10/5/2013 1:57 A.M. ET
Oct. 4 Jim Leyland postgame interview
By / MLB.com
Q. Is that one of Smyly's two or three best performances of the year in quality of pitches?
JIM LEYLAND: I think under the conditions, you know, playoff atmosphere, very good hitting team, he was terrific. There is no question about that. You know, Bartolo settled down after the first and he pitched very well. Scherzer was terrific and the bullpen came in and did a fine job.
Q. Jim, as the seventh and the eighth innings were unfolding, at what point did you anticipate you were going to Benoit?
JIM LEYLAND: To be honest with you, if it was only one out in the inning, I was going to Alburquerque for Donaldson. But if it was more than two, I was going to go to Benoit. So we got two outs before we got to Donaldson, and then we asked Bennie to get four, which I don't like to do. But playoffs you do things a little bit different.
Q. You got the 3‑spot early and then everything shutdown afterwards. I realize Bartolo Colon was responsible and the bullpen, but the offense having trouble doing a little bit of the things that you've been known for doing, hitting the ball to the fence or over the fence, that has not been a team of late, right?
JIM LEYLAND: Number one, you have to credit Colon. He's a terrific pitcher. He's had a terrific year. Obviously we feel like we're going to need to add on some runs. That was the one thing that might have been disappointing. We jumped 'em real quick and then we couldn't get a lot else going. And we're going to need to do that better as the series goes on.
But we were fortunate enough that our pitching held on and we win Game 1.
Q. Jim, with Andy Dirks starting in left, do you think it was important to get Peralta an AB in the game?
JIM LEYLAND: I knew I wouldn't put him in for defense. I took a shot Jhonny might run into one. I didn't want have Andy Dirks take the at‑bat off Doolittle. So I put Jhonny in there and I thought he might get a run. And you know, you put Kelly in, he's a defensive outfielder, so that's why we made the move.
Q. Did you pull Cabrera because it seemed like he was uncomfortable when he took big rip in the third?
JIM LEYLAND: No, he tried to kick it in and it looked like it bothered him a little bit, to be honest with you. I wasn't comfortable taking him out of a one‑run game, but there was a little more to it. As you know this is a ballpark with a lot of foul territory and I felt like at that point, if they hit a pop‑up over there that he can't get to, that somebody else would have got to easily or something, that's an out that we might gave up.
So it was a combination of a lot of things. Take away the bunt a little bit more, obvious. And like I say, that foul territory, Kelly or Santiago might get to that pop‑up that might give us an out as opposed to Miggy not being able to get there. So that's why that move was made.
Q. You're accustomed to Scherzer pitching this way so often this year, but what distinction did you pick out from him tonight, Jim?
JIM LEYLAND: I thought Scherzer was locked in all night. He was awful determined. He was thrilled to get Game 1. I think it meant a lot to him, even though he said it didn't matter which game he pitched. And I think he responded like we expected him to respond.
We got a very good pitcher going tomorrow, just as they do. But I was thrilled with what Scherzer did. He was terrific. He had strikeouts and made good pitches for the most part, hung in there. When I went out there, he told me he was all right, that was good enough for me, and he responded very well getting out of that inning. He stepped up to the occasion.
And this is playoff baseball. It was a great game. Maybe you figure the runs were going to be stingy, and they were. Their bullpen is very good. They came in and held it down. And our bullpen did a terrific job as well.
You figured runs would be a little bit stingy, but when we got the three in the first, I was hoping we would add on a couple more, which we did not do, obviously. But a lot of credit goes to their pitching staff.
Q. Was that bunt by Torii, was that him freelancing?
JIM LEYLAND: That was Torii, doing that on his own, he does that on occasion. It's a good play, trying to get the big guy up there. Caught 'em back a little bit, and Jose Iglesias made a good attempt at bunting and Donaldson smelled it and he bunted it too hard. But in Torii's case, anytime we can get a guy on base, we figure it's a pretty good play for us but he did it on his own, to his credit.
Q. Were you okay with the wave of Victor with the one out on the play at the plate?
JIM LEYLAND: I will comment on that. I think I have a good answer for that one. To me, that's one of those where when you send him and he doesn't make it, you wish you'd held him. But if you hold him and the next guy pops up and you don't get the run, you wish you would have sent him.
You can figure out which way is the right way. I'm not sure. And I really believe what I just said, that's one of those you say, I wish you'd held him, but like I say, if the next guy or two guys pop it up or you don't get the run, you wish he'd have taken the shot.
I thought it was a good shot. Reddick is a great thrower. We knew that going into the series and he made a great throw.
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