The inevitable brushfires that threaten to bring down any professional sports franchise barely touched the Red Sox this season.

The inevitable brushfires that threaten to bring down any professional sports franchise barely touched the Red Sox this season.

"This has been easy to deal with," said manager Terry Francona on the eve of Game 4 of the World Series. "They (his players) are very responsible. The majority of things that happen are with guys that aren't playing or pitching to the amount they think they should be, but our bench guys have been off the charts. I appreciate it. (Alex) Cora has been here. (Eric) Hinske stepped right in.

"Guys who don't play, you hope they don't bring people down. Our guys bring them up. It's refreshing because that's not always the case."

There's no doubt that winning helps bring about a comfortable atmosphere, but it doesn't always happen without strong personalities such as the Sox have had.

"If they go out to dinner with each other, I don't care. On the field, you have to have immense loyalty to each other. What matters is how they played on the field. When you win, everything is fine."

Foggy memories

Francona was asked to describe the feeling he had when the team won its World Series title three years ago in St. Louis. He couldn't.

"I don't know if I remember," he said. "I actually don't even remember getting on the field. You wait your whole life for that minute, and you don't know where it went."

Cancer conquered

Francona had no problems with Game 4 starter Jon Lester coming through and showing the world he had conquered his cancer.

"I understand, I think, because when it happened I tried to deal with it. I think Jon got a handle on it. It's a great story. I think he understands his role as a pitcher. I think he has all along. We already thought the world of him, but our respect for him has only grown."


Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis, asked if the Sox seemed to have a good hitting plan: "Yeah, I think they have a plan as a team. I don't know if they all have the same approach, but I think as a team when you've got so many good hitters with so many different types of approaches, and aggressive, patience, they put all that together, along with being as hot as they are, it's a dangerous combination.

“Y'know, it shows on the field the last three games what they've done to us as starters, especially. They really haven't let us get into any kind of rhythm or get ahead in a lot of counts. Even when we are ahead, it just feels like they're just as aggressive and just waiting for you to make a mistake, and they haven't missed them when we have."

On the layoff

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, on the eight-day pre-Series layoff his team was forced to endure: "I don't know how you recreate a World Series environment. I don't know how you recreate a playoff environment in practice. There might be some things we talk about.

“We didn't talk a lot about time off, historically what happened with time off or what went right or what went wrong. We just stayed focused on the job at hand. We were in uncharted territory. We handled it, I think, professionally. I'm not sure right now -- I'll give it some thought in the offseason, how many things we could have done differently to create a more different environment, a more challenging environment."


Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, 7-for-10 with four doubles in the 10-5 Game 3 win, became the first rookies ever to bat 1-2 in the World Series. … Ellsbury became the eighth player to have three doubles in a WS game. … J.D. Drew came into Game 4 with a nine-game postseason hitting streak, batting .412. ... Jonathan Papelbon's 1 1/3-inning Game 4 performance boosted him to nine straight shutout innings in the post-season, 13 overall. … Francona came into Game 4 with a record seven-game winning World Series streak. … Daisuke Matsuzaka's third-inning two-RBI single was the first postseason hit by a Sox pitcher since Bill Lee in 1975 and the first RBI by a pitcher since Jose Santiago homered in Game 1 of the 1967 Series. … Oct. 28 was the latest the Sox have ever played.