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 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS

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PostSubject: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:53 pm

Fister leads the way as Tigers clinch Central

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 9/17/2011 3:11 AM ET

OAKLAND -- Doug Fister was a good pitcher on a last-place team for most of the season before the Tigers targeted him at the Trade Deadline. He was at the heart of Friday's win that clinched the American League Central title, and in the middle of the celebration that followed it.

Wilson Betemit was a utility man who had outlived his role on the Royals before the Tigers traded for him in July. His go-ahead RBI triple stood up in Detroit's 3-1 win over the A's.

Don Kelly was part of the 2009 Tigers team that suffered heartbreak at the hands of the Twins. He scored the go-ahead run in the tiebreaker that year, only to see the lead vanish. He scored a key insurance run Friday night that ended up being the final tally.

Ramon Santiago was part of the 2003 Tigers team that lost 119 games, and his was the run that got the Tigers going against Oakland, continuing the key role he has played for at least a month at second base.

They all played their parts in the run that brought the Tigers to the cusp of their first division title since 1987, and they all had their hands in Friday's clincher. So did many more in a game capped by Jose Valverde's 45th save in as many chances. That made it all the sweeter for manager Jim Leyland, who teared up talking about it in his office while his players celebrated as a group down the hall.

"That's why you coach a team," Leyland said. "I think, to me, this is so good, because Fister was a pickup, but this is something that Donnie Kelly will never forget. That's what makes it special to me. Here's a guy that a lot of people don't really know about. And to come up like he did tonight, this goes in a heckuva memory bank for him.

"That's worth its weight in gold. That's why you play them all."

With their magic number at one, the Tigers needed to either win Friday night or have the Indians lose in Minnesota. They were going to get it at some point, but considering how all they needed was a win to wrap it up two years ago, getting that last victory was going to be special.

After Josh Willingham's homer to straightaway center pulled the A's ahead leading off the bottom of the second inning, it was all Tigers from there.

Once Tiger nemesis David DeJesus followed Willingham's homer with a single, Fister recovered with some help. Jhonny Peralta ranged deep into the hole at shortstop and rifled a throw to first to retire Cliff Pennington for the first of 17 straight outs recorded by Fister (9-13).

Just two Athletics in that stretch got a ball out of the infield against Fister, whose career-best fifth straight win ranked among the sweetest. Less than two months after he was a Mariners starter with the lowest run support among AL starters, he was a division champion. He was conscious of how close he was to the latter when he was on the mound.

"Definitely a world of emotions out there, trying to stay kind of composed and under control, still having a job to do," Fister said. "That's the main focus. Luckily tonight it was able to be done. It was a team effort. Offense came out and put together a lot of good at-bats and battled, and then the defense really picked everybody up. That's what it's all about."

Fister's five wins over his last six starts included two gems against the Indians. His eight innings of three-hit ball Friday eliminated Cleveland from the division chase.

"He certainly met the challenge tonight," Leyland said. "He's been fantastic for us. When you talk about a clinching game, you can't ask for any more of a performance than he gave us tonight. I mean, that's almost spotless. That's pretty impressive."

Fister's offense made sure he didn't trail for long. Santiago's triple leading off the third inning set the table for the top of the order to drive him in. After A's starter Trevor Cahill struck out Austin Jackson, up came Kelly, who's made many of his contributions recently as a defensive replacement, but started Friday.

Kelly's ground ball through the right side tied it. His fifth-inning sacrifice bunt moved two runners into scoring position before Cahill escaped, but once Cahill fell behind on a 2-0 count to him in the seventh, he pounced on a hanging sinker and drove it deep to right field for his fifth home run.

"This is the perfect example of how this team has won," Kelly said. "You had the two big hits. Fister, the new guy, goes eight. ... Everybody steps up and then you you've got Papa Grande at the back end closing it out. It's an amazing feeling. It's a fun night."

Valverde, as he has been for more than half of the Tigers' wins this year, was the exclamation point. He has been more and more animated in recent saves, and this seemed set to be his biggest celebration of all. But when Willingham grounded to third for the final out, he went to his catcher, Alex Avila, and gave him a big hug. Then the dugout emptied.

Nearly a quarter-century of frustration in the standings among Tigers fans poured out with it.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Fister said. "A great group of guys to be around, a great group of guys to fight tooth and nail with. This is what we're living for, this is what we're playing for. Every drop of sweat, every drop of blood, tear, whatever, is what it's all about right now."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com.Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:56 pm

Ten reasons the Tigers reached the postseason
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 09/23/11 12:00 PM ET

The Tigers went from a tie atop the American League Central in 2009, to a .500 season last year, to the type of runaway finish this September that the club hasn't seen since 1984. It didn't simply happen by accident.

Some of the reasons for Detroit's rise were a matter of good fortune. Just as injuries to Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge sank the Tigers in late July 2010, the health of the team played a big role down the stretch. The disabled lists in Cleveland and Minnesota made Detroit's injured ranks look scant by comparison. And every team wishes it had an ace like Justin Verlander, the way he has pitched this year. Verlander has always pushed himself, rather than having the team push him.

But take out those factors, and the Tigers made a slew of decisions that put the pieces in place for their dominant finish. As wheeling and dealing goes, it might be the best 12 months of Dave Dombrowski's tenure in Detroit, if not the best of his professional career.

"We made some moves this year, and up to this point, they've worked terrific," manager Jim Leyland said. "You never know how that stuff's going to play out. Sometimes it works out good. Sometimes it doesn't. It's that way with all clubs. There's no slam dunks. That's just the way it works. You think you know what you're getting for sure, but you never really know for sure until you get them."

As for lineup considerations and batting orders, it wasn't always easy for Leyland, but a few key moves yielded big results and some vindication for him in the face of summer second-guessing. The success earned both Leyland and Dombrowski contract extensions.

Add the moves and choices to some other factors, and you can come up with at least 10 reasons why the Tigers are celebrating long-awaited success. Here's a short list:

Verlander's remarkable season: No decision here on the Tigers' part; they were just along for the ride. But when Verlander went into Spring Training focused on changing his early-season fortunes with a regimented, intense program, he put himself in position for one of the most dominant seasons by a pitcher in the past 10 to 15 years. Whether it warrants the AL MVP Award is irrelevant to this discussion; without Verlander, Detroit isn't here.

Teammate Brad Penny said near the end of camp that Verlander might have had the best Spring Training he has ever seen from a pitcher. The work Verlander put in on all his pitches, the focus to avoid simply getting his work in, resulted in three, sometimes four, nasty pitches at his disposal. Verlander's ability to deliver a strong, often dominant outing almost every start kept the Tigers out of major losing streaks.

Put it this way: Recall how formidable a Tigers series against the Twins felt with Johan Santana on the mound for Minnesota back in the middle of the last decade. That's what opponents feel now when Detroit comes around on the schedule.

Signing Victor Martinez in offseason:
Last winter's star-studded free-agent class featured Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth and Adam Dunn. All of them were paid nicely. None of them had as much of an impact on a team as Martinez, whom the Tigers targeted from the outset of the Hot Stove season. His veteran bat and clutch hitting bolstered Detroit's lineup, especially the gaping void of protection behind Miguel Cabrera in the batting order. Martinez's leadership bolstered Detroit's clubhouse. He was the one proven winner among the top group on the market, and the Tigers are finding out why.

"I think he's probably one of the most contributing factors as to why we're at where we're at right now," Verlander said. "And that's not to discount what everybody else has done. But the way he fits into what we had has just been kind of like that missing puzzle piece."

Offensively, Martinez has made opponents pay for pitching around Cabrera. His influence goes virtually everywhere else.

Putting Alex Avila behind the plate: The instinctive reaction among Tigers fans once Martinez signed was that he would end up behind the plate for a lot of his Detroit tenure. If it didn't happen at season's outset, it was bound to happen eventually once Avila fell into a slump. Thus, while Avila went into Spring Training with the bulk of the catching duties, he seemingly went in with footsteps behind him.

Nobody's hearing footsteps anymore. Avila says he never did. Leyland and others assured him it was his job, and they were sticking with him. Avila's performance since has rewarded their belief, with interest. The first-year starter almost instantly blossomed into one of baseball's best backstops, both at the plate and behind it.

Re-signing Jhonny Peralta: Unlike the more heralded moves the Tigers made this summer, getting Peralta at the Trade Deadline last year was a more subtle move. But Detroit officials saw the chance for more than just a late-season fill-in bat when they acquired him. Their willingness to shift Peralta to shortstop once Inge returned last August was the first step; their aggressiveness to re-sign him to a two-year deal before he could hit the open market was the next.

Tigers officials believed they could make Peralta work at short if they had good defense around him. They couldn't have anticipated an All-Star season from him. While Peralta has regained some lost range as the season has unfolded with help from infield coach Rafael Belliard, his offense has helped Detroit regain the production it lost when the club moved Guillen away from shortstop four years ago. Peralta leads AL shortstops in OPS, and it isn't even close.

Teaming up Jose Valverde and Joaquin Benoit for the late innings:
The Tigers remember well how the Twins commanded games in the late innings years ago with Juan Rincon, J.C. Romero and Joe Nathan in the bullpen. It took them a while, but they've built that same factor now around Valverde and Benoit. Valverde was their free-agent splash before last season, but this was the year Detroit truly felt his value, as he set a team record in saves and compiled the second-longest single-season save streak in history.

Dombrowski had never spent big on a setup man until this winter, when he stopped waiting for a healthy Joel Zumaya and took a shot on a three-year deal with Benoit. After a rough opening month, Benoit has quietly settled in to become an eighth-inning force for his new club. The numbers aren't the same as his ridiculously low stats from 2010, but the impact on a playoff team is the same.

Trading for Doug Fister: No trade this summer has yielded better results or made a bigger impact on the playoff picture than the July 30 deal that was supposed to provide rotation depth. The Tigers thought they were getting a contact pitcher who could be a middle-of-the-rotation or back-end starter. Instead, Fister has been Detroit's best starter not named Verlander, turning a sharp breaking ball into high-strikeout performances that have left jaws dropping across the AL.

The deal for Fister was announced hours before second-place Cleveland made a higher-profile swap for Ubaldo Jimenez. In some ways, it ended up a defining point in the division race. While Jimenez struggled against Detroit, Fister became a Tribe nemesis the first time he saw them while wearing a Tigers uniform.

The Tigers went 4-16 in starts from their fifth starter before Fister arrived. They won five of their next six starts after they got him.

Trading for Delmon Young:
The Tigers felt pretty good about their offense going into the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31, aside from the Wilson Betemit trade, and they decided against a larger swap. But Detroit has always held Young in high regard -- it would have drafted him in 2003 had a rainout not cost the club the AL's worst record. So when the Twins put him on trade waivers in mid-August, the Tigers put in a claim. When they had a chance to work out a deal, they pounced.

Young's arrival in Detroit changed the look of the Tigers' offense, and it changed the season for him. Batting third in front of Cabrera, a guaranteed spot to see strikes, proved the perfect fit for the aggressive hitter. Young's extra-base power, meanwhile, added more punch. Once Brennan Boesch fell to a season-ending thumb injury, Young's offense was vital.

Moving Phil Coke back to the bullpen:
Coke's conversion to a starter entering the year came with the right intentions, giving Detroit a power lefty in its rotation while Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver learned a little more in the Minors. And Coke had his moments, including a mid-May duel in Boston that gave the Tigers a chance before they fell late in the game. But the longer it went, the less encouraging the results. In a situation without a playoff race at stake, Coke might've had the time to develop, but this wasn't it.

As it turned out, the Tigers needed Coke in the bullpen more, especially once they lost Al Alburquerque for a couple weeks with a forearm strain. It took a while for Coke to get back into his relief mindset, but he was back to his 2010 form by late August, just in time to bolster the bullpen for the stretch. He turned at least two late-season games in Detroit's favor, including a low-scoring duel at Tampa Bay.

Moving Ramon Santiago to second base: The Tigers have had five players spend a stint as the regular at second base in 2011. Santiago was the fifth through the revolving door, but he has been the best all around. His reliable fielding and strong arm gave Detroit's infield a much-needed infusion of consistency. Santiago's bat, especially during an unexpected power surge from the middle of August on, proved valuable.

Santiago is now sharing starts with Ryan Raburn, but he doesn't have to take it as a fallback position. When the AL Division Series comes around, Santiago figures to be in the middle of it.

Signing Alburquerque: It was such an obscure move that it was a footnote on the heels of the Martinez deal. All that stood out about Alburquerque was the name. Six months later, his slider was a headlining pitch nobody wanted to see.

The right-hander with the nasty breaking pitch and the high-90s fastball needed a while to find some polish on the mound, but once he did, he became the high-strikeout power reliever the Tigers lacked with Zumaya on the disabled list. Teaming Alburquerque with Coke, Detroit eventually found the tandem to handle the seventh inning before Benoit and Valverde go to work.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:03 pm

Tigers to have Fister start Game 2 of ALDS
By Chris Vannini / MLB.com | 09/22/11 8:14 PM ET

DETROIT -- Manager Jim Leyland pitched starters Doug Fister and Max Scherzer on Wednesday to line up his rotation for the playoffs. Now, the remainder of the rotation appears close to being set.

Fister will be Detroit's Game 2 starter, with Leyland saying Thursday that where or who the Tigers played in the American League Division Series would not affect who would follow Justin Verlander in the rotation.

Fister is 7-1 with a 2.02 ERA since joining the Tigers and has given up one earned run or fewer in his last seven starts.

With Fister going in Game 2, Max Scherzer would likely be the starter for Game 3. Leyland reiterated Thursday that Verlander would not pitch Game 4 on three days' rest, even if the Tigers fell behind in the series.

"All the second-guessers can come out and say I should pitch him in the fourth game if we're behind, but that's not going to happen," Leyland said.

Leyland has not said who the fourth starter would be. Rick Porcello is scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore. If he stays on his regular turn -- starting the regular-season finale next Wednesday -- he would be in line to potentially start Game 4 on five days' rest. Brad Penny's final regular season start will come Sunday.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:08 pm

Verlander-CC duel opens ALDS in Bronx
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com | 09/28/11 11:15 PM ET

NEW YORK -- One of the game's most electric settings and two of its most expert aces.

Really, what more do you want?

Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers is on the horizon, and it has all the makings of a heavyweight bout, given the skill of the two men set to take the mound.

CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 ERA) is the former Cy Young winner who, two falls ago, put the Yankees on his back and carried them to the World Series. Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40) is the soon-to-be Cy and potential MVP who willed his team into contention before it hit its stride down the stretch.

The Yankees and Tigers have so much riding on these two ample arms, and the ride gets under way Friday night at 8:37 ET on TBS in the Bronx.

Neither Sabathia nor Verlander lacks the confidence necessary for the assignment.

"When I'm right," Sabathia has said, "I can beat anybody."

Said Verlander: "If you expect greatness, greatness shouldn't surprise you."

Still, both Sabathia and Verlander clearly have their work cut out for them, because the starpower in this matchup extends all around the diamond. These were two of the Majors' four most productive offenses this season, along with the Red Sox and Rangers.

In fact, Sabathia and Verlander have each had struggles against their upcoming opponent. Both made a pair of starts, and neither came out with a victory. Sabathia was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA and .320 average against in 13 innings against Detroit. Verlander had two no-decisions with a 4.50 ERA, .250 average against and an uncharacteristic eight walks in 12 innings against New York.

And that speaks to the added intrigue level surrounding this showdown. A superb challenge is in store for the bats and the arms alike.

The Yankees have already made one big decision for their postseason lineup against right-handers such as Verlander. Mark Teixeira, who has struggled mightily from the left side of the plate this season against defensive shifts, has been dropped to the No. 5 spot, with the red-hot Robinson Cano batting third.

"I think we're going to see how it works; I don't see why it wouldn't work," Teixeira said. "We're trying to win games. And putting Robbie, the hot hand, in the third spot, it's a great idea."

For the Tigers, bucking the trend of what is essentially a platoon situation at third base might be the best bet against CC. The switch-hitting Wilson Betemit has gotten the bulk of playing time against right-handers, with the right-handed Brandon Inge seeing time against lefties. But Betemit is 3-for-5 with a double in his career against Sabathia, while Inge is just 11-for-58.

While deliberating over the unsettled lineup spots is the task at hand for managers Joe Girardi and Jim Leyland, the primary task for Sabathia and Verlander will be neutralizing two of the more potent middle orders in the game.

The Yankees got nearly 55 percent of their RBI production this season from the Nos. 2-5 spots, which belonged, in order, to Curtis Granderson, Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Cano, until the Teixeira/Cano swap was made this week. The bad news for the Yankees? Those guys are a combined 12-for-67 with just three home runs off Verlander in their career. But Verlander will have to prevent Derek Jeter, who is 9-for-25 with four walks against him, from setting the table.

For the Tigers, a similar percentage of the production has come from the Nos. 3-6 spots, occupied by Delmon Young, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and either Alex Avila or Jhonny Peralta. Those guys are a combined 20-for-83 with four home runs off CC, but nine of those hits and two of those homers came from Cabrera. Sabathia simply must be careful with Cabrera, who has a 1.591 OPS in 16 career at-bats against him.

The Yankees have to take advantage of the home-field edge afforded them in Game 1. It goes out the window if they lose. This club is perfectly constructed for its home park, in which it has notched a .274 average and .825 OPS. The confines are less friendly at Comerica, where the Yanks hit .252 with a .666 OPS in four games this year.

Momentum would not appear to be a major factor in this tilt. The Tigers had one of the best records in the Majors this month, but the Yankees weren't all that far behind.

Besides, momentum, as they say, only goes so far as the next day's pitcher. And both pitchers lined up for Game 1 know how to stop momentum in its tracks.

Yankees: Jeter, as usual, in special company

Jeter notched his 3,000th career hit on July 9 in dramatic fashion with a home run, becoming just the second player in history to reach the mark by going deep. Wade Boggs was the first.

But Jeter's special company in a sub-committee of the 3,000 club does not end there. Now that the playoffs are about to begin, Jeter has become just the third member of the club to reach the postseason in the same year in which he cranked out No. 3,000.

The others? Roberto Clemente (1972, Pirates lost NLCS to Reds) and Eddie Murray (1995, Indians lost World Series to Braves).

