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 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS

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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:55 pm

Practice day interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/14/11 10:50 PM ET

Q. Hey, Jim, with the off day today, do you think that really helps your club, or would you like to just play the next day based on how well you guys were hitting yesterday?

Jim Leyland: I'm glad we got an off day to give the wounded a better chance to heal up a little bit better and Benoit and Valverde a couple of days rest. Hopefully that works to our advantage.

Q. Hey, Jim, could you talk a little about Brandon Inge's value to the team and how he has weathered his --

Jim Leyland: He showed me a lot. To go down like he did, he has been a Tiger all his life. He wants to stay a Tiger. To go down and do what he's done is remarkable.

He's swinging the bat as well as he's swinging right now. If he's swinging the bat well, that's a good asset for us. We know what a great defensive third baseman he is.

Right now he'll be in the lineup tomorrow night. You have a left hand pitcher. He'll be in the lineup tomorrow night.

Q. You sent him down to Toledo, was it better than you expected?

Jim Leyland: I didn't know what to expect. I knew that was a real blow. He handled it so well, he did what you're supposed to do. When you go down there, you're supposed to go down and get your nose to the grindstone and work hard. That's what he did. He was rewarded for it and he deserves to be back and he's playing well.

Q. You talked a lot this week about even on nights when it didn't go your way. Was there a point in your career where it was easier to reflect on that even in the middle of the series?

Jim Leyland: I just think it's been a great series. I was talking about it doesn't get any easier. We're playing a great team. We think we're an outstanding team.

We're slugging it out. It never gets easy, but it always gets exciting. We're excited about going down to Texas. We got a shot. Their shot is better than ours. They're one up on us. We think we have a shot.

I could not be prouder of my team. I don't know that I've ever been prouder of a team than this one. The way they're playing hurt and playing so hard. They're playing their hearts out right now. Are they good enough, we'll find out in a few days.

Q. Speaking of those injuries, anybody in the lineup yesterday good to go for tomorrow as well?

Jim Leyland: I think so. Unless they trip on the plane or something I guess they'll be all right. Playing tomorrow, I haven't heard anything. I haven't gotten any negative feedback from our trainers. I assume all systems are a go.

Q. Can you talk about the series that Ryan Raburn has had? A lot of injuries. He's had a real big series for you guys.

Jim Leyland:
He's done a tremendous job for us. He started off slow as he normally does. He's really picked us up, hit an opposite field home run yesterday. He's had another good year. He's a very underrated player. He can do many things.

Every once in a while he looks bad at the plate like everyone else. This is not an easy game to play. We're thrilled to have Ryan Raburn on our club. He's a very versatile player. Hits the ball out of the ballpark. He has an outstanding arm. He'll be in the lineup as well tomorrow night.

Q. Jim, what did Phil Coke show you yesterday in terms of being able to handle a really huge situation in the post season?

Jim Leyland: Well, Coke is always ready to go. He's a little hyper at times. You can't worry about him. He wants it so bad, he's like a bull in a China shop sometimes. You have to be careful of that. I thought he kept his composure pretty good yesterday. He was certainly pumped up afterwards.

I had said earlier in the series he could be a big guy for us in the series. He certainly was yesterday.

Q. Jim, you guys got to reevaluate how you're pitching Nelson Cruz?

Jim Leyland:
I think that would be a good idea. If anybody on this call has any suggestions, I'll be willing to take it. He's a threat. His average hasn't been that good in the series, really, but he's a threat to hit the ball out of the ballpark at any time.

We have not done a very good job of pitching him. We've had him actually set up for some situations where we thought we could make the right pitch and get him out, but we really haven't done that.

To his credit, he's up there to hit the ball out of the ballpark. He's done it five or six times in the postseason, I believe.

Q. And two years in a row, Jim, can you remember a guy that's taken it to such a high level in the postseason like he has?

Jim Leyland:
No, but I got guys doing pretty good too in Delmon Young. He's got a few home runs in the postseason as well.

So it's just exciting. That's what it is. It was obviously as exciting for the Ranger fans and Delmon has been exciting for the Tiger fans. These are the best players in the world. We're in the final four. You're seeing the best of the best. And that's what they do.

Q. Jim, you've seen Ogando six times this year. Three as a starter, three as a reliever. Is his stuff--

Jim Leyland: Do you have to remind me?

Q. Is his stuff the same as a relief or a starter. Is he different coming out of the bullpen?

Jim Leyland: Well, I think really all guys pace themselves a little different when they start than when they come in for two or three innings.

He's a power guy whether he starts or relieves. Certainly he's a real concern when he comes out of that bullpen, as well as he was when he was starting.

