10/22/06 5:15 PM ET
Jim Leyland pregame interview
Tigers manager talks about pitching to Albert Pujols
By / MLB.com
JIM LEYLAND:Obviously he's done very well, and you just never know how these things are going to turn out. Hopefully he'll give us the type of performance he's done the last few outings, and all year long with the exception of one little time. These postseason games are a whole new chapter, and obviously we're counting on Kenny tonight to give us a good performance. And we have to swing the bat better. We got four hits, and two guys had all of them. We've got to do a bunch of things better.
Did you give any thought take
putting Casey at first base, moving Guillen to
short and bringing in another bat?
JIM LEYLAND:No, not really. We think that this is the way -- with Sean, for sure, because with the weather situation it's going to be really cold tonight and everything, we just decided not to take a chance on doing that. And obviously did we think about it? Yes, but are we going to go that way? No, because we're a little nervous about that situation, and he's going to have to play first base in St. Louis, so we're going to have to take our chances that way.
Your hitters seemed a lot more
patient in the first two rounds, last night they
swung early in the count, and Reyes had a low
pitch count because of that. Was that
anxiousness from being off so long?
JIM LEYLAND:I think we didn't work the pitcher quite as much, but it wasn't like that we chased a lot of bad, bad balls. It wasn't like we were swinging at anything. Most of the stuff was around the plate. A couple of guys swung at pitches off the plate in, but it wasn't like we were chasing drastically bad pitches, we just, for whatever reason, we just didn't center the ball. We have no excuses about the off time. Did we look like a team that hadn't played for seven or eight days last night? Yes, we did. Is that going to be an excuse at any point? No, it's not.
You were in a situation where you
were able to use a lot of your relievers last
night, your front-line guys. You did not use
Zumaya. How much of that is you're worried
about him being available only once?
JIM LEYLAND:It had nothing to do with that. I figured I'd get that question asked. We felt like we might have to use him two innings tonight. The reason I mentioned that last night, you do things a little different with your pitching in a situation like last night, simply for the reason that not only have we not played for seven or eight days, but some of these guys hadn't pitched for nine days or ten days. We had to get them out to the mound. Normally I wouldn't have made the move with Jones, he's the closer. Hopefully we'll have one to close tonight, that's the reason I brought Walker in with two outs. I normally don't do that stuff, but because of the situation I had to. They haven't been out there for a long time.
You have advance scouting, and
you have video to watch the Cardinals, how
much can you learn about them and their
lineup in one game like last night?
JIM LEYLAND:Well, I don't know. One of the big things with advance scouting is who is hot and who is not. It may be a great hitter that may not be particularly hot at the time, and somebody else is particularly hot. You get a feel for that, and you get a feel for your matchups you've had with them in the past, and kind of basically use your gut instinct on that. That's pretty much the only way you can do it. It's not foolproof.
Q. Last night you took the blame
yourself for pitching to Pujols with first base
open. Were you surprised at the reaction to
that or does that come with the decision? And
did you play it over in your mind throughout
the evening afterward?
JIM LEYLAND:It's the third inning of the ballgame, and to me, if he gets a base hit there, it's two to one. You have to hit one out, which he obviously did. That wasn't supposed to happen. But like I said, I'll take responsibility for that, because if there's any question you can do, that you can or can't do what we were trying to do, then you put him off, if you put him on, if that's the way you feel. In the third inning of the ballgame, we struck him out the first time up. We thought if we did what we were trying to do, and if we walked him that would be okay. And if we could get him maybe to expand and make an out, that would be better. Obviously that didn't happen. But that falls on my shoulders. I have no problem with Justin Verlander in that situation. The manager takes that responsibility. I take it and I accept it and it's one of those things where people can have a field day with and go for it. I understand that. That's just part of the business.
Can you talk about your ballclub
being resilient all year long, and talk about
being resilient tonight being down 1-0 tonight.
JIM LEYLAND:Well, you know, I think one of the points that I like to make is I don't know how this is going to turn out tonight, but one thing you've got to remember, we got beat by the New York Yankees in the first game, and we won seven straight playoff games. That's not easy to do. You're not probably going to continue to roll through playoffs with that kind of pace. That's pretty tough to do. We lost a ballgame last night after winning seven in a row in postseason. We're not going to roll over and play dead, obviously. And we're going to play this thing out. I wish we were a little sharper. Obviously, like I said, we looked like a team that hadn't played for a while. Once again that's not an excuse, that's just a fact. But what we did before was a pretty good accomplishment. Seven straight after a loss to the Yankees, and the Yankees beat us up pretty good in the first game. But you have to execute, you have to make pitches, and you have to get some timely hits. And you have to decide whether or not you want to pitch to Pujols.
If that Pujols situation arises again,
Rogers being a lefty, Edmonds probably hitting
behind him, does your thinking change at all?
JIM LEYLAND:Well, first of all, Edmonds isn't hitting behind him. But it's a little different with your pitcher. But Kenny might be one of those guys that can expand. If there's any question at all, I think with Kenny we might be able to get away with it a little bit more. But if I feel that there's any question, I've already talked to the pitching coach about -- I want the responsibility. We had a plan, and we didn't execute the plan. But that ultimately falls on my shoulders. I'm not going to sit up here today and change my opinion. I will take full responsibility. So we'll play that by ear and see what happens. But like I said, in the third inning of the game, you struck the guy out the first time up. I don't necessarily agree with what everybody says that it was a terrible move. I mean, that's just my opinion.
What was the explanation you were
given on the interference call to Inge on that?
JIM LEYLAND:First of all, it's not interference, it's obstruction, and the call was right. What I was trying to get out of him is that the play had just been made and he was still finishing the act of making the play, because if a fielder is making a play and a runner runs into him, it's interference. If the fielder hinders the progress of a runner, after making the play, it's called obstruction. And the umpire had the call right. The only thing that I was questioning was Inge had his back to him, just after having made the play. Had Inge been facing him in a rundown situation where he bumped him or hinders his progress, that's one thing. But the umpire had the call right.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.