If things break right, don't rule out the possibility of Jeter achieving another milestone -- his 200th postseason hit. He's at 185, which is already a postseason record.

Tigers: Victor spoiled by Yankee Stadium

When the Yankees moved across 161st Street into the new Yankee Stadium in 2009, they unwittingly did Martinez a favor.

V-Mart hit .224 (13-for-58) with three homers and 14 RBIs in 15 games at the old place. The new one has the same dimensions, but Martinez has fared much better, batting .264 (24-for-91) with nine homers and 14 RBIs. His .582 slugging percentage at new Yankee Stadium is his second-highest at any ballpark in which he's played more than three games (he has a .622 SLG in 31 games at Tropicana Field).

For the sake of comparison, Martinez has the same number of home runs in his career at Comerica Park as he does at new Yankee Stadium, despite nearly five times as many plate appearances.

Worth noting

• Mariano Rivera's consistency in the ninth inning is the stuff of legend, and he's been particularly consistent against the Tigers. The last time he blew a save against them was in July 1999, at the old Tiger Stadium. In the time since, he's 23-for-23 in save situations against Detroit, allowing just one earned run -- on a homer by Granderson, who is now his teammate.

• Speaking of Granderson, it's worth remembering that the three teams involved in the December 2009 deal that brought him to the Bronx -- the Yankees, Tigers and D-backs -- all won their division this year, with the pieces of that trade to thank. Austin Jackson is the Tigers' starting center fielder, Max Scherzer is in the rotation and Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth are in the bullpen. The D-backs got 21 regular-season wins out of Ian Kennedy and 16 out of Daniel Hudson, who they had acquired for Edwin Jackson, another acquisition in the Granderson trade.

• How important is winning Game 1 in the Division Series? Not quite as much as you might think in the AL. While the team that took Game 1 in the NLDS has gone on to win the series 29 of 32 times, the Game 1 winner in the ALDS has failed to seal the deal in 14 of 32 tries. That, of course, includes the 2006 Yankees team that took Game 1 against the Tigers, only to lose the series in four games.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:20 pm

ALDS position by position: Tigers-Yankees
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com | 09/29/11 4:30 AM ET

NEW YORK -- With regard to giving us insight into what we'll be watching in the American League Division Series, very little can be made of the seven meetings between the Tigers and Yankees in the regular season. After all, these two clubs haven't faced each other since way back on Cinco de Mayo. We do know the Yanks are the only team Justin Verlander faced twice and somehow didn't beat, but the Tigers nonetheless claimed the season series, 4-3.

The best way to gauge what's in store is to break these two down, position by position. On the eve of the playoffs, here's a quick look at how the East and Central champs stack up.

Note that finalized postseason rosters had not been announced, as of this writing, so some names aren't set in stone.

CATCHER

Yankees
Russell Martin: .237/18/65 (BA/HR/RBI)
Jesus Montero: .328/4/12
Austin Romine: .158/0/0

Tigers
Alex Avila: .295/19/82
Omir Santos: .227/0/0

Martin had something of a resurgent season after his All-Star career appeared to have flamed out in Los Angeles. Montero is a lock for the roster, but because of his bat at the plate, not his defensive skills behind it. He'll play at DH.

Avila has had a breakout season after batting just .228 as a rookie last year. He has earned his spot in the middle portion of a lethal lineup. The Tigers have to decide whether to carry Santos as a backup for him. Brandon Inge could fill in should an emergency arise. Victor Martinez doesn't appear likely to catch again this year.

EDGE: Tigers

FIRST BASE

Yankees
Mark Teixeira: .248/39/111
Jorge Posada: .235/14/44

Tigers
Miguel Cabrera: .344/30/105
Don Kelly: .245/7/28

Teixeira's batting average and OPS have both slipped in each of the last two seasons, but he remains one of the game's top threats to go deep.

Even on his best day, though, Teixeira isn't the offensive force that Cabrera is. Despite personal distractions in Spring Training, Cabrera turned in another monster year. And now that he has more lineup protection, opposing pitchers can't simply pitch around him as much as they once did.

EDGE: Tigers

SECOND BASE

Yankees

Robinson Cano: .302/28/118
Eduardo Nunez: .265/5/30

Tigers
Ramon Santiago: .260/5/30
Ryan Raburn: .256/14/49

Cano is simply one of the premier offensive forces in the game, and he showed it in belting four home runs in last year's ALCS against the Rangers. He's also improved his glovework in recent years.

It's been a revolving door for the Tigers at second base this season. Santiago was the fifth player given a regular shot at the position, and his solid glove and strong arm have been a big asset. Veteran Carlos Guillen is out of ALDS with a calf injury.

EDGE: Yankees

SHORTSTOP

Yankees
Derek Jeter: .297/6/61
Eduardo Nunez: .265/5/30

Tigers
Jhonny Peralta: .299/21/86
Ramon Santiago: .260/5/30

Reports of Jeter's demise were greatly exaggerated, as he looked like a different player -- namely, the Jeter of old -- after crushing a home run for his 3,000th hit. And with 147 games -- almost a full season -- under his belt, his postseason pedigree is well-established.

Very quietly, though, Peralta has had a career year. He led all AL shortstops in OPS and even showed improved range in the field. While he doesn't have the experience of Jeter, he did hit .333 with a .991 OPS in the 2007 playoffs, with the Indians.

EDGE: Tigers

THIRD BASE

Yankees
Alex Rodriguez: .276/16/62
Eric Chavez: .263/2/26

Tigers
Wilson Betemit: .292/5/19
Brandon Inge: .197/3/23
Don Kelly: .245/7/28

This was a rather forgettable season for A-Rod, whose injury issues -- including, but not limited to midseason knee surgery -- made him look an old 36. He was scratched from the lineup on the final day of the regular season with knee injuries, so his status for the Division Series is uncertain.

Third base has been another inconsistent position for the Tigers this season. In July, the club dispatched Inge to Triple-A and traded for Betemit to replace him. Betemit's been a solid pickup. It's possible Inge will get the playing time against lefties.

EDGE: Yankees, but only if A-Rod is healthy

OUTFIELD

Yankees
Brett Gardner: .259/7/36
Curtis Granderson: .262/41/119
Nick Swisher: .260/23/85
Andruw Jones: .247/13/33
Chris Dickerson: .260/1/7

Tigers
Delmon Young: .274/8/32
Austin Jackson: .249/10/45
Magglio Ordonez: .255/5/32
Ryan Raburn: .256/14/49
Andy Dirks: .251/7/28

Granderson has completely rewritten his reputation this season, from a guy who simply couldn't be trusted against lefties to a viable MVP candidate. Gardner and Swisher tend to get overlooked in a loaded lineup, but Gardner can change games with his legs and Swisher has his share of pop (you just wouldn't know it by his lifetime .162 average in 105 postseason at-bats).

The Tigers made a savvy waiver-wire pickup in adding Young in August. He's been a big contributor, seizing the No. 3 spot of the lineup. Jackson, the former Yankees farmhand, endured the dreaded sophomore slump this season but can still be a big sparkplug when he's right. An injury to Brennan Boesch thrust Ordonez back into regular playing time. His best days are behind him, but he did post a strong September.

EDGE: Yankees

DESIGNATED HITTER

Yankees

Jesus Montero: .328/4/12
Jorge Posada: .235/14/44
Eric Chavez: .263/2/26
Andruw Jones: .247/13/33

Tigers
Victor Martinez: .330/12/103

The aging, past-his-prime Posada did not deliver a great deal from the DH spot this season, so now it's a hodgepodge of candidates for the role, with the up-and-coming Montero the most intriguing option, particularly against left-handed pitching.

Like Posada, Martinez also moved to DH this year, but he didn't skip a beat. The lineup protection he's afforded Cabrera has been a huge, huge asset. The Tigers clearly have the upper-hand here.

EDGE: Tigers

STARTING PITCHERS


Yankees
LHP CC Sabathia: 19-8, 3.00, 237 1/3 (W-L, ERA, IP)
RHP Ivan Nova: 16-4, 3.70, 165 1/3
RHP Freddy Garcia: 12-8, 3.62, 146 2/3
RHP A.J. Burnett: 11-11, 5.15, 190 1/3
RHP Bartolo Colon: 8-10, 4.00, 164 1/3

Tigers
RHP Justin Verlander: 24-5, 2.40, 251
RHP Doug Fister: 11-13, 2.83, 216 1/3 (8-1, 1.79, 70 1/3 with Detroit)
RHP Max Scherzer: 15-9, 4.43, 195
LHP Rick Porcello: 14-9, 4.75, 182

The Yankees were unable to lure Cliff Lee, and Andy Pettitte opted to retire, so what you see is what you get, with regard to the rotation. Sabathia's postseason results have been a mixed bag, but he's the closest thing to a sure thing in a rotation riddled with question marks. Much is riding on the rookie Nova.

For much of the season, the Tigers' rotation was a one-man show. What a show it was, as Verlander was posting a season for the ages. But until Fister was brought in from the Mariners at the July 31 Trade Deadline, the rotation lacked depth. Now, the Tigers have as solid a one-two punch as any team in the playoff field. Scherzer is less reliable but awfully tough when he has his best stuff.

EDGE: Tigers

MIDDLE RELIEVERS


Yankees
RHP David Robertson: 4-0, 1.08, 66 2/3
RHP Rafael Soriano: 2-3, 4.12, 39 1/3
LHP Boone Logan: 5-3, 3.46, 41 2/3
RHP Cory Wade: 6-1, 2.04, 39 2/3
RHP Luis Ayala: 2-2, 2.09, 56
RHP Phil Hughes: 5-5, 5.79, 74 2/3
LHP Raul Valdes: 0-0, 2.70, 6 2/3

Tigers
RHP Joaquin Benoit: 4-3, 2.95, 61
LHP Phil Coke: 3-9, 4.47, 108 2/3
RHP Al Alburquerque: 6-1, 1.87, 43 1/3
LHP Daniel Schlereth: 2-2, 3.49, 49
LHP Duane Below: 0-2, 4.34, 29
RHP Ryan Perry: 2-0, 5.35, 37
RHP David Pauley: 0-2, 5.95, 19 2/3

The Yankees offset some of the iffy nature of their rotation with a solid bullpen setup, as Robertson has been one of the best in the business this year and Soriano, since coming off the disabled list in late July, has looked like the guy for whom the Yanks doled out big bucks last winter. They lack a sure-thing second lefty option.

The Tigers joined the Yanks in making a splashy addition of a setup man, signing Benoit to a three-year deal. He also struggled initially but has settled in to become an eighth-inning force. A big X-factor for the Tigers is Alburquerque, who is a seventh-inning weapon provided he doesn't have any further setbacks from the concussion he suffered in August.

EDGE: Yankees

CLOSER

Yankees
RHP Mariano Rivera: 1-2, 1.91, 44 (W-L, ERA, SVs)

Tigers
RHP Jose Valverde: 2-4, 2.24, 49

That regular-season saves record is impressive and all, but Rivera saves his absolute best for the postseason, where he has 42 saves, a 0.71 ERA and a 0.766 WHIP. Unless your name is Luis Gonzalez or Sandy Alomar Jr., he's been virtually unbeatable.

While Rivera is the best closer of all-time, Valverde was arguably the best this season. He didn't suffer a single blown save, his exaggerated celebratory displays either a source of entertainment or a cause of scorn, depending on your perspective. He'll really have reason to celebrate if he gets a chance to close out the Yanks.

EDGE: Yankees


BENCH

Yankees
Eduardo Nunez: .265/5/30
Eric Chavez: .263/2/26
Andruw Jones: .247/13/33
Chris Dickerson: .260/1/7

Tigers
Brandon Inge: .197/3/23
Don Kelly: .245/7/28
Ryan Raburn: .256/14/49
Andy Dirks: .251/7/28

The exact formulation of the Yankees' roster remains to be seen, but we know for certain that this is a deep club. Nunez and Chavez have both proved plenty capable of filling in, when necessary, Either Montero or Posada, depending on who gets the start at DH, would be a fine pinch-hitting option in the late innings.

Losing Boesch for the season and having Guillen unavailable with a calf injury undoubtedly hurts the Tigers, from a depth standpoint. This is also a club notably lacking in the speed department.

EDGE: Yankees


COACHES

Yankees
Manager: Joe Girardi
Bench coach: Tony Pena
Hitting coach: Kevin Long
Pitching coach: Larry Rothschild
Third-base coach: Rob Thomson
First-base coach: Mick Kelleher

Tigers
Manager: Jim Leyland
Hitting coach: Lloyd McClendon
Pitching coach: Jeff Jones
Third-base coach: Gene Lamont
First-base coach: Tom Brookens

Managing the most expensive roster in the game ensures a limit to the amount of credit Girardi can ever receive, but give him his due for keeping this club steadily at or near the top of the East, despite the shakiness of the starting staff, the controversy over Posada's role and subpar seasons from A-Rod and Teixeira. He's encountered plenty of criticism for some past postseason maneuvering. That comes with the territory.

Leyland entered the season on the hot seat, but it cooled when the Tigers ran away with the division in the second half, earning him an extension through 2012. He's a three-time Manager of the Year who has led two pennant winners and one World Series winner -- the 1997 Marlins.

EDGE: Tigers

FANS

Yankees:
Celebrities in the primo seats, history, mystique and, yes, the Bleacher Creatures.

Tigers: Loyal and hungry fan base that's been waiting 27 years for a title.

The energy in Yankee Stadium -- be it this newer version or the one they tore down across the street -- is tough to top come October. The Yanks have star power in the form of famously devoted fans such as Billy Crystal and Rudy Giuliani, they have tradition in the form of the Bleacher Creatures chanting the name of each player in the lineup, and they have cozy dimensions that aid their power-slugging lineup.

Don't count out what the Tigers bring to the table, though. Even in hard economic times, Tigers fans have been fiercely loyal, and the quest to end the long title drought brings an energy all its own. As far as Comerica Park's dimensions are concerned, the Tigers' offense thrives in spite of its spacious home park.

EDGE: Yankees

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:32 pm

Tigers finalize Division Series roster
Porcello, Penny both make roster; Game 4 starter to be decided
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 09/30/11 11:43 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Two years after Rick Porcello nearly pitched the Tigers into the postseason at age 20, he's on the roster for the American League Division Series. So, too, is veteran hurler is Brad Penny, who helped win a World Series for the Florida Marlins in 2003.

The Tigers placed all five members of their regular-season rotation on the 25-man roster for their series against the Yankees. They'll go with a four-man rotation and use the other starter out of the bullpen, but at this point, they haven't yet announced who would start in a potential Game 4. The only definitive statement manager Jim Leyland has made on that topic is that ace Justin Verlander will not pitch on short rest.

Detroit had kept its roster a relative secret up until Friday morning's deadline. The club didn't have many decisions to make, having already acknowledged it would go with a four-man rotation beginning with Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer.

By putting both Porcello and Penny on the roster, the Tigers will go with two left-handers in their seven-man bullpen, leaving Leyland to pick and choose his spots to use them against the Yankees' formidable lineup of left-handed hitters. Phil Coke, Detroit's fifth starter at season's open before shifting back to his old setup role at midseason, will be the primary lefty against his old squad. Daniel Schlereth, making his first postseason appearance, is expected to be used in a situational role, while right-hander Al Alburquerque and his high-strikeout slider could be called upon against lefties with runners in scoring position.

Closer Jose Valverde and setup man Joaquin Benoit head up the seven-man bullpen. Both will be making their second postseason appearances, Benoit having pitched in last year's Division Series for Tampa Bay. Valverde was Arizona's closer during its 2007 run to the National League Championship Series.

Rounding out the bullpen will be Ryan Perry, who made the roster over right-hander David Pauley and lefty Duane Below. Though Perry struggled at times down the stretch of what was an inconsistent third season for the former first-round pick, his ability to use his fastball-slider combination for outs in key situations made an impression. Perry said earlier this week that he feels as good with the mechanics of his pitching as he has at any point in his career.

With just four starters needed, the Tigers opted to use an extra position spot on Omir Santos as a reserve catcher behind Alex Avila. Though Leyland suggested last week he could put Victor Martinez behind the plate if needed -- should Avila suffer an injury -- Martinez hasn't caught a game since spraining his left knee on a slide at home plate in early August. He also left Detroit's regular-season finale Wednesday after fouling a ball off his right big toe.

Leyland could have left Santos off the roster but kept him around as a potential roster move in case of injury. But while teams can now replace injured players in the middle of a series, any player replaced in such a move wouldn't be eligible for the next round of the postseason.

Utility man Don Kelly and rookie outfielder Andy Dirks fill out the list of reserves and provide left-handed bats against the Yankees pitching staff. They're two of 12 Tigers who will be making their first postseason appearances, not counting the AL Central tiebreaker against the Twins in 2009.

Brandon Inge, the longest-tenured Tiger on the roster, made the team, as expected, alongside fellow third baseman Wilson Betemit, who returned from inflammation in his left knee to play in Detroit's final two regular-season games. One of them will get the start in Game 1 on Friday night against Yankees lefty and familiar foe CC Sabathia.

Neither Santos nor Dirks were on the 25-man roster Aug. 31, which is usually the deadline for players to be active in order to be eligible for the postseason. However, they qualified as injury replacements for Brad Thomas and Joel Zumaya, both of whom are on the disabled list. Brennan Boesch is also on the DL, though he'll travel with the team while he recovers from season-ending surgery on his right thumb.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:39 pm

Detroit Tigers Active Roster
DET @ NYY SERIES

# Pitchers B/T
62 Al Alburquerque R-R
53 Joaquin Benoit R-R
40 Phil Coke L-L 6'1"
58 Doug Fister L-R
31 Brad Penny R-R
45 Ryan Perry R-R
48 Rick Porcello R-R
37 Max Scherzer R-R
55 Daniel Schlereth L-L
46 Jose Valverde R-R
35 Justin Verlander R-R

# Catchers B/T
13 Alex Avila L-R
41 Victor Martinez S-R
18 Omir Santos R-R

# Infielders B/T

20 Wilson Betemit S-R
24 Miguel Cabrera R-R
15 Brandon Inge R-R
27 Jhonny Peralta R-R
39 Ramon Santiago S-R

# Outfielders B/T

12 Andy Dirks L-L
14 Austin Jackson R-R
32 Don Kelly L-R 6'4"
30 Magglio Ordonez R-R
25 Ryan Raburn R-R
21 Delmon Young R-R


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:02 pm

Postgame 1 interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 09/30/11 11:42 PM ET

JIM LEYLAND: Heck of a game. It was great. (Laughter).