When he's starting, you figure if you can if your pitcher can hold Texas down for a few innings, maybe by the sixth or seventh inning you get him a little bit tired, you might be able to get him.

He's been fantastic, particularly against us. He's really a good looking pitcher. We've really been impressed with him. He's done a tremendous, tremendous job in the postseason.

I give Ron Washington, Mike Maddux, whoever's idea it was to put him in the bullpen, I thought that was brilliant. He's come up huge for him in several of these games.

Q. Jim, I'm wondering, Max Scherzer was talking last night about how he found his rhythm late in the season, he thought, and carried it into the postseason. What have you seen from Scherzer in the last week or so?

Jim Leyland: I would agree with that. I would tend to agree with that. Last year he found it right after the break pretty much. Second half he really started pitching the baseball. This year he was a little more inconsistent until late in the season.

All of sudden it looks like he has a good groove. He's pitching with confidence right now. I don't know if he's quite as good as the last half of last season, but he's pretty darn good right now.

Q. Have you guys had a chance to catch up and recap on a daily basis on all the days going, I know there's some overlap. Have you been able to catch up with Tony (LaRussa) a lot?

Jim Leyland: Yes, I watched the game last night. I got to see most of it. It was another good game. Wolf pitched good. Looked like he kept them off balance a little bit. Cardinals didn't pitch bad.

So it was a close game. It was a good ballgame. I've been watching. I talk to Tony on a daily basis. I spoke to him this morning already. It's nice because we'll be in Dallas tonight. We haven't left yet, but we're leaving later this afternoon.

I'll be in Dallas in time to watch that game tonight. It's nice on an off day you can sit around and watch your buddy in a big game as well. That's a great series. We have a great series going. That's what the final four is all about.

Q. Jim, I've got a question on the quality of baseball in this series. I know we're accustomed to very good baseball in the playoffs. It looks like you and the Rangers have crafted and may continue to craft here what could be a classic playoff series. Do you share that view in any respect?

Jim Leyland: I sure do. I hate to say this, because we lost the game. I was very sincere the other night when I said Game 4 I believe it was one of the best games I've ever been involved in.

We were making plays. They were making plays. They were making pitches. Cruz made the great throw. James sent the guy which he actually should have. He made the guy make the play because the catch was the second out and the guy made the play. Santiago, Peralta, Inge, Delmon Young, plays all over the field. This has been a great series. I just hope it doesn't get lost because of the fact that they extended a bigger lead with a couple of late home runs.

These games have been absolutely phenomenal. Major League Baseball at its best.

Q. Follow up: How did Delmon Young hitting home runs when he was that close to being lost for the whole series?

Jim Leyland: Well, obviously they thought that they were a little concerned about it when it first happened. Well, we got to make sure it's right if we can get by this series. The doctors kept working on him. The doctors were on the road with him. Our team doctors travel with us all the time. Working with him and working with him.

Met Delmon in Dallas the other night. He was feeling better. I really don't have a perfect answer for you. It's just that it was one of those things that fortunately didn't turn out to be as serious as we thought, and he is really producing right now.

Q. With the way Scherzer and Fister have been pitching and with your bullpen now with Valverde and Benoit rested, I imagine you like the way your pitching sets up to are this weekend?

Jim Leyland: I couldn't ask for anything more. We were absolutely against the wall as everybody knows down 3 1. And yes, Verlander, Scherzer and Fister, if that's not good enough, you take your hats off to the Texas Rangers.

This is not going to be easy, but at the same time I'm pretty proud of the way we have had our pitchers set up. I think it's been set up right the whole time.

Lost in this whole thing is how good Rick Porcello pitched the other night. Yeah, they're feeling good. Let's face it. They're up 3 2. They're going home to their crowd. They like their pitchers too.

But we feel confident that we have a shot. That's all you can ask for.

Q. Will Porcello be available in the bullpen tomorrow night?

Jim Leyland: Probably not, but he will be available in Game 7 if we take it to 7.

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.”    
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PostSubject: Re: 2011 POST SEASON PLAYOFF NEWS   Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:15 am

Postgame 6 interview with Jim Leyland
MLB.com | 10/16/11 12:12 AM ET

The moderator:
Jim, thanks a lot for coming in. Thanks for everything. We'll take a few questions tonight.

Jim Leyland: First of all, let me congratulate the Texas Rangers. The entire organization. They earned it.

They proved in this series that they were the team that should represent the American League in the World Series. And I tip my hat to them. Any questions?

Q. Jim, what did you see from Scherzer the first couple of innings? And then once everything got rolling?

Leyland: He was out of whack for the most part all the way. His control was not good from the get go, really. And he had a tough time. And we just couldn't stop the bleeding.

