CLEVELAND — Terry Francona had a nightmare early Wednesday morning.
However, the Cleveland Indians manager wasn’t dreaming about his team missing its chance to wrap up the World Series in Game 6 with a 9-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night at Progressive Field. He also wasn’t having subliminal thoughts about facing a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night.
Instead, Francona dreamed that someone was trying to break his ribs.
“I woke up to go to the bathroom and my ribs really, really hurt,” Francona said.
It turned out the reason that Francona’s ribs hurt was because he fell asleep on the television remote control in his bed in his apartment a few blocks away from the ballpark.
Furthermore, Francona had a hard time seeing when he tried to get to the bathroom. His glasses were covered in peanut butter, which he also had in bed to use in dipping pretzels while watching TV.
“It was a bad night, man,” Francona said with a smile. “My room looked like a national disaster. I’m going to have to change a few habits when we’re done here.”
As far as on-field matters, Francona decided to tweak his lineup for Game 7 by benching rookie center fielder Tyler Naquin in favor of veteran Rajai Davis.
Naquin let a fly ball drop between him and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall in the first inning of Game 6 that resulted in a two-run double by Addison Russell that gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead. Naquin also struck out with the bases loaded to end the fourth inning with the Indians trailing 7-1.
Naquin has gone 4-for-23 (.176) with 14 strikeouts in the postseason after hitting .296 with 14 home runs in 116 regular-season games.
“He is pressing a little bit,” Francona said. “During the regular season you might kind of let him get through it but with one left and (ace Corey) Kluber pitching, we’re trying to put a premium on catching the ball. It’s not punishment. It’s trying to win.”
Davis led the American League with 43 stolen bases in the regular season while batting .249 with a career-high 12 home runs. The 11-year veteran is just 3-for-29 (.103) in the postseason.
Davis had minus-5 defensive runs saved in 80 games in center field during the regular season, while Naquin had minus-17 defensive runs saved in 105 games.
With Davis playing center field, veteran Coco Crisp will start in left behind Kluber, who is trying to become the first starting pitcher to win three games in a World Series since Mickey Lolich in 1968 with the Detroit Tigers.
Designated hitter Carlos Santana will lead off for the Indians and be followed by second baseman Jason Kipnis, shortstop Francisco Lindor, designated hitter Mike Napoli, third baseman Jose Ramirez, Davis, Crisp and catcher Roberto Perez.
“We don’t have a crystal ball, but we should catch the ball and play a clean game,” Francona said.
The post Francona hopes he doesn’t have another nightmare in Game 7 appeared first on Todays Knuckleball.