Q. Jim, can you tell us your pitching plans for tomorrow as far as you can?

JIM LEYLAND: Fister will start tomorrow's game. Followed by Scherzer on Sunday and Verlander on Monday.

Q. Jim, were you surprised by the weather?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, you know, they told us before the game that they thought it was going to be pretty light all the way through. Just a light rain, really; it looked like we would be okay. Then late tonight, real hard. But obviously nobody knows how that works out.

This is not a big deal. Everybody does the best they can. Everybody is kind of scurrying around right now. There's no sense getting excited. It's the way it is.

Q. Jim, can you talk about the disappointment or the effects of that Verlander would only pitch once now in the series?

JIM LEYLAND: I don't worry about stuff like that. I think when the manager makes a big deal about something like that, it affects the players. It is what it is. Good Lord, it rained. So what. It's all about three. It's all about three. Win three, lose three. That's what this is about. The magic number is three for both teams. That's the way it is. There's no sense getting all excited.

Q. Jim, how long would you have waited through that delay to let Verlander go back out? How long would you have sat and let him continue?

JIM LEYLAND: You'll never know. (Laughter).

Q. I don't know if you want to say, Jim, but does this mean Fister is in line for Game 5?

JIM LEYLAND: That would be correct. That's how it would figure out.

Q. Do you know anticipate needing a fourth starter for Game 4?

JIM LEYLAND: I'm going to still use ... I have to start over. I'm using my four guys. Porcello will be pitching at some point. Doesn't look real good for tomorrow.

Q. Jim, it's a suspended game, but they're changing to a right handed pitcher. So what will happen with your lineup, if anything?

JIM LEYLAND: That's a good question. That's the one little dilemma probably, but it will work out. I'm going to keep my lineup in there and see how the game plays out. Obviously, I'm not going to start pulling guys out. I'm not going to change my lineup in the bottom of the second inning tomorrow. My lineup will be the same when we take the field. It would be the same. There could be a point where a pinch hitter could be a factor because of what you ask, which is a good question. That's the way it is. There's no sense getting all excited.

I do feel bad for the national audience, you guys, the fans that were here tonight. Certainly, it was really a marquee matchup. That's a little sad, but that's just the way it is.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:10 pm

Postgame interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/02/11 1:20 AM ET

Q. What kind of a look did you get at the play at the plate when Avila was thrown out? Did you get a look at him if he slides all the way down?

JIM LEYLAND: I think he was out. It was one of those where he hesitated a little bit. Grandy was pretty deep and over a little bit. Gene thought he could still score him, but obviously he did not.

Q. Jim, two questions about the double play Magglio hit into in the sixth. Did you send Jackson there? And when you see that play develop like that, did you figure, this just might not be our night?

JIM LEYLAND:
Not really. We had him going. He just happened to hit it. Magglio hits that hole quite a bit. This one he happened to hit up the middle. He's pretty good at shooting the ball to right field in the hole between first and second. That one he happened to hit right at him, right where Robbie was going.

Q. Jim, your assessment of Nova? The Tigers didn't face him this year, except for relief. What would you say about him tonight?

JIM LEYLAND: I thought Nova was good. He was about what we expected, and he got quite a few outs in the strike zone. He also got a few outs out of the strike zone. And that probably hurt us a little bit. We didn't get him in the strike zone quite enough. Although he did get quite a few outs as well in the strike zone. He pitched well.

Q. Did you find that the Yankees adjusted very well to Fister as the game went on?

JIM LEYLAND: You know what, actually I thought Fister pitched really well. I thought Fister made one bad pitch all night. I thought that was the pitch to Gardner that he got the base hit on. I thought he pitched very, very well. The numbers won't look like that obviously because of the grand slam. But I thought he pitched very well. I thought he made a bad pitch to Gardner. I thought really that's the only bad pitch he really made.

Q. Jim, if you could talk about the Jeter hit on the hit and run play and just how much of a key play that ended up being. Ryan obviously has it going covering second there. Where that ball was placed.

JIM LEYLAND: It really wasn't a hit and run. It it wasn't a hit and run; he was stealing on the play. Derek did what he's done for a long time, he fought a ball off and snuck it through there. That turned out to be a big hit for him, obviously. We've seen him do that a lot over the years. It was not a hit and run.

Q. Jim, we've talked a lot over the years about how Cano hits left-handers as well as he hits right-handers. Albuquerque has been brilliant this year at stranding runners. Are those the reasons to go to Albuquerque there?

JIM LEYLAND: To me, that's one for everyone else to second guess. To me that was a no brainer. If Granderson would have got a hit to make it 6 2, I would have brought in Schlereth. But after he didn't, we loaded the bases. Left-handers are hitting .177 off Albuquerque, .200 off Schlereth. Cano is .320 off of left-handers, .295 off righties. Albuquerque has had a tremendous ratio of swings and misses. He had only faced him one time; he had struck him out. That wasn't the reason for it. I felt that's one of the reasons he's been so valuable for us is he gets both righties and lefties out. He's been tremendous, one of the best in all of baseball in swinging and missing. That's the reason. But obviously, that's one people could talk about. To me that was really a no brainer. If Grandy got a hit to make it 6 2, I would have probably go Schlereth and saved Albuquerque.

I thought that was a huge out. He threw a slider and it didn't do anything. One of the best hitters in baseball hit it out.

Q. The way Justin Verlander was struggling to locate earlier and the way Sabathia was pitching, did you feel coming into today you had gotten the better of the rain delay?

JIM LEYLAND: I'm sorry?

Q. With the way Verlander was struggling to locate yesterday and the way Sabathia was pitching, did you feel that maybe you had gotten the better of the rain delay coming into today?

JIM LEYLAND: No, I don't really think about stuff like that. This is just a series where you're going to pitch your guys. Like I said last night, it was probably unfortunate for the national audience that they missed that match up, but it looks like they'll probably get to see it again.

No, I didn't think of that. I thought Fister would be a good pitcher for us tonight, and I think he was. Like I said, I thought he really made one bad pitch, and that was to Gardner that he got the base hit on.

THE MODERATOR: We'll let you go. Thank you, Jim.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports


Postgame interview with Doug Fister

Q. Hey, Doug, I just want to get your thoughts on the pitch to Gardner. You had him right where you wanted him 0-2. What happened on that pitch? Maybe you didn't get it accomplished?

DOUG FISTER:
I really wanted to bounce the curveball. I left it up a little bit. He put it where he needed to put it. It's a groundball through the hole. They scored some runs on it.

Q. First of all, Doug, how strange was it to just start the game in the bottom of the second inning like that, and then try to get a tempo?

DOUG FISTER: For me, that was a scheduled 8:37 start, wasn't anything different. It's tied 1-1. It's basically a 0-0 ballgame in my head. Just as always. I go up there facing the Yankee lineup, and it's no different for me if it's bottom of the first, top of the first. It's all the same.

Q. Did you feel that in the early going you had like five strikeouts through the fourth inning, and it seemed like you were getting the Yankees to bite on a lot of your pitches that were starting into the zone and dipping out. Did they start laying off pitches later on in your outing? Did that change at all?

DOUG FISTER:
No. They put a few good swings on a ball, and so Alex and I were trying to keep them off balance. They just kept attacking. We tried doing our best to mix them up and put the balls in the right location. I missed my location on a few of them, and obviously they made me pay.

Q. What about Cano, where the ball that almost went out?

DOUG FISTER: You know, he got a good fastball to hit. It didn't obviously sink the way I wanted it to. I left it over the plate. He hit it well.

Q. So you're now projected, if this goes five, you'll be the Game 5 pitcher?

DOUG FISTER:
I couldn't tell you. That's up to Jim.

Q. So he hasn't talked to you about that yet?

DOUG FISTER:
No. We're taking this one step at a time.

Q. I think he kind of indicated that in here yesterday or earlier today.

DOUG FISTER:
No.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks a lot for coming down.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:17 pm

A postgame interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/02/11 6:55 PM ET

Q. Scherzer has been young and inconsistent. Did you think it was going to be a matter of time before you saw the command of three pitches and the location like you saw it today?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, you never know what's going to happen. Big stage, and he was terrific. There was no question about it, he was terrific today against a great lineup. He powered the ball pretty good, mixed his pitches well, got some outs with change ups. He pitched a terrific game.

Q. Jim, can you talk about Miguel's night?

JIM LEYLAND: Cabrera?

Q. Yes.

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think Robinson Cano is a star, a superstar, and I think Miguel Cabrera is, too. Since over the last two nights you saw what those guys do. They're good. In the big stage, and two big time players two nights in a row came up big. A lot of guys came up big today. Benoit was terrific.

Q. Two things, Jim. First of all, what's going through your mind when you see Alex slip on the on deck circle like that?

JIM LEYLAND: It wasn't my most pleasant moment, if that's what you mean. It wasn't a very good feeling. We thought we probably had the third out. All of a sudden, against anybody but particularly against a team like them with the short porch in right field, it was not a good feeling. But it worked out okay.

Q. The other thing, Max had a stretch of 11 balls in 12 pitches in the first inning. Can you talk about his maturity that he was able to regroup after that and pitch as well as he did?

JIM LEYLAND: I think he's a real thought out guy. I think he zeroed in today. He was locked in. He was determined. Wasn't like we knocked Freddy around with their pitching. We didn't do a whole lot, but we got enough.

Like I said, Max was terrific today. Benoit was terrific. And Valverde when it's all said and done, that's pretty terrific, too, to come out of that. They charged him earlier, got the quick home run. Under those conditions, probably tough to get a grip on the ball. You get one of the best hitters in baseball up there. That's not easy to do. That could have been disaster for us.

Fortunately, he made a great pitch when he had to, we got the groundball.

Q. Jim, you touched on Benoit a little bit against the grain, your decision, can you talk about that and how he gutted it out.

JIM LEYLAND: You know, you always have to be careful what you say because everybody holds you to everything you say. This is playoff time, I didn't want to use him in the seventh inning. I felt I had no choice. I felt like if we were going to be in a position where we had a shot to win this game, we definitely had to win it. And I just felt like it was necessary for me to go to him in the seventh and he was terrific.

But it's playoff time. You do some things at playoff time that you don't do over 162 game schedule. Playoff time, we certainly didn't want to get down 0 2.

So you do what you have to do. Sometimes you don't like to do it, but I felt that really, basically, what you do as a manager, you try to do anything that gives your team the best chance to win. You feel it gives you the best shot.

Q. Jim, how reminiscent is it to you of '06, the rain out, you guys coming back and taking Game 2 before you go home. You have three games in a row back to back? You had the same records as you did in '06.

JIM LEYLAND:
Well, it feels good to get a win. I don't worry about the like the rain or stuff like that. I think we've done a good job of handling that. I think you have to have a mindset to do that. If you're going to get concerned about the rain and the families getting home and when are we leaving, are we staying, what happened if after seven innings this game is rained out, if you get caught up in all that stuff, you probably don't have your focus on what you should have it on. I think our club has done a really terrific job of dealing with everything that's come our way. Particularly here.

This is an unbelievable atmosphere, as you know. Unbelievable history. It's not easy to do what we did. And I think the guys zeroed in pretty good. I'm awful proud of them.

Q. And you were able to do the same thing in '06.

JIM LEYLAND: It was a little different situation. '06 is '06 and 2011 is 2011. The lineup is so deep, as it was then. They just send one right after another up there. With that short porch and a lot of lefties, it's pretty scary at times, to be honest with you. We did okay. If you make pitches, you have a chance.

Q. For those of us who don't know Cabrera very well, what's he like in the dugout and the clubhouse? He seems to be pretty chatty around first base.

JIM LEYLAND: He has a lot of energy. What comes out of Cabrera, if you watch him, is how much he loves to play the game. He's like a big kid, or a little kid, however you want to look at it. He just loves to play the game. He's the most instinctive player I have. He's smart. When I mess up, he knows it. Not all of them do, but he does.

He's got a pretty good feel for what's going on.

Q. Do you have an example of that?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, he knows when he's supposed to be on the line and when he's not. He knows if they drag a bunt if I want him to go to second with the ball instead of flipping it back to the pitcher. He's smart. He has terrific instincts and he's got a great face.

Q. Just out of curiosity, given how Cano has been hitting, had you entertained the thought of all of walking him to pitch to A Rod in the ninth?

JIM LEYLAND: Could you repeat that?

Q. Given how well Cano has been hitting, had you entertained the thought of walking him to pitch to A Rod in the ninth?

JIM LEYLAND: That's a great question. It is. That's a great question. You know what, I thought about it. But that other guy has been known for the dramatics, and I figured it's wet, it's slippery, one gets away, one run is in, something like that would happen, a groundball, a ball slips, I just couldn't do it. Hit a ball in the infield, you get him over there and somebody throws it away, the game is tied.

It did cross my mind. Good question.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Jim.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:56 pm

Tigers slip, but don't fall in wild ninth inning
By Aaron Taube / MLB.com | 10/02/11 9:30 PM ET

NEW YORK -- When Detroit catcher Alex Avila slipped on the on-deck circle and lost Curtis Granderson's foul popup in the Yankee Stadium lights in the pouring rain, one couldn't help but think the Yankees were destined to complete a four-run, ninth-inning comeback to snatch Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

For those who have followed the "Core Four" Yankees through their decade and a half of dominance, the missed opportunity with the tying run at the plate appeared to be yet another of the inexplicable but crucial breaks they have received over the years, the sort of occurrences that make even the staunchest believer in science and sabermetrics reconsider the value of the "Yankee mystique."

The popup fell between Avila and third baseman Brandon Inge on the dirt separating the visiting dugout and the infield grass, and for a moment, it was Timo Perez lost on the basepaths, Byung-Hyun Kim coming apart at the seams.

But despite giving up two runs with seemingly more on the way after walking Granderson with two outs, Tigers closer Jose Valverde escaped baseball's most celebrated haunted house unscathed. After a called strike and three more foul balls hit by the dangerous Robinson Cano, Valverde threw an 0-2 sinker that brought about a harmless grounder to second base. The groundout ended the game, tied the series and shifted its momentum as the two teams travel to Detroit.

"I said, 'Wow, this might be our inning. We might have a break there,'" New York's Mark Teixeira said. "You can't come through every single time. Robbie's been so big for us all year long. It's tough to score a lot of runs off a closer like that."

"It was kind of the worst time of day," Avila said. "Twilight, with the rain coming down. Initially I didn't see it, then I picked it up and had a beat on it. Then I ended up stepping on the on-deck circle and slipped. I had no chance to recover after that."

The roller-coaster final frame seemed at first a formality after the Yankees had scored only on Curtis Granderson's solo homer in the eighth against Joaquin Benoit. Then, Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the decision to bring Luis Ayala in to pitch so he could save David Robertson and Rafael Soriano for later in the series.

Ayala hit leadoff man Jhonny Peralta with a pitch and later gave up an RBI single to Don Kelly to give Detroit a 5-1 cushion heading into the bottom of the ninth.

"We still have two more games in a row, in a sense, and we're down three," Girardi said of his decision to use Ayala, who was 2-2 with a 2.09 ERA during the regular season. "If we got it down to two, we were going to make a change. Being down three runs and you know what Valverde has done all year long, we decided to go to Ayala."

Valverde came in with a 5.79 ERA pitching in non-save situations during the regular season, and he again was forced to walk the tight rope as a steady rain turned into a heavy one over the course of the inning.

Nick Swisher blasted a leadoff homer to right-center field. Jorge Posada followed with a triple, and the Yankee fans in attendance could sense another postseason comeback developing.

Posada scored on a sacrifice fly before Valverde blew a 96-mph fastball past Derek Jeter to earn a strikeout prior to Granderson's walk. The crowd greeted Cano with its loudest roar of three days of postseason baseball, a din that at once hoped to energize the batter and spook the pitcher.

As much noise as those 50,596 fans made, Valverde wasn't listening.

"I noticed nobody," said Valverde, who recorded a Major League best 49 saves and posted a 2.24 ERA during the regular season. "The only person I listen to is my catcher, I get the sign, and that's it."

"He was kind of oblivious to the whole scene as far as the place was getting pretty loud, there's men on base and the game's on the line," Avila said. "It just seems that he's used to that."

After it was all over, after Cano had bounced what Valverde said was his pitch to Ramon Santiago and Santiago had thrown the ball safely to first, Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera kissed his right hand and pointed with gratitude to the heavens above.

For once, the baseball gods hovering above the Bronx didn't have it in for the visitors.

"It's not easy," Valverde said. "The Yankees have excellent hitting; all these guys are so great. Every time we play in New York, it's tough for everybody."

Aaron Taube is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:30 am

Rogers to throw out first pitch before Game 3
| 10/02/11 10:40 PM ET

NEW YORK -- The last time the Tigers hosted a playoff game, Kenny Rogers completed a scoreless postseason by beating the Cardinals for Detroit's only victory in the 2006 World Series. Five years later, they're hoping his magic can rub off on Justin Verlander.

Three years after Rogers retired as a Tiger and settled into home life as a dad and coach, the seemingly ageless left-hander will return to Comerica Park to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday night against the Yankees. It will highlight an evening that promises an electric atmosphere in front of one of the best postseason pitching matchups Detroit has seen in quite some time between Verlander and Yankees ace CC Sabathia.

Gates at Comerica Park will open at 6:30 p.m. ET prior to the 8:37 first pitch. The Tigers will again be handing out rally towels to fans after the effect they gave the ballpark in 2006. While Michigan-based country music group Annabelle Road entertains fans with an pregame acoustic set on the main concourse, Michigan-based actor and musician Jeff Daniels will be preparing for a performance of his original song, "Tiger Fan Blues," on top of the Tigers dugout just before starting lineups are announced.

The Selected of God Choir, who gained national acclaim when they appeared with Detroit-based hip-hop artist Eminem and covered his hit "Lose Yourself" in a Super Bowl commercial, will perform the national anthem prior to the game. From there, Rogers will take the same mound where he became a postseason star in 2006.

