight if they want it to begin at all.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound and more...
We discuss Shane Victorino's call-out of another local radio show, and debate the merits of Victorino's claims.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
Mike Mulloy joins Chris in the studio to talk Raw and Wrestlemania.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin and College Hockey News’ Adam Wodon preview this year’s NCAA regionals and take a look at the chances for each of the Boston-area teams in the field. They also discuss BU’s Jack Eichel, Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey and the Hobey Baker Award.
We discuss the annual joke that is the New York Jets, and their latest Jets-like move. Plus how on earth could you possibly choose to be a Jets fan.More from this show
Things are getting silly in the AFC East, as reports came out late last night the Jets have turned around and essentially accused the Patriots of counter-tampering.More from this show