Jeff Francoeur no stranger to Andy Pettitte
"He was my first postseason at-bat ever in '05," Francoeur said. "We faced him in Game 1 vs. the Astros. I think I was 1-for-2 with a walk that game."
The right-handed Francoeur will be back in the Texas Rangers' lineup Monday night for Game 3 of the ALCS, playing right field and likely batting seventh. And he's done more than just all right in his career against the Yankees' veteran lefty, whose 19 postseason victories are more than any other pitcher.
Francoeur is 5-for-8 in his career against Pettitte, having faced him in interleague play when he was with the Atlanta Braves, and as recently as last season.
"The key for us is trying not to get too big. I think that's part of the reason they wanted him to pitch here, hoping maybe we'd try to hit some home runs and get too big on him," Francoeur said. "He's a guy you can't do that with because the moment you do that he's got you right where he wants you. He's going to work in and out, throw the curve ball, throw the hard cutter and try to back you off. So, I think if we can have a nice plan of trying to hit singles, doubles in the gap, try to do that, I think we'll be all right."
Francoeur has a double and a home run off Pettitte and perhaps facing him will help Francoeur find a way to get a few balls to drop. He's hit the ball hard but he's just 1-for-11 in the postseason with an RBI double in his first at-bat off the Tropicana Field center-field wall in Game 1 of the ALDS. That was back on Oct. 6. He's 0-for-3 in the ALCS, although he nearly drove a ball out of the park in a pinch-hitting role in Game 2.
"I think I've done a good job of keeping myself ready when I don't play to come up. Like yesterday, came in, had a great at-bat, just missed a home run by about two feet," Francoeur said. "But, being able to do that, I think, gives a lot of confidence and I take pride in being ready to go whenever Wash is going to call on me or need me."
Wash will be calling for some quality at-bats in Game 3.
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