Master Sergeant Corey Hartzler of the United States Air Force from Saint Clair, Mich., will deliver the game ball. In 19 years of service in the Air Force, he has been deployed 12 times with his most recent tour of duty served in Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Combat Aviation Advisor. He meritoriously received the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:06 am

A Postgame 3 Interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/04/11 12:56 AM ET

Q. Jim, can you talk about the night Justin Verlander gave you.

JIM LEYLAND:
He was terrific. I think he got there was a couple of different times during the game he got overamped. I think the inning where he ended up walking Posada and hit Martin, he got overamped. I think he was probably trying to go for a strikeout, he got overamped a little bit, but he was terrific.

That's just -- I don't think people really realize -- maybe they do, I guess, we do -- I don't think they realize how deep that lineup is. There's no breathers in that lineup. I was a little worried, because he kind of had to amp up a little early. He got in trouble early and had to amp up. I was concerned about that but he got through it. Ended up the pitch count wasn't too bad.

But he was terrific. There's just no breathers in there. Most of them are all a threat to hit the ball out of the ballpark. That's a tough chore.

Q. Jim, can you talk about Inge's and Santiago's night. In particular Inge's double in the third which seemed to get you going.

JIM LEYLAND: That got us going. Ingie came up with a big hit there. That really did get us going a bit. Santiago had a great night, of course. We were thrilled about that. He had done decent against CC, obviously hitting .294 against him. That's why we put him in there tonight. He responded very well. A couple of big hits no question about it. Ingie really got us going. It was good to see. Of course the big blow by Delmon.

Q.
Given Justin's competitiveness, did he have a chance to lobby to come back out or did you just nip it in the bud?

JIM LEYLAND: No, we didn't even talk about it. That was going to be it. He had to exert much effort during the course of the entire game, not just that last inning. Like I said, he had to amp up pretty early. I don't like that. But no, there was no chance he was going to come back out. He didn't say much. I think he felt that he had probably done his job for the night. That was enough.

Obviously, Valverde threw some pitches yesterday. We did everything we could to not come home 0 1. We felt like we had to win that game yesterday. Maybe I wished things would have worked out little differently and we didn't have to use him tonight. But, you know, it's the playoffs.

Q. A couple of quickies: Delmon, here's a guy who you traded for at mid season, it always is a guy who is unsung comes in and has a great contribution to a team in the playoffs. He's done it in this series.

JIM LEYLAND:
No. 1, that's Dave Dombrowski's credit, not mine. He claimed him and we ended up being able to trade for him. You have to give Dave credit.
Delmon was one of the guys that was huge down the stretch for Minnesota last year. We knew that. At pressure time last year he did well for the Twins. One of the big RBI guys down the stretch. We thought it would be a nice addition. Dave was fortunate enough to get him for us.

Q. Just revisiting Verlander, at 120 pitches, is he through for the series?

JIM LEYLAND:
I would say so, yes. I wouldn't do anything foolish. I try not to do anything foolish with any of my pitchers, let alone an arm like that. You saw what a talent that is. I would say he's definitely done for this series.

Q. Talk about the patience your guys had with CC with his control a little off.

JIM LEYLAND:
Well, he obviously had some trouble throwing the ball over the plate a little bit tonight. He's a fantastic pitcher. He's been one of the best, if not the best, for the last four or five years. We were fortunate. He probably wasn't at his best, to be honest with you. Command wise he certainly wasn't. He competes so hard and you're not going to get a whole lot. So we were pretty fortunate.

Q. Valverde has been good, 49 for 49, but you've seen he can sort of be a top step of the dugout guy, gets guys on. What's it like to manage a closer like that who always seems to get out of it, but always has to get into it first?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, it's not always true. He's had some relatively easy games closing games out. You're right. He does get into problems. We know they're going to run on him in certain situations. You can't do much better than what he's done up to this point. So we feel real comfortable with him.
He's one of the most popular players on the team. He's really a wonderful, wonderful guy. He's a great teammate. And when we got him, we talked to some of the guys in Houston. They raved what a teammate he was. That's proved out to be very true.

Q. Jim, Peralta has had some trouble with CC in the past. Can you talk about the contribution from him tonight.

JIM LEYLAND: Yeah, it was funny, because I think I was telling some of you guys before the game, we had a couple of combinations going. Raburn was .177, Jhonny was .059. Santiago was the one guy who had some success. So we had combination of either Raburn and Santiago or Peralta and Raburn. We had it all mixed up and we decided to go with the defense, because we had one guy that hit him pretty good, and that was also our best defense. That's the way we decided to go. Jhonny got a huge, huge hit.

Q. Jim, to Jeter there was a close pitch that wasn't called a strike. Can you talk about the tension in the dugout after that?

JIM LEYLAND:
Well, I mean, you're just pulling so hard. And when you see one from the dugout. We don't get the same vantage point of the umpire. It's natural to react when you see one that looks real close. I haven't really seen the pitch. One of my guys said it was a ball. Somebody else said it was a strike. We don't have the same vantage point. I thought Gerry Davis had a consistent strike zone the entire evening for both sides.

So it's just that you want it so much, it's not very comfortable with a guy that's got over 3,000 or so hits up there in that situation. You figure there's one real close, you hope you might get it. Like I said, I thought Gerry Davis was consistent for both teams the entire evening.

Q. Jim, pretty obvious question: How do you feel about where you stand in the series right now?

JIM LEYLAND: We got two and they got one. That's all it means. Certainly that team is capable of rattling off a bunch in a row, obviously two or more, without question. It's a great team. We put ourselves certainly in a decent position. But that's all we've done. This is a five game series. I've said all along the key number here is three. And we only got two and they got one. That's all that means.
This is a terrific team. Believe me, it's a terrific team we're playing and we think we're a very good team. We think it's certainly a good series, and it's going to continue to be a good series, and they're not going to go away. Trust me, they're not going to go away. We've put ourselves in a decent position, but we still got more to accomplish. So this is a long way from being over.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Jim.


A Postgame Interview with Justin Verlander

Q. Justin, it looks like the strategy is they know you're going to throttle down a few miles per hour on that fastball first inning, and so they're on the attack whether it's Jeter swinging at the first pitch or Granderson going after you for the deep ball. Did that come across to you as being obvious at that point? Is that anything you're going to have to change in a future game?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, it wasn't obvious. The one that Jeter I actually told somebody before the game, I knew he was going to swing first pitch. It was up a little bit and over the middle of the plate. That was just a mistake. If it was down and away, he probably doesn't do what he did. Curtis, actually had a little bit of life on it. It was up and away, as opposed to trying to go up and in. It was two mistakes. Against this lineup, mistakes kill you.

Q. Justin, after you gave up the walk to Posada and they come back and tie the score, can you tell us about your emotions when Delmon hits the home run?

JUSTIN VERLANDER:
Obviously, I was elated. Like I said, this lineup, I lost my rhythm for three batters, and all of a sudden you look up and it's tie game. But this team has a never say die attitude. We've did what we've done all year, which is either come from behind or have big hit when we need it when we're tied. Whatever it may be, we always seem to find a way. Somebody different every night. And tonight it was Delmon. That's why this team is so dangerous, I think. Because top to bottom, anybody can hurt you. And we showed that tonight.

Q. As a pitcher do you take as much gratification in a game like this where you have to gut it out and everything doesn't go great than a game where everything goes perfectly, smooth sailing?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: I would rather go perfectly, be smooth sailing (Laughter). Obviously, tonight, that was not the case. After the first inning, I felt like I found my rhythm. I was going pretty good. Very efficient. Right where I wanted to be. Then all of a sudden, like I said, lost it for three batters. Skip has the utmost faith in me and I appreciate that. He let me go back out there for the eighth. Got through the heart of the lineup. Jose came in and what a job he did. Coming back from throwing 35 pitches last night, can't be easy. I couldn't imagine doing that. The life of a closer. Thankfully, we had the best one in the league this year.

Q. How did you feel about the whole evening after the rain out and coming into this, you said that you wouldn't be able to really explain it until you did it?

JUSTIN VERLANDER:
It felt good. I think adrenaline is an amazing thing. I don't feel like it had any ill effects on me whatsoever. Obviously the life of my fastball was there pretty much the whole game. Probably actually threw harder than I would have liked for most of the game. I might be a little bit sore tomorrow. Like I said, no ill effects. Felt good.

Q. Jim said you're done for the series. He probably wouldn't take any chances on you.

JUSTIN VERLANDER:
I haven't talked to him yet. If I need to go out there, maybe out of relief appearance or something, I'll get in his ear about that. Hopefully we shut it down here tomorrow.

Q. Justin, can you talk about just the pure emotion of tonight coming back home. Obviously fans have been so excited to have you guys back after seeing you go through New York and come back, how they embraced you tonight?

JUSTIN VERLANDER:
The crowd was amazing. You tend to feed off that a bit. They've been great all year. This is a great baseball town. Definitely one of the best, in my opinion. They really showed it tonight. The emotions ran high pretty much all game. It was an exciting game. A fun one to watch. Fun now, nerve wracking to watch as a fan, I'm sure. Can't say enough about this city and the way they've embraced us all year long, especially now.

Q. Justin, as much confidence as you have in Valverde, what were your emotions at the end with Jeter, with all he's done, being at the plate?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: Well, I'm just like 45,000 other people in the stadium at that point. I'm just sitting there watching. Obviously, your heart is racing a bit. You're doing everything you possibly can. If he throws a ball, you move seats. Everything you can do the superstitious baseball way. He's done it all year. Not necessarily saying he's gotten in trouble all year. Sometimes it's three up, three down. Sometimes you get a guy on second. There's been a couple of hairy situations. He always finds a way to get it done. And tonight was another example.

Q. I think you threw five straight pitches to A Rod over 100 or more. Were you aware you were gearing up a little bit? Did you feel you were humping up on the fastball a little bit?

JUSTIN VERLANDER:
Yeah. I was just thinking I didn't want to let him get his hands extended and run into one and really do some damage. Just tried to give it everything I had, and I hoped it would beat him. I ended up walking him. I know he's not having the best of a series right now, but he's still Alex Rodriguez. He can still spring to life anytime and do damage. So you have to be careful.

Q. I think you thought you had Posada on that one at bat before you lost your rhythm for three batters.

JUSTIN VERLANDER:
Yes.

Q. Was there any cause and effect there?

JUSTIN VERLANDER:
What are you talking about?

Q. Did that have any bearing on that?

JUSTIN VERLANDER:
What do you mean?

Q. You were a little unsettled I think because you thought you had Posada struck out.

JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, I felt like I just lost my rhythm. I threw a curveball, then tried to come back with another one. Overcooked it a little bit. It's 2 2. From there I got quick with my mechanics and lost it. I wouldn't say it had anything to do with thinking I had him struck out. That didn't play anything into it. That's the game of baseball.

Q. Is your mentality any different in game when you know you're facing a guy like CC?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, I make a conscious effort not to change my game plan. You know most of the time runs are going to be at a minimum. The only time it changes a little bit is when your team goes out there and scores one or two, and you know you have to shut the other guys down. That's why I was disheartened when I gave up the two runs in the seventh. Like I said, we've done what we did all year. Delmon came up with a huge hit for us.

Q. Looked like Kelly nailed you with a foul ball. Where did it get you? Did you have anything to say to him?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, it nicked me on my left shoulder. It was nothing bad. I gave our hitting coach Lloyd McClendon a little gesture and talked to him a little bit about getting out of the way. I said, he's got to save me there. It nicked me in the left shoulder. Nothing bad. Donny said, "Did that hit you?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Go figure."

Q. You said you maybe threw harder tonight than you wanted to. Can you remember a game when you've thrown that hard for that long?

JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, I really can't. This is the first time I've been in this situation and felt good. 2006 as a rookie I was pretty fatigued and worn out at the end of the year, and I kind of look back at that and say that's what changed my career a bit, having gone through that and experienced that, because I realized how much work goes into pitching for an entire season and preparing yourself to be ready for October. I've worked my tail off since then, and I feel like every year I've been ready for this. And this is why I work so hard. There's no point in holding anything back now.

THE MODERATOR:
Thank you, Justin.


A Postgame Interview with Delmon Young

Q. Delmon, what kind of year has this been for you with the trade, being a hero now in the postseason?

DELMON YOUNG: The total year has been up and down. Ever since I came to Detroit it has been a lot of positives. I've been enjoying the time with the guys over here and winning ballgames all series I mean the divisional championship.
We're just looking to come out here as a team and trying to take care of business tomorrow.

Q. Delmon, can you just walk us through the homer. What did you see and were you anticipating anything there or just reacting?

DELMON YOUNG: I was just going up there, just trying to get a good pitch to hit. Try to get on base for Miggy and Victor coming up after me. We needed desperately to get a run, because playing a tie ballgame with the Yankees late in the game is never fun. There's always some type of spark and magic that they have late in ballgames. If they get a lead, they have Rivera coming in, so we're desperate to try to get some runs across the board late.

Q. Talk about CC's night. Did he seem uncharacteristically wild from the start to you?

DELMON YOUNG: I don't know if he was, like, wild or anything. It was he wasn't putting guys away. Usually on the third pitch once he gets two strikes on us on Friday once he got two strikes, he was putting us away really quick. He just couldn't finish us up quick. It led to good at bats and eventually some walks.

Q. Just considering the year that you had and how weird it has been for you, what did it feel like when you saw that ball go over the fence and you rounded the bases and heard the crowd behind you in this situation?

DELMON YOUNG:
I knew I had Verlander coming out for the eighth and Valverde for the ninth. I was pretty excited knowing we had a lead and we had two of the best pitchers in baseball coming in for the next two innings.

THE MODERATOR:
Thank you, Delmon.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:52 am

Former closer Jones throws out first pitch
By Jason Beck and Chris Vannini / MLB.com | 10/04/11 10:11 PM ET

DETROIT -- Todd Jones remembers having the confidence while mired in a jam like Tigers closer Jose Valverde was on Monday to truly believe he'd get out of it. Now that Jones is a fan instead of a closer, as he was for a club-record 235 saves from 1997-2001 and 2006-08, he knows what it's like to be on the other side.

It's not a competitive rush anymore.

"I think it's more like a dry-heave situation," Jones said before Game 4 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday night. "It's so funny, when you're out there, and you feel like you have a little bit of control, you feel like you're OK. You have bases to work with. Robinson Cano is really not that hot. I can get him out.

"But when you're watching [Valverde] on TV, you feel for the guy. You just want to see him make pitches and get outs. It's a gut-wrenching part of it, being on this side of it. Because as a player, I never really realized how important it was to everybody. For us, we're just trying to go out there and get outs."

Still, when he took the field for the ceremonial first pitch, Jones couldn't resist putting himself in the Big Potato's shoes, or at least his jersey. Wearing Valverde's No. 46, Jones did a Valverde-like ritual on the mound, fired a breaking ball to Brandon Inge behind the plate, then celebrated.

It was a reminder of Jones' sense of humor, which had him wearing a wig while running around the tarp-covered basepaths one night during his playing days -- doing his impression of Magglio Ordonez's walk-off home run that won the 2006 ALCS.

When asked to compare his pitching style to Valverde's, though, Jones said there wasn't much to it.

"I think we're both right-handed," Jones said, "but I think after that, the comparisons kind of go away."


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:01 am

A Postgame 4 Interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/05/11 12:04 AM ET

Q. Jim, when the game was still close, can you talk about Granderson's catches and how big those were?

JIM LEYLAND: I thought it's funny, sometimes you pick a key out in the game, and I think the key out in the game happened in the very first inning when Donnie Kelly smoked that ball and Grandy made a good play. It looked like it might get over his head. If it would have gotten over his head and he had fallen down, it might have been an inside the park home run. That was a huge out right off the bat. And of course he made another very nice catch.

Q. Jim, you praised Burnett before the game. What did you see from him during the game especially after the first inning?

JIM LEYLAND: I told you, his stuff is so good that he can shut you down. I thought we hit some balls pretty decent. He wasn't real sharp early. We had our shot. In the first inning we may have been able to turn the game around. I thought Porcello really threw the ball well. He made a bad pitch to Derek on the double. I thought he really threw the ball. The ball had good life. He actually pitched well, to hold that team down like he did. Like I said, we had a couple of chances real early on. That was a big play in the first inning. Then we got ourselves back into it. We leaked a little bit, obviously, there when we went to the bullpen late, which obviously some guys needed to pitch, and the situation dictated. But we let it get out of hand.

Q. Jim, just confirming, Fister for Game 5?

JIM LEYLAND:
That would be correct.

Q. Can you talk about the mindset of this one. You talked obviously you had to win and they had to win two. Just the mindset of your club, going back to New York after losing 10 1.

JIM LEYLAND: It doesn't surprise me that the series is going five games. That doesn't surprise me at all. Hopefully that suit I bought three or four days ago will be fixed now. I can pick it up when I go back.

Q. You've talked a few times throughout the series that this is exciting, it's fun. Can you talk now going into Yankee Stadium, everything on the line.

JIM LEYLAND: I think that's great. There's no question about it. Yankee Stadium, it's going to be hopping. But I think I want to take this opportunity to certainly thank our fans. I think the excitement here matches anywhere. I think you saw what was going on here last night and again tonight, until it got out of the hand, I think it matches anywhere. It's a great place, Yankee Stadium. This new stadium doesn't have the history, obviously, that the old one did, but still it's going to be a great atmosphere. We'll see what happens.

THE MODERATOR:
Thank you, Jim. We'll see you in New York.

JIM LEYLAND: Thank you.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:00 am

Relaxed Tigers unfazed by task
Club remains calm ahead of Game 5 in the Bronx
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/05/11 2:02 PM ET

NEW YORK -- The Tigers made it this deep into the season by always looking at the next game, not two games beyond, or dwelling on the previous night, but the game right in front of them. Now that their season is riding on one game, it seems right in line with their style.

Their demeanor since Tuesday night's loss to the Yankees that forced Game 5 in their AL Division Series reflects it.

"Obviously, I want to be out there just as bad as anybody else," Game 5 starter Doug Fister said. "But at the same time, we're not putting any more pressure on ourselves. It's our next game. It's our next task at hand. It's the one-pitch-at-a-time mentality."

There was no self-pity in the Tigers' clubhouse in the wake of the 10-1 defeat, no lamenting a chance gone awry, no talk about needing to step up their games. In fact, they seemed surprisingly calm about it.