As the game went on, obviously, it really wasn't fair. I wanted to get Penny in there in the postseason, to be honest with you. One freaky thing that happened -- not freaky, but one thing that really happened to us in the series all the games were conducive to getting late where you were using Benoit, Coke, Valverde -- so it's not fair, Danny came in and actually made a pretty good pitch.

The guy didn't hit it but he got a base hit. Rick came in and got the ground ball. We didn't get the out.

But it wasn't fair to some of our relievers, because they just weren't used in this series because the situation didn't present itself. So that's unfair too, you know, obviously be upset about that. That would not be fair to them. Next question, please?

Q. In a 10-run game, is there any looking back at close calls, and have you seen any replays of the two calls you were upset about?

Leyland: No, I think you would look awful foolish to be complaining about a call or so when the score ended up like that. I do think -- I'll be honest with you, the play at second base, I looked at it a couple of times, I really can't tell to this point it was so close, it looked like to me.

I do and still will always question the check swing on Cruz. I thought that was definitely a strike. I thought he definitely swung.

Q. Pretty tremendous series and you've been saying all series what a great series it's been. Not the way you wanted it to end in a Game 6. Did you have a chance to talk to your team? And what did you tell them?

Leyland: I did. I spoke with them, obviously. This is really not the time the guys hear much because they're so disappointed. They were all together and they were all paying attention. I managed a team that won a World Series.

And I don't think I've ever been prouder of a team than I am of this team. And I mean that sincerely. They gave everything they had. They gave everything they had. And it was kind of stacked against us a little bit.

We have had some tough travel. We've had some rain. We've had some days off. But I learned a long time ago you don't sit up here and wonder about stuff like that. You give credit where it's due.

The Texas Rangers beat us and they are definitely the team that should represent the American League in the World Series. It's too bad. It breaks my heart to say it, but I'm never one to not give somebody else credit. I don't think that's the way you go.

We're a class organization. They are a class organization. They beat us and I tip my hat to them.

Q. You started to put it into perspective there. Can you put into perspective what your team did this year, and do you go to the offseason more encouraged than disappointed or anything like that? Or is it too early to figure it out?

Leyland:
People talk about stuff like this all the time. I would have probably gone into the offseason more disappointed if we would have gotten beat by one run. I'm not going to go into the offseason disappointed at all.

This team gave every single thing they had, every ounce of energy. I just couldn't be prouder of them, and we got beat by the team that was the defending champion, and they defended their championship. They should be going, and they are.

Q. Jim, you've already mentioned pride a couple of times. Before Game 5 in New York, you said you would either move on with pride or you go home with pride. Tonight is it with pride that you're going home?

Leyland: Yeah, the only thing that really bothers me a little bit about this game, because, you know, I'm sure some people are going to make fun of us now because of the way this game ended, so that hurts a little bit.

I hope that doesn't happen. But I can understand it if it does, because it was a great series, and this was just not a great game. It was for the Rangers. It wasn't for us.

I hope people don't start making light of the Tigers or the series, because it really was a tremendous series. I'll be honest with you, I felt great going into the game tonight with Scherzer and Fister waiting in the wings, I felt absolutely great. That's why baseball is a great game. It just didn't work out.

Q. Can you talk about any of the injuries in more detail now than you might have been able to before because of the competitive things that you didn't want to give away to the Rangers, Jim?

Leyland: Well, like I said before, both teams are banged up at this time of the year. I might reflect back on that a little bit later on, but I don't think tonight is the night to do that. I think tonight is the night to give the Texas Rangers credit.

It's just like I said, I think too many people nationally were criticizing the Yankees instead of giving the Tigers enough credit for beating them, and I certainly don't want to do that tonight.

I don't want to say we didn't do something, because that takes away from what the Rangers did. I just don't think that's the route to take.

Q. That really wasn't the question.

Leyland: I thought you were talking about injuries.

Q. What I was -- I think more concerned about was Avila, for instance. Was he playing with a more serious situation than you can really talk about?

Leyland: Well, no. I can talk about it. He was hurting, but he's tough as nails, and he got through it.

Victor certainly had three or four things going on. And of course we know about Delmon. Hey, that's baseball. Beltre was playing with a bum knee. I'm sure they have some other fellows. They only mentioned about Hamilton, strained -- he had strains in the legs.

So we don't -- it was tough and we had a long grind. We really did. We had a lot of tough travel in this series and a long grind.

Unfortunately, we have a long time to rest up, about 10 days or so more than I would have liked. But we'll come back to Spring Training and get back to work.

The moderator: Thank you, Jim, for everything.

Leyland:
Thank you, Phyllis, for everything. Appreciate it.

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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