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 Tigers' Leyland: 'We stunk'

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PostSubject: Tigers' Leyland: 'We stunk'   Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:16 am

Friday, April 4, 2008
Royals 4, Tigers 1
Tigers' Leyland: 'We stunk'
Offensive funk reaches three games with sweep
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- It was in the way his eyes darted, the way he stabbed at his salad, even in the way he bent down to untie his shoes as if the laces were to blame.

The manager was none too pleased after the Tigers' 4-1 sweep-completing, eye-opening, mystery-extending loss to the Royals on Thursday.

You could sense it, see it, but more than that, you could hear it.

"We stunk," Jim Leyland said.


He didn't bellow, yell or even speak loudly. He didn't gather his team together as he did with his nip-it-in-the-bud speech that first year. It wasn't the right time.

Only three games into the season -- all of them losses, but three games all the same. If it continues, there will come a right time. But this wasn't it.

So instead of speaking directly to a team that doesn't need anger added to its initial disappointment, Leyland did the next-best thing to get his message across: He spilled his thoughts to the media.

That's one way, without having the walls shake or plaster fall, to get a point across. Have the players read it. Have them see it in the paper or online the next day.

"The fact of the matter is," Leyland said, "we've looked terrible at the plate. We've looked like a dead club. We've looked like an old club. We look like we're going up there and giving at-bats away without a purpose. If you do that, it's going to bite you.

"We look like we're not prepared. That's a manager's responsibility, and I accept full responsibility for it.

"I always credit the opposing pitchers when they pitch well, and their guys certainly did. At the same time, this is the big leagues and our lineup is supposed to hit pretty good big league pitching.

"I can't figure it out. We look dead. We look like we were just going up there putting our time in and that's not good enough. I won't say anything to the club, because the timing isn't good, but as I've said, we have a target on us and we'll find out how good we are.

"We'll find out if we're tough enough because I haven't seen enough toughness in the last couple of days. I'm very disappointed in that. I don't mind getting beat three games, but I'm very disappointed (not to see) the toughness and the grind-it-out that this club is supposed to have.

"Lazy at-bats, lazy fly-ball outs. That's not us. We don't look ready. So we'll find out."

Ailing and flailing

Which players they will find out with, however, could be an issue because of the suddenly uncertain status of Miguel Cabrera and Gary Sheffield. But either way, getting back to what the Tigers thought they'd do best is essential.

They were supposed to hit and they will hit. So far, though?

"We don't hit," Magglio Ordonez said. "It's weird, but it's happening."

The Tigers have gone two games without a hit with runners in scoring position. Then again, in Wednesday's shutout, they had only one at-bat with a runner in scoring position. But the tally for the first three games is 2-for-22.

Placido Polanco ended an 0-for-10 skid with an infield single, but to be 1-for-14 after three games still is a slump, especially for him. At 1-for-12, Pudge Rodriguez knows how he feels.

No reason for panic -- yet

There's no sense of panic in the clubhouse. Probably like the crowd of 32,735 on hand, the Tigers just seem surprised this has happened. But they can't afford the time to be surprised. They're 0-3. They're the only winless team in the major leagues.

"I think we've had some bad at-bats, obviously," Leyland said. "If you think you'll be all right because you say you'll be all right, that won't happen. No we won't be all right if we're not bearing down and trying to fix what the problem is.

"I think a lot of it is mental, but you have to fix that yourself."

Make no mistake, there are those -- Brandon Inge, for one -- saying "it's just a matter of time" before the Tigers turn it around.

And that might be so. But the story du jour is the need already to turn it around.

You can reach Tom Gage at tom. gage@detnews.com.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers' Leyland: 'We stunk'   Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:08 am

At least he said it flat out.
What the heck kind of funk they're in is beyond me.
We noticed in Spring Training there just didn't seem to be much of a spark there! Everyone just putting in 5 or so innings, smiling and walking out, and letting the runts finish the game!
Wonder if Sean not being there had anything to do with it! He seemed to get everybody smiling and laughing!
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