"We've lost a lot of games this year," catcher Alex Avila said. "Every team loses games. Today, we just got beat. That's the bottom line. Now, we just have to find a way to get one game."

The numbers in the Division Series suggest it's not as difficult as it would seem. Since the start of the Division Series in 1995, visiting teams are 8-6 in Game 5, including three of the last four on the AL side over the last nine years. Most recently, the Rangers upset top-seeded Tampa Bay last year at Tropicana Field after losing Games 3 and 4 at home to start their run to the World Series.

The Rangers had the advantage of the off-day between Games 4 and 5, which was added in recent years to avoid a difficult travel turnaround. So will the Tigers.

"We didn't play the way we wanted to," Brandon Inge said, "but you know how momentum works. You just got beat. If you had to go right into a game tomorrow, you might be thinking that they're still hot. We get that day off and we sit there and you get angry about it a little bit and get motivated going into their place, knowing that it's going to be tough."

That didn't change once they arrived in New York on Wednesday, having slept at home Tuesday night instead of flying out after the game like usual. And a series that began with manager Jim Leyland keeping his decisions in relative secrecy closed with no secrets coming from the Tigers skipper.

"I'm playing Don Kelly at third base tomorrow, and Magglio Ordonez in right field," said Leyland, answering two questions about his starting lineup.

He'll use Kelly as the hot left-handed bat, with a short porch in right field. He had Ordonez in his plans before he knew he needed this game, opting for the fresh bat and battle-tested veteran.

Leyland was just getting started.

"Basically, being totally honest with you, I would like to get through this game tomorrow with Fister, [Phil] Coke if necessary, [Joaquin] Benoit and [Jose] Valverde," Leyland said. "There's no secret to that. That's what we would like to get through the game with."

Max Scherzer is available after his gem of a start on Sunday. Justin Verlander, according to Leyland, is not, though Verlander said a few days ago he would lobby hard for it and might sneak into the bullpen anyway. Short of that, it's all hands on deck, but the right hands.

No state secrets, no whispers. Here's Detroit's best, and Leyland will put them up against the best of the Bronx Bombers. Let the better team win.

"We'll respond like we always do," Leyland said. "We've got a big game with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. It's a great scenario. It's great for baseball. It turned out to be a five-game series. I wish I could tell you what's going to happen, but I don't know. But I feel good. I'm sure they feel good. We have hopefully nine innings to play, and we'll see what happens."

Fister sounded the same way about his start. When asked what he'll take from his Game 1 assignment last Saturday, when he retired 11 straight Yankees before getting roughed up for six runs, Fister said he won't change his approach. He'll focus on his strengths.

"I probably won't watch any video," he said. "I'll do what I do, go by the feel of things and just continue to work on what I do."


Fister and Ivan Nova will provide the 10th Division Series pitching rematch in a Game 5. Five of his first nine have gone to the team that won the first matchup -- an advantage, but not as decisive as one might expect.

The play-good-baseball approach is what the Tigers took when they headed into their must-win stretch to pull away in the AL Central in early September. With each victory on their way to 12 straight, they talked about playing good baseball on that particular day, not worrying about the standings. Miguel Cabrera said every game was a playoff game at that point.

As Cabrera talked following Tuesday's loss, he didn't look like somebody feeling the stress of a looming must-win affair. In fact, he had a little crack of a smile crossing his face, enough to lighten the situation without completely overlooking it. He joked with a television crew that asked him about the challenge they face Wednesday, eventually correcting the day on them.

"We have to play nine innings," Cabrera said. "I don't know how comfortable they feel, but I think we have a very good club, and we have a lot of confidence that we can win one more game. If we go out there and play hard, man, that's what matters. Play hard and play good baseball."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:45 am

An Workout Day Interview With Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/05/11 7:41 PM ET

Q. Jim, one thing that's kind of stood out from your regular season was the ability of your players to kind of focus just on the next game and not look too far ahead or dwell too far behind. Do you think that outlook carries over into a winner take all scenario like this?

JIM LEYLAND: We got one game or several games left. It's that simple. Actually, I don't know what happened from 12:30, 1:00 last night till now. We had a nice plane ride. I don't know what I'm doing here, because nothing really happened (laughter). I appreciate everybody that showed up. We went on Delta, we had coffee and we had donuts and everything on the plane. It was wonderful. I appreciate all of you coming out. We'll respond. Like we always do. We got a big game with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. It's a great scenario. It's great for baseball. It turned out to be a five game series. I wish I could tell you what's going to happen, but I don't know. But we feel good. I'm sure they feel good. We have hopefully nine innings to play and we'll see what happens.

Q. Jim, what do you expect from Fister tomorrow, learning from the first outing he had here?

JIM LEYLAND: Fister is a really good pitcher. I have no idea what's going to happen. Nova is a good pitcher. He beat us in the first game here. Actually, the start of the first game here, when we picked it up. Both of them are very good pitchers. It's one game. I don't know what's going to happen. Somebody can get a good bounce or a bad bounce. Somebody can hit a dramatic home run. Somebody can make an error. I can't predict that.

Q. Jim, Cabrera after you guys lost to Nova said that you guys might have helped him out a little bit with swinging at certain pitches. Do you guys have to be a little more patient when you face him the second time?

JIM LEYLAND: Yes, I think that's a great point. I think anytime you see a pitcher for the first time you're really not sure. I think we really got out of the strike zone a little more in this series than I had hoped we would. Hopefully now that we've seen him we'll have a little better idea the second time around. I think that usually holds true. So we'll see how that plays out. But he's good. And our guy's good. It should be a good game. Last night's game was sloppy at the end. It's been a very good series. It's tied up 2 2. It's great for everybody. It's great for the TV. It's great for the nation to see it. Perfect.

Q. Jim, Brett Gardner has had a few big hits in this series, five RBIs. Has it been a surprise how productive he's been in the bottom of the lineup?

JIM LEYLAND:
No, in fact, I talked about that with my pitching coach this morning before we left. He's done a great job. He's been real pesky. I think sometimes you get through that big part of the order and all those big guys, and maybe you lose your concentration a little bit. He's a bear down guy. He's a real hard nosed player and everything. A real determined guy. We're going to have to do a better job. Martin got a couple of big hits for them last night to get things going. That's what I talked about. Their lineup is so stretched out, it's so good. There's no breathers. Once in a while in a lineup you find a breather here and there. With this lineup there's no breathers. The other thing is Gardner is real dangerous because he can generate a run with his legs. He can steal a base, go first to third, score from first on a gapper for sure. He's a good player. We have to do a little better job with him.

Q. Considering the pressures that come with Game 5, are you more willing to go with a veteran like Brandon Inge at third base, even if the match up doesn't play in his favor?

JIM LEYLAND:
I'm playing Don Kelly at third base tomorrow, and Magglio Ordoñez in right field.

Q. One other question about Magglio: It's obviously been a rough year for him. What do you think about the way he bounced back? And obviously he didn't have a role in your team for a little while there.

JIM LEYLAND:
I think he's done a good job. I think he got freshened up a little bit. I think the ankle was sore for the first part of the season and his playing time got cut down. I think it actually helped him a bit. I think he stayed fresher. I think he feels better. He was already told yesterday he would be playing in this game tomorrow, if there was this game. So he'll be ready to go, and Don Kelly will play third base. It is what it is. We got what we got. They've got what they got. And we're going to play this game tomorrow and see how it turns out. I think everybody is excited about it. I'm sure New York is. I'm sure the Yankees are. They're back at home with their fans. We had great support in Detroit, as all of you saw that were there, with the excitement and everything. This is what baseball is all about. We have a fifth game at Yankee Stadium. It doesn't get much better than that.

Q. Jim, will Scherzer be available tomorrow?

JIM LEYLAND: Scherzer would be available.

Q. The same question about Verlander.

JIM LEYLAND: No.

Q. Verlander will not be available?

JIM LEYLAND: No.

Q. What are your game day superstitions?

JIM LEYLAND: I don't really have any game day superstitions. I don't know. I'll come on the bus tomorrow. I won't do anything different, really.

Q. Jim, just following up on the question on Verlander, is it disappointing the way it's worked out just by this whole rain out schedule and everything that you don't have Verlander available even for a bit tomorrow?

JIM LEYLAND: I don't think it's disappointing at all. I think what happened is you saw him and CC in that game at home. I think it was electric. I think certainly everybody got their money's worth. I would assume the TV ratings were good. You saw 100 mile per hour, 101 mile per hour fastball. No, that's just the way it played out. I don't think it's disappointing. I'm thankful everybody got to see him. To be honest with you, our fans got to see that game that Verlander pitched. So it worked out pretty good. No problem.

Q. Jim, can you talk a little bit more about Kelly, what you saw last night, and why you made this decision?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I just think if you saw the game last night, Wilson struggled. He had a tough night offensively. Kelly has been actually pretty hot, swinging the bat pretty good. He's a very versatile guy. The plan would be, as always, if we could we're fortunate to get a lead, at some point put Kelly in right and put Inge at third. Going with a little bit of a hot bat. I think he's played well. It's a short porch for Wilson obviously, but it's a pretty short porch for Kelly as well. So that was why I made that decision.

Q. Jim, can you pinpoint the cause of Albuquerque's troubles in this series? And will those struggles affect how you use him tomorrow possibly?

JIM LEYLAND: I basically think because he's been so idle. He really hasn't pitched much lately. I think it's caught up with him. He's not sharp. Needless to say he's not sharp right now. I think the time being away and not getting out there on a more consistent basis with the injury that he had has really hurt him as far as how he's throwing right now. You know the stuff is just not as crisp. The control is just not as good. Basically, being totally honest with you, I would like to get through this game tomorrow with Fister, Coke, if necessary, Benoit and Valverde. There's no secret to that. That's what we would like to get through the game with.

Q. Jim, correct me if I'm wrong, was Larry Rothschild on your staff in '97 with Florida?

JIM LEYLAND: Larry Rothschild was the pitching coach in 1997 for the Florida Marlins when we won the World Series and I was the manager, yes.

Q. Is his real value with the pitching staff sort of the way he works with them behind the scenes?

JIM LEYLAND: He's as good as it gets. He's got a great demeanor. He's very bright. The combination of a Major League pitching coach in today's world has changed a little bit: You have to have a good feel for mechanics, working with guys and all of that type of stuff, but you also have to have a good feel for how to get hitters out. You have to look at much more video than they ever did in the past. He's tremendous with a game plan. He's as good as it gets. Plus he has a great demeanor with people. He's a good people person. Good personality and very, very low key. He's the total package for a pitching coach. I thought he was terrific.

Q. Jim, do you approach a game like tomorrow's any differently now than you would have when you were ten or 20 years younger?

JIM LEYLAND:
No, I don't think so. I think you might have to do what I did the other day; you might have to go to Benoit in the seventh, something like that. But, no, you don't really coach the game I have to do what I have to do to try to win that game tomorrow, just like Joe is going to do. I'm sure he's feeling pretty good with Robertson sitting there rested and Mariano sitting there rested and his starter. And we feel pretty good about our combination that we've got. That's certainly not to slight anybody else in the bullpen. It's just I think that would be my game plan hopefully to get by with those three guys or so, four guys, possibly, but three. If you're using long men and all that tomorrow, you're probably in trouble.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:48 am

A postgame 5 interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/07/11 12:13 AM ET

Tigers manager Jim Leyland participated in an interview following Thursday's 3-2 win over the Yankees in Game 5 of the American League Division Series.

Q. Can you just talk about Benoit's performance.

Leyland: What a gutty performance. He actually had a thing on his face. He has a big lump on his face, an ingrown hair that just swelled up on him. I don't know if it has a chance to get infected. Of course, the band-aid. Of course, he couldn't pitch with it. We were concerned with it.

What a tremendous gutty performance. He's been like that all year. Very fortunate to have him. A great free-agent sign by Dave Dombrowski. You have to credit Dave a lot for that.

Q. You've managed a lot of intense games, the one game playoff against Minnesota. How would you put that up against those games?

Leyland: The Yankees are so good that I would be lying if I said it didn't give me a little extra satisfaction to be able to do it here in the fifth game. I don't mean that disrespectfully, I mean that respectfully.

It gave me a great thrill to be able to do it here in Yankee Stadium in Game 5. Unbelievable. I was just talking to Dave Dombrowski, other than the American League pennant and that time in the World Series, this will be a game I'll remember for the rest of my life.

Q. If you remember this the rest of your life, did you reflect at any point on '91 with Cabrera's hit and Sid Bream coming home and how close you were then?

Leyland: When you're as old as I am, you usually see the good side and the bad side. I've seen both of them. Suffered the agony of defeat and tasted a lot of wonderful victories. I really wasn't thinking about that tonight, to be honest with you. I was just thinking about that short porch in the ninth inning with Granderson and Cano in particular, and of course A-Rod could spit it over that right-field fence. It wasn't an easy task. Valverde was tremendous.

Q. Delmon Young gave you so much help through this playoff series, as he did during the second half. He leaves the game with what we were told was a mild oblique. Can you give us any sense for whether or not he might be in trouble for the next series?

Leyland: To be honest with you, I haven't really checked into that yet. There's no way to really do that just yet, because everyone is celebrating so much. I'll talk to the trainers at some point. But I think right now those guys are so happy, they're all jumping up and down. The only thing I'm worried about Delmon right now is that he strains it more, because he looks very happy jumping up and down in that clubhouse.

Q. Jim, talk a little bit more about what went into your decision to play Don Kelly tonight and to bat him second.

Leyland: Well, as I said before the game, sometimes things just work out for you. But I felt like he's been swinging the bat real good. As I said before the game, he's got a little pop to him and he can reach that right-field fence. Of course, it didn't take him long to do it.

I'm real proud of him. It couldn't happen to a better kid. To have this moment in Yankee Stadium for Donnie Kelly, you've got your stars, but to happen to a guy like this, that's real special. That's a memory he'll have. Cabrera and those guys are going to have millions of memories, but this is one that Donnie Kelly will have forever. It's a real special moment.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:46 am

ALCS position by position: Tigers-Rangers
By Tom Singer / MLB.com | 10/07/11 3:12 AM ET

In the big picture, the Texas Rangers do not match up well with the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series. In nine regular-season meetings, Tigers batters hit .317 off Texas pitching while the team's staff posted a 3.71 ERA.

Oh, and Detroit won six of the nine games; the same ratio will get the Tigers to the 2011 World Series.

The big picture, however, does not always tell the whole story. So let's check out the position-by-position insets for insights on the ALCS, which begins Saturday in Arlington.

CATCHER

Tigers
Alex Avila: .295, 19 HR, 82 RBIs
Omir Santos: .227, 0 HR, 0 RBIs

Avila had a breakout All-Star season after batting just .228 as a rookie last year, earning his spot in the middle portion of a potent lineup. Santos figures to be used on defense if Avila has to leave for a late-game pinch-runner. Victor Martinez is still listed as a catcher, but hasn't been behind the plate since Aug. 4.

Rangers
Mike Napoli: .320, 30 HR, 75 RBIs
Yorvit Torrealba: .273, 7 HR, 37 RBIs

Napoli has made balls disappear over walls all season and has become such a vital weapon he finally made even Torrealba disappear in the Division Series, becoming a mainstay behind the plate against any-side pitching. Including the ALDS, the Rangers are 36-10 when Napoli drives in a run.

EDGE: Rangers

FIRST BASE

Tigers
Miguel Cabrera: .344, 30 HR, 105 RBIs
Don Kelly: .245, 7 HR, 28 RBIs

Cabrera overcame well-publicized preseason personal distractions to slug his way to an AL batting title while putting up typical power numbers (fifth straight 30-100 season). He recognized that having Martinez behind him would lead pitchers to try working around him and has been patient enough to draw 108 walks, for a .448 on-base percentage, also tops in the Majors.

Rangers
Mitch Moreland: .259, 16 HR, 51 RBIs

Moreland is off to a quiet postseason start (1-for-10, the hit being a home run) after starring last October with a .348 average. Will be a big weapon for Texas against Detroit's all-righty rotation. Fifteen of Moreland's homers came off right-handers.

EDGE: Tigers

SECOND BASE

Tigers
Ramon Santiago: .260, 5 HR, 30 RBIs
Ryan Raburn: .256, 14 HR, 49 RBIs

It's been a revolving door for the Tigers at second base this season. Santiago was the fifth player given a regular shot at the position, and his solid glove and strong arm have been a big asset. It's not his specialty, but he even came up with a couple of clutch hits in the ALDS.

Rangers
Ian Kinsler: .255, 32 HR, 77 RBIs

With his second 30-30 season in the books, Kinsler's game includes the element of speed. The 29-year-old is again hitting for power -- after hitting nine homers in an injury-riddled 2010 season. Kinsler is always a threat to grab early momentum for Texas with a leadoff homer.

EDGE: Rangers

THIRD BASE

Tigers
Wilson Betemit: .292, 5 HR, 19 RBIs
Brandon Inge: .197, 3 HR, 23 RBIs
Don Kelly: .245, 7 HR, 28 RBIs

Third base has been another inconsistent position for the Tigers this season. In July, the club even sent Detroit favorite Inge to Triple-A and traded for Betemit to replace him. Betemit may have lost manager Jim Leyland's confidence with some terrible at-bats in Game 4 of the ALDS; Kelly got the start in the decisive Game 5.

Rangers
Adrian Beltre: .296, 32 HR, 105 RBIs

Beltre came into the postseason on fire -- 12 homers in his last 16 games -- and turned up the heat on the Rays, finishing them off with his three homers in Game 4 of the ALDS. And he fields his position like a .180 hitter who has to earn his keep with the glove.

EDGE: Rangers

SHORTSTOP

Tigers
Jhonny Peralta: .299, 21 HR, 86 RBIs
Ramon Santiago: .260, 5 HR, 30 RBIs

In the ALDS, Peralta gave no hint of what had been a career year for him. He led all AL shortstops in OPS, hit a career-high .299 and popped 21 homers. He had a quiet (4-for-18, one RBI) series against the Yankees. His ALCS experience is good: He homered twice and drive in eight runs for the Indians in 2007 against Boston.

Rangers
Elvis Andrus: .279, 5 HR, 60 RBIs

Andrus really shined in the playoffs last season, particularly in the first two rounds, so there is no need to conclude from his ALDS (2-for-14) that the youngster can't handle postseason heat. Even if he continues to slump, his glove will keep him as a difference-maker. The Rangers will need his disruptive speed on the bases.

