Boston held a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card race on Sept. 4 and seemed set to glide into the playoffs. Then a 4-14 skid left the Red Sox 2 1/2 games in front of the Rays.
“I guess I better address that a little bit, so I don’t have to address it more,” Francona said before Friday’s game against the New York Yankees was postponed by rain. “I don’t feel any different than I ever have. The organization not only has the right, but it’s their obligation to get the right person, the person they think is the best. If at some point they think it needs to be somebody else _ other than that, I think it’s disrespectful for me to spend one waking moment thinking about my situation. We need to win games, so that’s how I intend to do it.”
“It doesn’t really matter to me,” Francona said of the job speculation. “I feel like I feel, and I won’t change how I feel regardless of whether it’s a story or not. I have a job to do that I care a lot about. And like I said, if I spent any energy on me, that would be a disservice to the organization, and I don’t plan on doing that.”
“We’re going to take the same stance that we do with players who have options. This is an offseason issue,” Epstein said, according to the Boston Globe. “We’re struggling to turn this around, and we’re going to turn this thing around. That’s the focus, on the field. That’s how Tito would want it. That’s how I want it.”
Epstein denied an assertion by the MLB Network’s Peter Gammons on “The Dan Patrick Show” that there was “an increasing disconnect” between the manager and the GM.
“We’re all on the same page,” Epstein said.
With the postponement, Jon Lester (15-8) was pushed back to Saturday’s 4:10 p.m. game, when the Yankees will start Freddy Garcia (11-8).
Tim Wakefield (7-7) and John Lackey (12-12) will start Sunday, with A.J. Burnett (10-11) and Ivan Nova (16-4) going for the Yankees. Both managers were unsure who would start in the 1:05 p.m. game and who would be held back for the 6:30 p.m. makeup.
Lackey is 0-3 with a 9.12 ERA in his past five starts. Francona considered using Alfredo Aceves but decided to keep him in the bullpen.
“The balance for me is can we probably use Aceves maybe five out of the next six days, as opposed to one day where he’s not totally stretched out, and if he pitches good, the guy we’re going to want to get to is Aceves,” Francona said.