10/04/06 12:53 AM ET
Jim Leyland postgame transcript
Manager says team needs to focus on its strengths
By / MLB.com
JIM LEYLAND: Well, it was pretty good. I thought Nate actually did a good job. He had the one bad inning where he made the mistake, the fielding mistake and they took advantage of it and that particular inning he got a couple of pitches up there, were a couple of bad pitches.
But overall, he really didn't probably do as bad as it seemed and he made a bad pitch, two outs to Damon and they ended up getting a couple guys on, a ground ball from Abreu, happened to find the hole there, but overall, he wasn't too bad.
Q. In the second inning, with Pudge at the plate, was that a hit and run there?
JIM LEYLAND: Absolutely. And I think Wang was a little bit of a Jekyll and Hyde tonight. He was up a little bit more than normal as the game went on, we had the hit and run on, he threw the sinker, tried to foul it off, that was our plan going in and tried to move some runners and it was the perfect situation for it and he threw probably the nastiest sinker that he threw all night. We still had a man on second, scoring position after that with one out, couldn't get it in but I thought we swung the bat halfway decent against him. Like I said he was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde from what we've seen in the past. He was down at times with a really vicious sinker and other times he elevated the ball more tonight than certainly the last time we saw him.
Q. Were you thinking trying to save as much of your bullpen as you could, thinking about tomorrow?
JIM LEYLAND: No, no, not at all. Our bullpen was fine. But I thought Robertson had settled down and that one inning I thought he pitched real good and after that he had a couple innings that was easy. He botched a real simple fundamental play that got him into a little trouble, and he got two quick outs in the inning where they got the two add on runs. No, I thought he was still throwing pretty good.
Q. To what extent if any did you see any carry over tonight from the way the regular season ended?
JIM LEYLAND: Oh, not at all. I think the guys were -- the guys were ready to play. I felt good about the way we swung the bats. We kept battling back to get ourselves in the ballgame and we did get back in it. The couple of add on runs really hurt us, but I thought everybody handled their business pretty good and you know, we gave ourselves a shot. We just didn't come up with a couple more big hits, but overall, I thought we swung the bats halfway decent.
Q. The fact that you had a lot of young guys and this is their first time out, Yankee Stadium, primetime, how do you think they handled that and how do you think having done it once they will do coming back?
JIM LEYLAND: Anderson had a couple nice hits plus a home run, dunked one in, had a ground ball base hit through the hole. I thought he handled it. I thought actually Thames came back, he got a couple of hits. I thought we swung the bats pretty good.
Q. He's probably not your favourite player in the world right now but what appreciation do you have for Derek Jeter?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, he had a pretty good night, didn't he? (Laughter.) You guys seen him do that before. And the thing that, you know, you never know what to expect from him, you know, probably the best part about him is that normally, he just takes the ball from line to line and tonight it looked like for whatever reason, maybe something he saw that he decided he wanted to pull the ball because he pulled more tonight than normally. He did hit the one ball over second base, but for the most part he was turning on the ball, pulling a little bit more.
So evidently, he looked at something he saw, I would have to say, and decided that's how he was going to approach it.
Q. In the sixth inning with Abreu up, I know he got a seeing eye base hit but did you think about making a change there, it was 5-3, second and third, two outs, big spot?
JIM LEYLAND: No, because certainly I wouldn't have brought in a right hander in that situation. I thought with him on the mound I would not bring another left hander on the mound for him. He got two quick outs that inning, got a ground ball, just happened to go through a hole. Could have been right at somebody. I thought he was still throwing reasonably well to be honest with you.
Q. Before the hit and run, in the second inning, did you think Rodriguez might test Sheffield at first base to see if he could handle a play he had never seen before?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, what we did was we had the bunt on the first pitch on the hit and run. We had the pitch before we had the bunt on and when we drew the runners in, got the ball one count, we changed it to hit and run because we had everybody in on the corners and if you hit a weak ground ball that goes through, and like I said that happened to be the nastiest sinker that he threw all night and ran in and down on him. Only thing he could possibly have done is foul it off.
We had a plan and I had absolutely no problem with that. With a guy like Wayne, you can't get runners on first base, because after two or three pitches, somebody is going to hit into a double play, that's his strong suit he throws a lot of groundballs. Tonight as the game went on, as I said he was a bit more of a Jekyll and Hyde in that he got some balls up and we hit some pretty good.
Q. Obviously Jeter came through for them. Would you say that for you to win this series, your big guys at some point are going to have to come through the same way?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think it's going to take a combination of our guys from top to bottom. I mean, we don't obviously have the lineup that the Yankees have; that's not a secret. But I think it's important for us, for everybody not to try to be a hero every at-bat and I think just make contributions, because we just don't have that kind of firepower.
So I think we need to just concentrate on doing what we can do, grind out each at-bat, put the ball in play with something on it and hope for the best. I think that's what we need to do.
You know, I don't want to put pressure on any one or two players that they have to do this for us to be successful. You know, we scored a few runs tonight and I thought we swung the bats halfway decent. The offense really wasn't bad. But you know, we just don't have -- we haven't had all year, really, the type of lineup where you can point to one or two guys and say, hey, carry us, that's not the type of team we have. We're more of a depth team, one through nine, everybody is pretty good and pretty dangerous. If you look at home runs down in the seven, eight and nine spot, Marcus has got 26, 27 home runs, you know, we're dangerous from top to bottom. But we don't have all that big thump in the middle like some other teams have. We just don't have it. That's not the way we play.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.