EDGE: Rangers

OUTFIELD

Tigers
Delmon Young: .274, 8 HR, 32 RBIs
Austin Jackson: .249, 10 HR, 45 RBIs
Magglio Ordonez: .255, 5 HR, 32 RBIs
Ryan Raburn: .256, 14 HR, 49 RBIs
Andy Dirks: .251, 7 HR, 28 RBIs

The Tigers made a savvy waiver-wire pickup in adding Young in August. He continued to be a big contributor in the ALDS, but the Tigers will have to hold their breaths over whether an oblique strain will prevent him from playing. Jackson endured the dreaded sophomore slump but has the potential to influence any game with his speed in the field and on the bases. Ordonez is trying to turn back the clock and got off to a good start (5-for-11) in the ALDS.

Rangers
Josh Hamilton: .298, 25 HR, 94 RBIs
Endy Chavez: .301, 5 HR, 27 RBIs
Nelson Cruz: .263, 29 HR, 87 RBIs
David Murphy: .275, 11 HR, 46 RBIs

Texas survived the ALDS with no long balls and only two RBIs -- both by Hamilton -- from this outfield, but they won't be as dispensable this time around. Cruz is still searching for his swing since missing the first half of September with a strained left hamstring; upon returning, he hit one homer his last 49 at-bats, then went 1-for-15 in the ALDS.

EDGE: Rangers


DESIGNATED HITTER

Tigers
Victor Martinez: .330, 12 HR, 103 RBIs

Martinez used to platoon between first and catcher and now platoons between only the left- and right-side batter's boxes, but he is the rarity who had no trouble transitioning to full-time DH duty. The lineup protection he's afforded Cabrera has been a tremendous asset, making the middle of the Tigers' lineup as fearsome as any.

Rangers
Michael Young: .338, 11 HR, 106 RBIs

Young's role changed dramatically with Beltre's arrival, but not so his production. Unlike Martinez, he remains likely to pop up anywhere on the field -- first, third, second. But hitting has always been his best position.

EDGE: Tigers

STARTING PITCHERS

Tigers
Justin Verlander: 24-5, 2.40 ERA, 250 Ks
Doug Fister: 11-13, 2.83 ERA, 146 Ks (8-1, 1.79 ERA, 57 Ks with Detroit)
Max Scherzer: 15-9, 4.43 ERA, 174 Ks
Rick Porcello: 14-9, 4.75 ERA, 104 Ks

As Fister again showed in the decisive Game 5 of the ALDS, this is no longer a one-man show starring Verlander. Verlander still has the lead, but Fister and Scherzer make up quite a supporting cast. Prior to Fister's July 31 acquisition from Seattle, the Tigers' No. 5 starters had a cumulative record of 4-17. Scherzer may be more volatile but is awfully tough with his best stuff.

Rangers
C.J. Wilson: 16-7, 2.94 ERA, 206 Ks
Derek Holland: 16-5, 3.95 ERA, 162 Ks
Colby Lewis: 14-10, 4.40 ERA, 169 Ks
Matt Harrison: 14-9, 3.39 ERA, 126

C.L. is still around to pitch the Rangers deep into the postseason. Not Cliff Lee, but Colby Lewis has been just as good in October (4-0, 1.67). Better rotation depth, but all but Wilson got beat up pretty well by the Tigers in regular-season play, the three others combining for an ERA of 10.38.

EDGE: Tigers

MIDDLE RELIEVERS

Tigers
Joaquin Benoit: 4-3, 2.95 ERA, 66 G
Phil Coke: 3-9, 4.47 ERA, 48 G
Al Alburquerque: 6-1, 1.87 ERA, 41 G
Daniel Schlereth: 2-2, 3.49 ERA, 49 G
Ryan Perry: 2-0, 5.35 ERA, 36 G
Brad Penny: 11-11, 5.30, 31 starts

The Tigers' controversial addition of Benoit, signing the free agent to a rich three-year deal, paid big-time dividends in the ALDS. It took Benoit a while, but he settled in to become an eighth-inning force. Alburquerque became a question mark when he suffered a concussion in August and the erstwhile seventh-inning weapon is an even bigger unknown off his ALDS woes (three runs, while getting only one out in two appearances).

Rangers
Alexi Ogando: 13-8, 3.51 ERA, 31 G (29 starts)
Darren Oliver: 5-5, 2.29 ERA, 61 G
Mike Adams: 5-4, 1.47 ERA, 75 G (2-3, 2.10 ERA, 27 G with Texas)
Koji Uehara: 2-3, 2.35 ERA, 65 G (1-2, 4.00 ERA, 22 G with Texas)
Mike Gonzalez: 2-2, 4.39 ERA, 56 (0-0, 5.14 ERA, 7 G with Texas)

This area was general manager Jon Daniels' biggest in-season project, and he aced it by adding Adams, Uehara and Gonzalez. Both teams have displaced starters in the bullpen, but while the Tigers have Penny, Texas had Ogando, who in the ALDS got back in relief mode as if getting back on a bicycle.

EDGE: Rangers

CLOSER

Tigers
Jose Valverde: 2-4, 2.24 ERA, 49 saves

Broadway Jose Valverde backed up his post-Game 2 boast that the ALDS was over, and has extended his regular-season perfection in 49 save opportunities through two more. His exaggerated celebratory displays are either a source of entertainment or a cause of scorn, depending on perspective.

Rangers
Neftali Feliz: 2-3, 2.74, 32 saves

In midseason, team president and CEO Nolan Ryan bemoaned the fact Feliz did not appear to be pitching with any sense of urgency, occasionally letting trouble get out of hand. You want urgency, you want the postseason: He saved each of Texas' ALDS wins, building on a strong regular-season finish.

EDGE: Tigers

BENCH

Tigers
Brandon Inge: .197, 3 HR, 23 RBIs
Don Kelly: .245, 7 HR, 28 RBIs
Ryan Raburn: .256, 14 HR, 49 RBIs
Andy Dirks: .251, 7 HR, 28 RBIs

On some days, this isn't even a bench but part of the Tigers'; starting lineup. Leyland used five different combinations in the five ALDS games, a testament to the versatility available when these guys don't start. Losing Brennan Boesch for the season and having Carlos Guillen unavailable with a calf injury undoubtedly does hurt the Tigers' depth.

Rangers
Esteban German: .455, 1 HR, 4 RBIs
Matt Treanor: .214, 3 HR, 22 RBIs
Craig Gentry: .271, 1 HR, 13 RBIs
Endy Chavez: .301, 5 HR, 27 RBIs
Yorvit Torrealba: .273, 7 HR, 37 RBIs

The Rangers have rocks at most of their positions but make full use of the flexible ones: Moreland, Napoli and even Young can pop up at first base, and when they want an extra bat against lefty pitchers, Torrealba squats behind the plate. When he's not starting, Gentry is a safe bet to enter late if Texas has a lead.

EDGE: Rangers


COACHES

Tigers
Manager: Jim Leyland
Hitting coach: Lloyd McClendon
Pitching coach: Jeff Jones
Third-base coach: Gene Lamont
First-base coach: Tom Brookens

Leyland's successful lineup juggling against the Yankees once again validated his reputation as one of the game's most savvy skippers. The Tigers' eventual AL Central runaway earned him an extension through 2012. He has three Manager of the Year Awards, is in the postseason for the seventh time, but still has only one ring -- earned with the 1997 Marlins.

Rangers
Manager: Ron Washington
Bench coach: Jackie Moore
Hitting coach: Scott Coolbaugh
Pitching coach: Mike Maddux
Third-base coach: Dave Anderson
First-base coach: Gary Pettis

Washington is the kind of manager players like having with them in the trenches. He is a master motivator, expressing his beliefs with a confidence that becomes contagious. Knowledge of his players' tools and ticks enables him to consistently place them in situations that give them a good chance to succeed.

EDGE: Tigers

FANS

Tigers: Loyal and hungry fan base that's been waiting 27 years for a title.

Rangers: Enthusiastic, have reacted passionately to team's success.

Don't count out what the Tigers bring to the table, though. Even in hard economic times, Tigers fans have been fiercely loyal, and the quest to end the long title drought brings an energy all its own.

That other outfit may still bill itself as "America's Team," but when October rolls around the Rangers now are "Dallas-Fort Worth's Team." No area loves a winner like this one, reflected in its rank in some surveys as the nation's best sports town. However, Rangers crowds can't intimidate like those in Motown.

EDGE: Tigers

Tom Singer is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow @Tom_Singer on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:53 am

Leyland tabs Scherzer for Game 2 vs. Rangers
After Verlander opens, Fister, Porcello round out Tigers' rotation
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com | 10/07/11 7:45 PM ET

ARLINGTON -- The Tigers' starting rotation for the American League Championship Series against the Rangers, behind Game 1 starter Justin Verlander, is set.

Verlander is slated to match C.J. Wilson in Saturday night's opener, at Rangers Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. on FOX). Beyond that, Detroit manager Jim Leyland named Max Scherzer his starter for Game 2 on Sunday night, and he will be followed in Detroit by Doug Fister on Tuesday and Rick Porcello on Wednesday.
If the best-of-seven series goes beyond four games, it will pick back up at the top with Verlander, Scherzer and Fister penciled in for the final three games.

"Obviously, some of [this decision] is because of what we had to do in the last day or so, but there's no secret to that," Leyland said. "There's no sense of holding it off. I'll give it to you guys, and then you don't have to bug me the rest of the time. It makes it easier for me, and it makes it easier for you."

Verlander, of course, was aware he would start Game 1 of the ALCS if the Tigers survived the first round against the Yankees, which they did in five games with Thursday's 3-2 win in New York. Verlander, the consensus AL Cy Young Award frontrunner, is now pitching on his regular five-day cycle. Including an 11-strikeout victory in Game 3 of that series, Verlander is now 25-5 on the season.

Scherzer replaced Fister in relief on Thursday night and pitched to six batters as a bridge to relievers Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde. Leyland originally said on Friday that Porcello would start Game 2 and Scherzer Game 4, but he changed his mind after determining that Scherzer could start on two days' rest. That also gives Leyland the opportunity to start Scherzer, the winner against the Yankees in Game 2, twice vs. the Rangers.

Scherzer said he is ready to go whenever Leyland can fit him in.

"It was just an opportunity for me to get in the game and help the team win," Scherzer said about his relief stint in Game 5. "To be able to come out there and do that with everything on the line, that type of situation was huge. It's the postseason. You've got to be ready for whenever you get the ball. At this time of the year -- you can be on short rest or you can be on long rest -- whenever you get the ball, you've got to be at your best."

Porcello dropped Game 4 before Fister pitched five rugged innings as the winning pitcher in Game 5. He pitched twice at Yankee Stadium in the series, losing the resumption of the washed out and suspended Game 1 this past Saturday night, 9-3. So pitching at home in Comerica Park has got to be a breeze in comparison.

"I don't know if I would say that. It's definitely not a breeze," Fister said. "It's going to be nice pitching in front of our fans back at home. It's a great atmosphere there and I'm looking forward to pitching in it, but Texas has a great lineup. They're in this Championship Series with us for a reason."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:51 pm

Role players make difference for Tigers
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/07/11 3:00 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Don Kelly had found a safe hiding place in the hallway of the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium when the roar from inside called him back. His first-inning home run had just been replayed on MLB Network's highlights running on the televisions overhead, and his teammates spotted him.

They formed a line on either side as he paraded in like a celebrity. To most baseball fans, he's an unknown. To the Tigers, he's a key contributor. He's also one example of how this series was won.

"Different people picked it up for us," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said.

The Yankees have the largest payroll in baseball and the talent that it brings. The Tigers have the certain AL Cy Young winner, two AL MVP candidates, the just-honored Delivery Man of the Year winner for top relief pitcher, and young talent throughout.

Yet the series didn't turn on the stars. It turned on guys like Kelly, a utility player who got the surprise start at third base in Game 5, and Doug Fister, a fourth starter in Seattle until the Tigers traded for him and watched him blossom into a front-line arm. It turned on Delmon Young, who had become an eighth hitter in Minnesota, but got to bat in front of Miguel Cabrera upon arrival in Detroit.

The Yankees dominated two games, running away with them by battering the inexperienced end of Detroit's bullpen for big innings in Games 1 and 4. All three Tigers wins were nail-biters, with a combined margin of victory of four runs.

Add up the games, and the Tigers won with a negative-11 run differential for the five-game series. No team had been outscored that much and won since the Division Series round was added in 1995.

But that margin didn't reflect the talent level.

"We feel like we have a complete team," catcher Alex Avila said. "We're not going to wow you at anything. We're not really good in one area or another, except for one starting pitcher. We're just really solid in all the other aspects of the game. We're not the greatest defensive team, but we're solid. Offensively, we're not a juggernaut, but we're going to put up enough runs and put quality at-bats together. Pitching-wise, what our guys have done the last few months has been amazing, and what you need to win."

Before the series, that one starting pitcher was the center of attention. It was difficult to envision the Tigers beating the Bronx Bombers without two wins from Justin Verlander, who was set up to pitch twice in a five-game series. Once rain suspended Game 1 in the second inning, they had to find a different way.

They got a win from Verlander, but in Game 3 after coming back from the rainout and outdueling CC Sabathia. They got the kind of outing from Max Scherzer that made him one of baseball's strongest starters down the stretch last year and made for the good side of his inconsistent 2011 season. Then he pitched out of the bullpen in Game 5 to follow Fister, who rebounded from his first loss since mid-August to pitch like a front-line starter once again.

With the series hanging on one final game, having inherited the two-start role (kind of), Fister went up against the same lineup that seemingly figured him out last Saturday in the resumption of the suspended Game 1 and kept them off-balance.

"These guys have pitched all year long," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You look at what they've done. I look at this [Game 5] and it was one hit, maybe one sac fly. That was the difference. And they made some huge pitches when they needed to, whether it was Fister or any of their guys."

In the wins, it was exactly that. Scherzer and Verlander pitched deep enough, effective enough, to carry the lead to the late-inning duo of Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde. In Game 5, Scherzer came on in relief to carry Fister's lead through to Benoit.

Young's three home runs set a Tigers postseason series record on his way to 15 total bases. The next highest totals came from Kelly and Victor Martinez. The next-highest hit total came from Magglio Ordonez, a platoon player by the end of the regular season, but seemingly a man with newfound health for the playoffs.

Compared with the regular season, it was a much more balanced offense, and it left the Yankees with too much damage to survive by simply pitching around Cabrera.

"We definitely deserved to be here," Avila said. "When you're in the playoffs, you deserve to be in the playoffs. And when you're in the playoffs, anything can happen."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:16 pm

Injured Young left off Tigers' ALCS roster
After record-setting first round, outfielder sidelined by oblique
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/08/11 1:15 PM ET

ARLINGTON -- Delmon Young's strained left oblique will keep him out of the American League Championship Series. The Tigers made it official on Saturday, when they left Young off their roster and replaced him with infielder Danny Worth.

Young is the only change to the Tigers roster from the AL Division Series. Detroit will stick with its rotation and seven-man bullpen with two left-handers, as manager Jim Leyland indicated they would on Friday.

Young left Game 5 of Detroit's AL Division Series win on Thursday night after straining his oblique on a seventh-inning popout at Yankee Stadium. Team physician Dr. Stephen Lemos examined him here Friday before the Tigers worked out, and Leyland sounded optimistic that Young could be available.

"He looks pretty good," Leyland told MLB.com as his club took the field for a light pre-series workout at Rangers Ballpark. "I'd say he's probable, if this was the NFL."

Young was not seen taking part in the on-field workout at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Leyland said at the time that Young would be a gameday decision. He also said he would be meeting with team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski to discuss Young's situation, a clear hint at roster implications.


Injury uncertainties on a postseason roster carry a much bigger risk than they would in the regular season. Though a team can replace an injured player in the middle of a series, that player then has to miss the next round. So if Young had started the series and then had to be removed, he wouldn't have been eligible for the World Series.

The way oblique injuries linger, there's no way to know if Young will be ready for the World Series, either. But this way, the Tigers at least keep their options open. Getting through the ALCS without Young, however, is a far more challenging task than they would like.

Young's three home runs in the five-game Division Series set a Tigers record for any postseason series, and his right-handed power bat presented a serious problem for the Rangers' left-handed starting pitchers, including C.J. Wilson. Young batted .324 (12-for-37) with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs in eight games against Texas, and he's a .321 hitter with eight homers and 36 RBIs in 42 games for his career.

Ryan Raburn, a lefty-killer himself at various times in his Tigers career, appears likely to take Young's spot in left field, at least for Saturday's series opener against Wilson. Magglio Ordonez could reclaim his old spot batting third in the Tigers' batting order, where Young had thrived while opponents threw him strikes to avoid walking a batter in front of AL MVP candidate and Major League batting champion Miguel Cabrera.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:15 pm

A Pregame Interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/08/11 5:39 PM ET

Q. Jim, many of us know you were Kirk Gibson's first manager in professional baseball. Now that his first full season as a manager is over, what would you like to say about the job he did this year?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, he was unbelievable. I thought he managed an unbelievable game yesterday. It was a great game. I got back in time to watch some of it here. I got back to watch the end of it. He had everybody in the right place. He pulled a safety squeeze. It looked like it was going to be a huge play for him, which it was. But tremendous. But it doesn't surprise me. He was always a real bright guy about many can he fierce competitor. I saw Upton go into second base late in the game. It looked like Gibby all over again.

They can be very proud. They had a great year, first year manager. Unbelievable job.

Q. After all that Magglio went through this season, what does it mean for you to see him rebound and be in the game and productive here?

JIM LEYLAND: Magglio has been a professional hitter for a long time. A great hitter. Nothing he does surprises me. I actually put him behind Martinez tonight for a little more protection.

I hit Cabrera third tonight. Which I haven't done, obviously with Delmon Young out of the lineup, it changes things for us. I had to change it a little bit. And I feel very comfortable with Magglio in that spot.

Q. Jim, with Delmon out, can you expand upon what your plans B, as you mentioned yesterday, are now?

JIM LEYLAND: With Delmon out it changes things. It obviously hurts a little bit, because he's a right handed hitter and we're going to see three left handed pitchers plus they have good left handed stuff in the bullpen.

I don't worry about stuff like that. That's the one thing good about our team. We just keep going on. That's what you have to do, and to be honest with you, that's why you play all your guys all year long, so they're ready for these situations.

Without putting any pressure on anybody, Inge and Raburn and guys like that are going to be very important in this series. But that's why you play them all all year long. That's why I think the public sometimes has a tendency to think that when you play your regulars every day, they win every game.

It doesn't work like that. That's why you use your whole roster. Raburn and Inge will be up for the challenge. Does it hurt without Delmon? Sure. Are we going to miss him? Sure. But we'll go on.

THE MODERATOR: Do you want to give us your lineup for today?

JIM LEYLAND: Tonight it will be Jackson, Raburn, Cabrera, Martinez, Ordoñez, Avila, Peralta, Santiago and Inge.

Q. Jim, so what happened between yesterday and today? This is the first of two questions.

JIM LEYLAND: I'm blaming all you guys for what happened. You can write it down. He was taking BP and he was swinging real good, and then he had to go to the media session to me it was all you guys and sit around. When he got out of the media session, it was hard for him to raise his arm.

So I'm putting it all on you guys. I'm blaming you guys. That's what happened. He was swinging pretty good. It stiffened up. I'm being facetious, obviously. It stiffened up on him. We had him checked out. We had an MRI. Doesn't show anything real significant, but I learned a long time ago when the word oblique is mentioned, I get nervous, because that's one of those where, you know, it might be all right.

I've never seen an oblique all right in a day or two. It's never happened as long as I've been managing. I think everybody tries to stay positive. The trainers, the medical people. But when you mention oblique, I get nervous.

And the reason I think this is a good time to say it, because I don't think a lot of fans and maybe some of you don't understand, I don't know, but we might have kept him on hoping for maybe Game 4 or 5 or something.

But what happens is all of a sudden you used him and he couldn't go and you had to take him off, then he's not available for the next series. You cannot do that. This way, not having him on the roster at the beginning of this series, if he would be ready and if we were fortunate to move on, he could be activated for the World Series. If you get that out there that will be good. I get a lot of slack about that, because they don't understand the rule.

Q. Secondly, you flip flopped Scherzer and Porcello.

JIM LEYLAND: We did. I apologize for that. That was really going to be my rotation, but I spent a lot of time with Scherzer yesterday. He felt great. I was really worried because he pitched the one game against them obviously and pitched in relief, which he hadn't done. That's a little bit of a different scenario. I didn't think there was any way he would feel as good as he did, but he does. Obviously because of that, that's the way I have to go. That's the way I want to go.

I didn't think we were going to be able to do that, to be honest with you, but he convinced me yesterday. And Max, he's up front with everything. He would never mislead me in any, way, shape and form.

Number one, he doesn't want to hurt himself. Number two, he doesn't want to hurt the team. He's raring and ready to go and healthy. That's why that was done. I apologize for that. I was probably a little bit jumped the gun a little bit probably in giving you the rotation. You guys can't wait, so I thought I might as well give you something.

Q. Jim, what has Victor Martinez meant to you guys in the clubhouse? And in terms of his play, how has he settled into being a DH after so many years of being primarily a catcher?

JIM LEYLAND: I think the fact he hit .330 has made him a lot better in the clubhouse. It seems to work that way. He's been absolutely tremendous. And I really give him a lot of credit, because I think a lot of guys at some point have an issue with just DH ing. And I think that Dave Dombrowski and I think our people John Westhoff and Al Avila, they made it pretty clear that's what he would be doing most of the time. I think he's accepted that, and I think he's set into that role tremendously. So it's not an issue.

With some guys, well, I want to DH, but I don't mind DH ing but I would rather do this. We don't have that problem with Victor. Victor has been a total team guy from day one. It's really worked out well.

Q. How do you feel that this rotation you're taking into this series ranks among teams that you've taken to the postseason before?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I never compare any teams or any players or any pitching staffs. I feel very comfortable. This is what we've got. We're not going to change anything, obviously. This is the pitching staff that we've had all year long, and I think that's one of the things we've been very fortunate. I've always said it's not always the best pitching staff to win, sometimes it's the healthiest. We've been able to keep our five guys out there pretty much all year long. That's very rare to be honest with you.

I have all the confidence in the world. They are going to face a tremendous offense. We're going to face the American League champions.

It's not very often that you beat the New York Yankees in Game 5, and you haven't even played the American League Champions yet. So we know what this is all about. We know what's at stake here, and we know how good to team is.

Believe me, we have the utmost respect for them. We're going to play it out and see what happens.

Q. Jim, you and Wash have seemingly pushed the right buttons all season long.

JIM LEYLAND: You haven't been in Detroit, have you?

Q. Personnel aside, what's it like kind of the enjoyment of managing against a guy like that even with contrasting styles? How much do you enjoy managing against a guy like that with contrasting styles?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, it doesn't make any difference. I manage my team. I really never worry about what the other manager does. Obviously, I have the utmost respect for anybody that manages a Major League Baseball team because I know what the job is and I know what a difficult job it is.

So I thought I managed against an outstanding manager in New York a few nights ago, and I'm going to be managing against an outstanding manager in this series.

Ron Washington is tremendous. He is a motivational guy. He knows what it's all about. In my opinion, Ron Washington is the guy that changed things around down here. I may be all wet, because I don't know what goes on here. But I know him, and he's all about doing things right. He's about winning. He's about holding people accountable. He's been unbelievable. He's done a fantastic job.

Most of the time, and in this series as well, it's probably not going to come down to Ron Washington or Jim Leyland. It will come down to, like it always does, to the players.

So that's what this game is about. So like I said, Ron is a friend of mine. I took him as my coach when I managed the All Star Game a few years ago. He was my first selection. I thought it would be a good experience for him. I thought he deserved it, and I thought it would be good for him to be involved in something like that, and I don't think he ever forgot that.

We're friends. We're not enemies tonight. We're friends that are managing against each other.

Q. What are the particular challenges that these left handed starters present to you that the Rangers have?

JIM LEYLAND: They're all real good. They're really good. They got a guy in the bullpen that didn't make the rotation and beat us three times. That shows you how good this team is. They're pretty darn good.

Like I said, we're very respectful of that. But I don't want to be sitting here slighting my team. We're pretty good too. I said that in New York and I say it again. And I know the Texas Rangers respect us, and I know the Texas Rangers know we respect them. That's just the way it is. We're down to the final four. You're supposed to be pretty good to be in the final four. We're pretty good and they're pretty good.

Q. Jim, you were adamant earlier in the year when you guys had problems in the three spot in the batting order about not using Cabrera at No. 3, but you used him now. Why do you feel you need to make the change?

JIM LEYLAND: Most of my time here we had Magglio Ordoñez hitting in that spot. He's an over .300 career hitter. I knew he was going to be on base a lot for him. It's a little bit different with Magglio now. In Delmon, I felt comfortable in that spot. There's a good chance Delmon Young would be on base or somebody in the first inning. This changes our whole lineup. I think this gives us more protection. It's not something if Delmon Young was here he would be hitting third. Cabrera would not be hitting third. Delmon Young would be. Because of that have injury, that changes our lineup quite a bit, and I got Raburn hitting second.

That's not the greatest scenario in the world, but it's a scenario that I like, particularly in this ballpark. Ball carries here pretty good. You get a guy with power up there in that 2 hole like Raburn, and it makes a little sense. It's not a move I would have made, but you have to make adjustments.

And sometimes you have to make them on the fly. I went home last night and I thought about this all night long. I made up two or three different lineups. This is the one time I may have to slip Cabrera in the 3 hole. I did that. People can talk about it.

Some people want me to hit him there forever. I like him coming up in the first inning with somebody on. Hopefully Jackson or Raburn will be on.

THE MODERATOR:
Thanks for coming in.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:29 am

ALCS Postgame 1 interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/09/11 1:23 AM ET

THE MODERATOR: Who has the first question for Jim tonight?

Q. Jim, with the rain delay, at what point did you decide that Verlander wasn't going to be going out there?

JIM LEYLAND:
When the original one hit he was actually coming back out. When the second one came about, that was a no brainer. I think that this was a little bit of a weird night, obviously, with the rain the way it was.

I thought Peter Woodfork from the Commissioner's Office he did a tremendous job keeping this thing going staying on top of it. He really did. I thought the umpires did a good job. Both teams did a great job. It was a good ballgame. The Verlander was a no brainer.

Q. Jim, how weird was it that you lost Verlander to rain in the first Game 1s of both series? And then secondly, what happens now with Porcello in Game 4?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I guess it's a little weird Verlander was involved in both these rain situations. And truthfully, we're going to go back when I get done with you guys and figure out what we'll do now with the pitching.

We really haven't had time. We were trying to win the ballgame. We got ourselves back into it. The first inning was probably a huge key. We loaded the bases, and C.J. made a great pitch on Magglio, cut a fastball in and got him to ground it to third.

That was obviously a huge inning. The ninth inning we always talk about, but tonight's game might have been the the first inning was a huge inning for us.

Q. Two things, on Verlander, did you find that he was a little bit jumpy as you've said in the past during some rough starts? And the other question is, were you feeling the loss already tonight of Young from that lineup?

JIM LEYLAND:
Number one, on the Verlander situation, I thought tonight that his control was not good. His control was not very good. He didn't really have his curveball going for strikes. He had a tough time with it. I think probably trying to overthrow it a little bit.

No, obviously, sure, you're going to feel Young's absence in the lineup. But I was hoping that Raburn would get on somehow, because hitting Cabrera third tonight could have worked out pretty darn good if Raburn gets on.

Sure, we missed that bat in there. There's no question about it. No excuses. I thought it was a great game, particularly under the conditions, a lot of excitement. Their fans all pumped up. It was a great ballgame. I thought both bullpens both bullpens, there's going to get a little more attention tonight, obviously, and rightfully so.

But I thought both bullpens did a terrific job. It turned out to be really a very, very good ballgame.

Q.
Jim, I think the Rangers' top four hitters went 1 for 14 tonight. They still they have that depth in the lineup, I guess, that they can scratch out runs even from the bottom of the order.

JIM LEYLAND: Oh, yeah. They're the defending American League champions. This is a very good team from top to bottom. Murphy came through the one inning for them, which was big. No question about it.

And we feel like we're capable of doing that as well. That's what a team is all about. Sometimes when the big guys don't do it, other people pick them up. Like I said, it was an excellent baseball game, particularly under the conditions.

Certainly nobody did anything wrong. These are situations they are can't win situations. You can't win. The rain stuff and people trying to make decisions and the radar and everything.

You know what, I thought everybody did a fantastic job. We got beat in what I would call a very, very good ballgame. And probably the first inning for us was the key. We had a chance to get on the board right away with the bases loaded. We had another opportunity with Victor hitting in a good situation. You give their pitchers credit. We didn't come out of it with anything.

Q. Forgive me, you said you don't know yet how to use Verlander and Porcello will affect your rotation in the next several days?

JIM LEYLAND:
That's correct. Like I said, when we get done with you fellows, we're going to go down and look at it. We started to map a couple of things out during the one rain delay.

But we don't have anything for you at this time. Certainly there's no tricks. We're not trying to hide anything. We just haven't figured it all out. As soon as we do, we'll have Brian get it out on the wire. If it's too late to get it out tonight, we'll get it out as quickly as possible. We're not trying to hold anything back. There's no secrets. We're trying to figure out where to go with this now.

Q. Without belaboring the point on that, Porcello threw 22 pitches. Is there still a possibility he could pitch in that game? And if not, would you bring back Verlander after throwing 82 tonight on three days' rest? I know what you're thinking.

JIM LEYLAND: I'm trying to be patient. And I think I just explained it. We're going to go down and talk about it. I'm sorry I don't have an answer for you. If somebody wants to give me the answer, you can recommend something and I'll look at it when I go down in the office and take a peek at it.

You can talk to me until you're blue in the face about the rotation. I don't have anything for you. I repeat that. I don't have anything. As soon as I get it, I'll give it to you.

Q. What are you seeing from Avila and how tough maybe that fifth inning at bat with the rain delay coming back out, how tough was that?

JIM LEYLAND:
They made a good move. They brought in a left hander. That's a tough situation. We told him to be patient. Gonzalez has got great stuff. Once in a while he can get wild. He threw ball one. It was probably ball two. That's easier said than done. You're geared up, probably geared up for a fastball after the breaking ball. I'm not sure exactly whether it was a strike or not. It was a good move on their part. He executed and he got the out.

That's not easy to come out after the rain delay and walk up there with the bases loaded and they bring in a new pitcher, a lefty. He won the battle tonight. I have no problem with that. That's a tough situation for anybody.

THE MODERATOR:
Thanks, Jim.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:10 pm

An Interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/09/11 7:00 PM ET

Q. Jim, I guess just the obvious question. Do you stick with your pitching rotation? Does this affect it at all?

JIM LEYLAND:
My pitching rotation will stay exactly the same as it was. I might as well give you guys some news. We have some pretty huge news today, so the few of you who came out, you get it and the other guys don't. Tell your buddies don't call me because I'm not going to pick up the phone.

Magglio Ordoñez will be out for the series with the ankle injury. The same ankle that he had the problem with. He will be done for the season. That's why he was taken out of the game last night. I was shocked that nobody asked me about that last night. So I wasn't going to give any information at the time because we didn't have all the facts and details, but we've had some medical work done this morning, and he will miss the entire series and the rest of the season.

My rotation will stay exactly the same. Verlander, I know that will be a big question, so I'll take that off your mind as well, he'll pitch Game 5 under any circumstances.

Our rotation will be Scherzer, Fister, Porcello and Verlander in that order. Just the way we set it up originally.

I don't want to be hogging the mike here, but I might as well tell can you, I'm going back soon to discuss the roster, obviously, with David Dombrowski. My coaches have already discussed some of it.

I don't have any information right now as to what we're going to do, because to be honest with you, we don't know. So with that, I'll leave it open top any other questions, if you have them.

Q. So as this transpired last night, you basically pinch ran for him after the second rain delay, was it?

JIM LEYLAND:
That's correct. That's exactly why I pinch ran for Magglio. He would not have come out of the game. My trainer came in during the rain delay and said Magglio can't go. The ankle is killing him. So I pinch ran Don Kelly for him.

Like I said, I was shocked I didn't get the question last night why I was taking him out. It didn't come up, so I didn't offer anything.

Q. Jim, how did Magglio aggravate that injury last night?

JIM LEYLAND: I don't know. I don't know the answer to that. It doesn't appear that there was any significant movement or anything that did it. It just all of a sudden it flared up. After some medical tests and results this morning, it shows that there is a situation there that is not conducive to playing the rest of the year.

Q. Already an outfielder short, I'm wondering how devastating a blow this is for your team? You're already an outfielder short with Delmon out. I'm wondering how big a blow this is for your team?

JIM LEYLAND:
We're a real resilient team. Do I like this, obviously, no. Do I like losing Delmon, obviously, no. But we're a tough team. We'll figure something out, and we'll get through this.

We're like every other team in baseball that has these type of situations pop up. You get through it. We're not going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. I can guarantee you that. We'll make due somehow.

But like I said, at this time, I can't give you any information on what we will do with the roster, because we don't know, to be honest with you. We really don't know right now. I've been talking with Dave Dombrowski back at the hotel. When I get back to the hotel we're going to sit down and have a pow wow and figure out what direction we should go.

Q. Prior to the series, was there any indication this could happen with Magglio? Or did it come as a

JIM LEYLAND:
What?

Q. Prior to the series was there any indication he was in danger of something like this happening to his ankle?

JIM LEYLAND: It's amazing. I just told you guys recently, because it's the truth. Magglio had just been talking three or four days ago about how he felt great, how he felt as good as he's felt for a long time. When the trainer came in during the rain delay and told me, I was almost flabbergasted, to be honest with you.

So it doesn't appear that there was one incident that happened. But there is a problem. I mean, there's no question about that. Like I said, we had the medical people look at him this morning. Kevin Rand was up bright and early to check him out. There is an issue which keep limit out the rest of the series and the rest of the season.

If you have any questions, ask them now.

Q. Tiger clubhouse is not going to be open. There are a few players here. Jim was good enough to come in.

JIM LEYLAND: Anybody else?

Q. Last question.

Q. Jim, how do you deal with this? The rain in the first series, now this? What could go wrong is going wrong? How do you see this?

JIM LEYLAND: I see it great. We're in the playoffs. We're playing the Texas Rangers for the championship. I love it.

Like I said yesterday, we had to beat the New York Yankees just for the right to play the defending champions. It's exciting. We had a great game last night. We missed a couple of opportunities. That's baseball.

But I see this as this is a great opportunity for us, and it's a great opportunity for us to show how tough we are. And we're tough.

Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. I don't want anybody feeling sorry for us. We'll make due. We'll come out at 3:19 tomorrow ready to play.

Q. Thanks for coming in.

JIM LEYLAND: Sure.

Q. Tiger clubhouse is not going to be open today. There are very few players here. Two of them are going to be good enough to come in and take a few questions.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:14 pm

An interview with Tigers manager Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/10/11 9:45 PM ET

Tigers manager Jim Leyland spoke with the media following Monday's 7-3 loss to the Rangers in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.

Q. Jim, I know these are a tough two games, but it really seems like they've been so close that this series is really just getting started, don't you think?

Leyland: It's been a great two games. It didn't go the right way, obviously. They earned it, and we didn't quite get it done. We haven't been able to come up with any big hits. That's really hard.

We've had some opportunities, but up to this point, we just haven't been able to do that.

Q. Jim, do you think Austin's pressing a little bit? And you're probably limited in terms of being able to move him down in the order, it looks like, because of ...

Leyland: Well, I don't know. He could be pressing a little bit. But we'll see. We'll look at that and see what we think about it. It's one of those things where if he does get going, he's really a catalyst for us and he really excites our team. That's a thought, obviously. We'll talk about that.

Q. How did Young seem to come through that game?

Leyland: OK, I think. We're going to wait and see tomorrow. I'm not sure if he'll play tomorrow or not, but we're going to wait and see. I think he probably came through it OK, as good as can be expected. But I have to check with the trainers on that.

Q. It looked like you talked to Max when he came in after that inning. Were you telling him one more batter and we're going to go the left-hander?

Leyland: I was going to let him have Cruz, obviously. If Cruz got on, I was going to bring in a lefty. If he got Cruz out, I was going to let him go. I thought he was throwing great. He was throwing tremendous. If he had got on, we would have gone to Benoit. I thought he was throwing outstanding. He tried to elevate one in the strike zone, and he didn't get it there and of course he tied it up. I thought he threw outstanding. He did a tremendous job.

Q. Jim, did Santiago have a chance to score on the double by Kelly?

Leyland: No, the ball came back to him. We were hoping it would kick back, but it didn't. It just came back to him and that's kind of the luck of the draw.

Q. Jim, can you talk about your strategy there in the ninth, with walking Napoli intentionally with Cruz then coming up? What was your thinking there, and how did you feel about that whole inning the way it played out?

Leyland: We knew they weren't going to bunt. We were hoping to get a ground ball and get a play, and maybe get two quick outs to have a better shot to get out of the inning.

As it turned out, we did get out of it and we did get a double-play ball. First to home, double play. We did get out of it.

We just felt like it's kind of a catch 22. They got so many good hitters. But if you can get a ball on the ground, you can get two for the price of one.

So Napoli swung the bat pretty well, obviously. He's been hitting the ball well this series. Good batting average and everything. Ironically, Cruz has been the guy who has been a little quiet, to be honest with you, up to this point. Today, of course, he had two big ones.

Q. Jim, it evolved into a battle of the bullpen. Especially the Rangers having to go to it early. Obviously, you were hoping to find a crack there at some point.

Leyland: I thought all the bullpens did good. Both bullpens did a great job right up 'til the end there. Ryan just looked like he hit a slider. He got in a little trouble there and we had a little miscue there in the inning. That stretched the inning out a little bit. If you don't have that, you're still in the double play situation. Where you can once again get two for the price of one and maybe get out of the inning.

If you keep giving a team like that that many opportunities, they're going to get you eventually, and eventually they got us.

Q. Jim, just to go back to the third inning. You got pretty hot with the umpires. What did you see on that ball with Victor?

Leyland: First of all, I'm going to explain this very carefully. You always risk getting fined when you talk about this kind of stuff. I'm going to explain the only reason I was upset. I knew the ball hit him. OK? But it wasn't called. OK? He checked the ball for polish and it wasn't called.

The reason I was upset is myself, and I believe every manager in the league that goes out on a call like that and asks the umpire to get help, they tell you they can't get help on that if somebody would have seen it, they come in right away to say they saw it, and they call it. Nobody moved. Nobody came in.

So my question to them was, "Who saw it?" And if somebody saw it, why did they not come in right away and call it? I wasn't questioning at all whether or not he got hit. I was questioning the process by which I've been told all year, and I assume every other manager has, that's normally one where they say I can't get help on that one.

If somebody would have seen that, they come right in and call it right away. Yes, definitely it hit him. I saw it. And nobody moved. That's the only reason I was upset about it. I knew the ball hit him.

Q. Jim, you still have to feel fairly good, going home with the three pitchers that you've got going?

Leyland: I don't feel as good as Texas does right now, obviously. But we're playing. They've got to win two more. We have to win four. It's that simple. That's pretty simple math. We haven't been able to get the big hit. We've had our opportunities.

The first inning in both games so far, in my opinion, has really come back to haunt us a little bit. We didn't score when we had a great opportunity in both games. They did score. They came right back and did score.

So the first inning has really been a little bit of a nemesis for us up to this point. It's been a Jekyll and Hyde inning. Looked real good for us, not so good for them. All of a sudden, it wasn't so good for us and it was good for them. It's been kind of a strange inning so far in this series.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:07 am

A postgame 3 interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/11/11 11:15 PM ET

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jim Leyland.

Q. Jim, what happened to Victor on the home run, please, and what's his condition now?

JIM LEYLAND: He's okay. He felt a little strain, but he's all right. He had that at bat after the walk and he hit a ball good to left center, so I think he's fine.

Q. Are you at all surprised or gratified, Jim, that with all the people you've had out of the lineup here, and now this includes Martinez and his tweak here, that you played that team a team that good shoulder to shoulder in Texas and then won a game here tonight?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, yeah, I mean I'm thrilled the way we played. We're tough. I think you have to mention Adrian Beltre for them. These are two tough teams. He got smoked on the knee. Our guys are playing with pain and some injuries. What he went through tonight, he played the game unbelievable. Both teams. I certainly want to credit mine first of all. But both teams are showing what it's all about. And showing it's playoff time and how tough they are and you have a great appreciation for that as a manager.

Q. Jim, Fister gave up a few hits there early on, and then seemingly settled in. Did you see an adjustment on his part? It looked like the pitches got a little sharper or maybe it was just nerves?

JIM LEYLAND: I think those hits he gave up were three missed hit balls that found holes. I thought he put on a clinic. I thought he put on a pitching clinic, in and out, moving the ball around, moving the ball both sides of the plate. I thought it was a pitching clinic.

Q. Jim, can you talk about the 0 2 pitch Cabrera hit to give you the early lead. They tried to pitch around him and he just got to that ball.

JIM LEYLAND: That's why he's a great hitter. If you were watching he came up big tonight. If you watch baseball right now, it's really interesting for me. Maybe not as much for you guys but for me. If you look at the opening day in Milwaukee, Fielder, Braun, big, big time he came up. If you look at the second game, Pujols. Cabrera, he came up. That's what this is about. The big boys that's why they're the big boys.

Q. Can you talk about the Austin Jackson three hits tonight, getting your team going a little bit? Was there a different approach at the plate?

JIM LEYLAND: I don't know if there was a different approach. I would like to say that I tweaked him a little bit, but I would be lying. But he did hit early with Mac today. I told Mac, have him hit early tomorrow. Don't think things are okay. Have him hit early tomorrow. He makes us go. He makes everybody in the dugout feel good. I was asked a question before the game about dropping him in the lineup which was a very legitimate question. You know what, this is us. We are what we are. We've been doing this for the whole year, and we're going to either win this thing or go down with what we got. That's the way we're going to do it. Pretty simple, really. There's no tricks now. There's no adjustments. I know the lineups are different because of some injuries. A.J. is going to lead off. That's just the way it is.

Q. I know you said Victor is fine. How concerned were you at that time? What was it that he strained?

JIM LEYLAND: Very concerned, to be honest with you. Intercostal muscle. We'll see. Obviously, I think he'll be okay. He got through it tonight, and hopefully he'll be able to get through it. And if he can't, you know what, we'll play somebody else. That's who we are. That's what we are, and that's what you do this time of year. You find a way to -- find a way to win somehow. We did that tonight, because we hit a couple of balls over the fence, obviously, and Fister was like I said I thought he put on a clinic.

Q. Jim, it looked like that Torrealba's ball was probably the first really hard hit ball of the night. Was there any feeling or how gratifying was it for you that Fister didn't get nickeled and dimed tonight and that your guys finally did hit the ball over the fence?

JIM LEYLAND:
It was great. He was just what the doctor ordered. This is a tough team to hold down. Knock on wood. Actually, we've done a pretty good job so far. The grand slam last night made it look a little bad, but for the most part we've done a pretty good job. They've done a great job of pitching. I think we've done a great job of pitching too. Both bullpens have done a really good job with the exception of one grand slam. This is two really good teams. They're the defending champs and we're trying to dethrone them.

Both teams are going to keep playing hard. This isn't going to bother them tonight. They're classy. They're professional. Their manager is good. I was worried. I was standing close to home plate tonight when Aretha Franklin was singing the National Anthem. He was moving around. I got nervous because she pumped him up a bit.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:17 am

Bench key to Tigers' ability to overcome injuries
Kelly, Raburn, Dirks make Detroit's situation more manageable
By Tom Singer / MLB.com | 10/12/11 2:43 PM ET

DETROIT -- Whenever the Tigers' misfortune with incapacitating postseason injuries is mentioned -- Magglio Ordonez is out, while Delmon Young and Victor Martinez are hobbled -- knowledgeable fans clear their throats to offer an addendum:

What about Brennan Boesch, the starting corner outfielder who went down for the year with a thumb injury at the end of August?

A legitimate point, and yet another case that bears out Detroit manager Jim Leyland's philosophy: Use your bench liberally all season, because there's no telling when you'll have to depend on those players.

The Tigers have gotten to that point in the American League Championship Series. Ordonez's fractured right ankle and Young's strained left oblique have turned part-timers Don Kelly, Ryan Raburn and Andy Dirks into starters.

And they have responded, answering the call because they had been getting it all summer.

"Obviously, you would like to have all your big guys out there, but I'm not afraid to play anybody," Leyland said. "I think we've shown that the whole season. When injuries are involved, the fact that some of these guys have had at-bats helps."

More Tigers than is typical have had significant at-bats. Sixteen different Detroit players logged 100-plus plate appearances during the regular season. By comparison, ALCS foe Texas had only a dozen players log that many.

In-season injuries and personnel decisions contributed to the Tigers' distribution of at-bats. For instance, when slumping Brandon Inge was demoted to the Minors in mid-July, Wilson Betemit took over as the regular third baseman for a month.

But a bigger factor was Leyland's commitment to keeping everyone sharp. Perhaps it takes a secure, veteran manager to realize the benefits of not riding the same nine men too hard.

"Some people have the tendency to think that when you play your regulars every day, you win every game," Leyland said. "It doesn't work that way. A lot of people ... when you take somebody out, they get a little nervous about it.

"But this is why you play your entire roster. It doesn't mean they're going to do good necessarily, but at least they have had some action. I think it pays dividends."

The dividend in Game 2 was a three-run homer by Raburn, who was in Ordonez's shoes in right. The dividend in Game 3's 5-2 victory was a single in the middle of a two-run sixth by Dirks, who had taken over in right as Raburn shifted into Young's place in left.

Tom Singer is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow @Tom_Singer on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:29 am

A postgame 4 interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/12/11 9:44 PM ET

THE MODERATOR:
We're going to get started in the interview room. Jim Leyland is here.

Q. Jim, was Austin going on his own there on the stolen base attempt?

JIM LEYLAND: Absolutely. I agreed with it 100%.

Q. Jim, obviously a big play was the Delmon Young fly out. I want to know about the decision to send Cabrera, and also did you consider pinch hitting Delmon with maybe a Don Kelly a left hander in that situation?

JIM LEYLAND: No, I'm not going to hit for Delmon Young. He's our third hitter. He's a professional hitter. He's one of the better hitters. No, I wouldn't even think about that. And I thought it was a great decision to send him. If the throw is off line, he makes it. If it's not, he's out. Other than Austin Jackson, it might have been closer, obviously, but other than that, I don't know that anybody would have made it if he threw it on the money. That's the second out. You make him throw him out at the plate. It was the right call. Cruz threw it on the money.

Q. Just talk about using Valverde for that second inning, and also is he available tomorrow with all that he's pitched so far?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, we were down two games to one. You have to give it your best shot. That was our best shot. Tomorrow, you know, he and Benoit are both running on fumes and heart right now, to be honest with you. So hopefully the big guy can do it tomorrow for us. It's one of the best baseball games I've ever been involved in. Great plays by both teams. We made some great plays. Santiago, Inge, Delmon Young made a great play, Cruz made a great play. One of the best games I've ever been involved with. Just didn't come out the right way.

Q. I know with this lineup it is kind of pick your poison, but what went into your decision to walk Beltre there in the 11th?

JIM LEYLAND: Obviously, Napoli is a power hitter. If you can get him on the ground as a double play, you're trying to set up the double play. He didn't want both of those guys it seems, so he blooped one in and Cruz was the big blow. You're just trying to set up a double play. I didn't want Beltre and Napoli both to hit against him. As it turned out, he got a base hit. But to get a double play, you're out of the inning. He's not a fast runner, obviously. He's definitely a double play guy. We just didn't get the ball on the ground. He blooped it into center field for a hit.

Q. 0 2, nobody on base, two out with Ogando. Talk a little about that, please.

JIM LEYLAND: It was a dramatic home run, obviously. To tie the game up like it did. Like I said, this was a great baseball game. I'm certainly sorry we didn't win it, but they did a little bit better than we did. We had our shot. Delmon had a great at bat, I thought. In fact, he just missed one that he fouled back that he had centered pretty good. He just fouled it back. There's not much you can say. Like I say, they did a little bit more than we did.

Q. Jim, you've talked a lot about great players rising to the occasion throughout this postseason. I guess with what's happened in the series, you have to add Cruz to that list.

JIM LEYLAND: Yeah, well. It's been a weird series. They had a couple of home runs late in two of the games to kind of open it up. But it'sbeen an absolutely tremendous series. I can't credit Benoit and Valverde enough for what they've done. They're pitching like I said on fumes and heart. You saw Albuquerque come in a little wild. We got a little nervous about that obviously. And that's shortened up our bullpen a little bit, because we weren't real sure about him because he hasn't got much work. He has struggled since he came back. That shortened up our bullpen a little bit. But that's the way it goes. That's just the way it goes. We actually had our shots. We just didn't come up with a big hit.

Q. Jim, you showed a lot of trust in Porcello going into this game. Can you talk about what you saw from him, especially the first five innings and how much maybe maybe the Rangers' base running put pressure on him.

JIM LEYLAND:
I thought he pitched a tremendous game for us. I really did. This is an excellent lineup. To do what he did to hold them down like he did, I thought he did a tremendous job. I think he threw the ball exceptionally well. I don't think there's any question about that. He gave us what we wanted and probably a little bit more, to be honest with you. I thought he was tremendous.

Q. You spoke before the game playoffs are truly one game at a time. Can you talk about the hill you have now having to win three to advance to the World Series?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, you know, hopefully we got Verlander, Scherzer and Fister. So obviously we got to win tomorrow. We're sending the guy out there that is obviously pretty good. You win tomorrow and all of a sudden it's 3 2. We can count I know what the situation is. You wouldn't rather have anybody out there other than Justin Verlander. If you win that game, all of a sudden it gets a little hairy again with Scherzer and Fister ready to go. So that's the way it is. Playoff baseball. Real good team. Defending champions. And so far they've gotten the best of them.

THE MODERATOR:
Thank you, Jim.

JIM LEYLAND: Sure.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:23 am



Postgame interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/13/11 9:58 PM ET

MODERATOR: Jim Leyland is here. Who has the first question tonight?

Q. How tense was it for you to have Coke in that situation, Jim, particularly when they started kicking things up there in the ninth?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, it's what we said before the game. So it gave everybody a chance to get all their second guessing ready about it. That's just the way it had to be today. We talked about it before the game and we did exactly what we felt we had to do to give ourselves any chance to win the series.

We had to leave those guys off today. Benoit and Valverde. We did. Cokie came through for us today. A little different situation for him obviously, but he was up to the challenge.

Q. Jim, can you talk about what worked for your guys against Wilson and that hitting for the cycle in order how wild that was? What you guys did well against Wilson and four guys in a row, hit for the cycle in that wild inning?

JIM LEYLAND: I thought we did a good job. He's an excellent pitcher. He comes right at you. He has a lot of late movement on the ball. He's very good.

But we hung in there, and we did enough to get this one, and we're headed back to Texas.

Q. Jim, can you talk about Young and Avila fighting through injuries and doing what they did tonight? JIM

LEYLAND: Well, like I said, we're tough. The Texas team is tough. That's the way it's supposed to be. This is really a great series. I mean, this has been a tremendous, tremendous series in my opinion.

A couple of extra inning games where a home run looked like the score was a little lopsided. That's not true.

We've done a good job against an outstanding team, and we're still playing. And that's pretty good.

Q. Jim, you've now had two elimination games in the Yankees series and the Rangers series where you've gone in saying we're not going to use Verlander in New York, we're not going to use Benoit and Valverde. Both times it worked. How tough is that, though, to stick to that in an elimination setting?

JIM LEYLAND:
You just have to be ready for the criticism and the second guessing part of that. You have to be ready for that and know you're going to get it. I understand that totally. I don't have any problem with that.

But it's not tough. It wasn't a tough decision for me today to tell you before we ever played that Benoit and Valverde were not going to pitch. People might not like it, but it was not a tough decision. Because you know why? In our heart, in my heart, it was the right decision. No question about it, a no brainer for me.

Regardless of what people think, that's fine. They need it. They get two days off now. We go to Texas with Scherzer and Fister and both of the big guys at the tail end of the bullpen are ready to go.

You lose today, you leave yourself open, but we're used to that. And that's a good part about baseball. Second guessing is good. Vicious is bad. Second guessing is good.

Q. Jim, you managed a lot of years in a lot of teams. Can you describe what you're seeing out of your players the last two weeks?

JIM LEYLAND: You know, we've been good for a while now. You people forget we had to meet Cleveland head up when it was real nip and tuck. We had to meet the White Sox head up. We played Minnesota in the stretch. We won 12 straight games against Cleveland and Chicago. That's pretty good. Most people picked Chicago and Minnesota to win. That's pretty good.

Like I said, we're tough. I think what I like about this the most is I know that the Texas Rangers respect us and we respect the Texas Rangers. I know that they believe we're a good club or really good club. And we know that they're a really good club. That's the way it should be. The guys are going at it.

If you see the injuries and everything around the way these guys are playing, how can you not be satisfied with this? Would I rather be up 3 2, yes. But I have no problems no matter how this turns out. We're going to keep playing. I don't know how what the score is going to be, but we're going to keep playing. We've done that all along.

Q. Jim, just talk about Verlander 133 pitches, a career high. And how worried were you about him early on when that pitch count was climbing?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, you know, he was sailing through there where the pitch count was decent. The fifth inning was a disaster for us from the pitch count standpoint. I was concerned. I wanted 125. That was going to be the limit. We talked in the dugout, Jeff Jones and I, and we were going to 135 pitches. That was it.

He's going to rest now. Obviously, if we don't move on, he's done. And even if we were fortunate to get to the World Series, we can make an adjustment if we need to do give him an extra day.

So he's here now. He makes out the lineup and he tells me what to do anyway. I'll leave now and let you guys talk to Justin Verlander.

Q. Jim, just Cabrera's double hit off the third base bag from your eyes.

JIM LEYLAND: I know. I have that bag in my office right now. And that will be in my memorabilia room at some point in my life. I can promise you. I'm going to let you have Justin. He deserves it.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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