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October 21, 2006

Jim Leyland


Q. Your thoughts on Reyes, their pitcher? He seemed mostly to stick with his fastball through the bulk of the game.
JIM LEYLAND: I thought he did a good job of throwing away a little bit, but getting a lot of outs inside. He pitched excellent. He had excellent control and basically he jammed us a lot. And he got a lot of outs on fastballs in.
He pitched a great game. He got a lot of outs.

Q. Normally when Verlander has his curveball going, he's pretty tough. Could you give an assessment of the early hits.
JIM LEYLAND: On his performance overall, I thought he was very tentative. He really didn't attack them early. And I think when he realized that he felt okay that he got actually a little bit better. But I think he felt his way a little bit too much early. He did not attack them, and that was kind of disappointing. But I think as he went on, he actually got a little bit better.

Q. There seemed to be indications before the game that you were not going to pitch to Albert Pujols, can you talk about the home run pitch and how that ball sort of ended up where it was.
JIM LEYLAND: I could go into a lot of detail about that, but I'll leave it at this: The manager's decision is either to pitch to him or walk him. I pitched to him and obviously he burned us. I'm not going to get into a lot of explanation about what the thinking was. But I take the bullet there and if somebody gives criticism you accept it, because it's ultimately my decision. I'll leave it at that and I'll take the heat for that. But that's just the way we went about it, obviously that's not the way it was supposed to be, but that's fine.

Q. Jim, a week off is good for a football team, but a baseball team can get a little stale or flat, do you think your team was that tonight?
JIM LEYLAND: I just think you give the other team credit. I thought Reyes pitched great. I don't know, I said before that whether we won or lost this series, we're not going to have a copout if we lost it, well, we were stale. And if we won it, well, it was great because we got healthy with the time off.
Obviously I did some things with the pitching tonight you don't normally do, but we have been off seven or eight days, some of those guys 10 or 11 days. So that's why I won't walk him. Normally I wouldn't do that, but we had to get our guys out to the mound tonight.

Q. Can you go into your decision on how you wind up the rotation. It's a little different from the World Series, than the last two rounds, and with Verlander losing, how it lays out for the rest of the series?
JIM LEYLAND: I feel comfortable with Justin. We made a decision that if we played the Cardinals, Justin would start it, Kenny would be in spot 2. And the reason, we want Kenny to pitch both games at home. I feel comfortable with Verlander, Robertson third, Bonderman fourth. Had we played the Mets, we were going to start Robertson and follow him with Rogers and throw Verlander the third game, but with the Cardinals, we decided to go with Verlander the first game.

Q. Jim, do you think whether you had the week off had anything to do with it or not? The offense was overaggressive. Reyes had four innings where he had seven or eight pitches.
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think we got in a little funk when we got behind that we were going to hit a quick home run. And usually when you get behind in a game like that, you see popups right off the bat, that means you're going to get a fastball and you get it, and you're maybe trying to hit one out of the ballpark, and you pop one out.
He pitched very good. And we just didn't -- my decision not to walk Pujols obviously turned out not to be a good decision. And we didn't play well. We didn't swing the bats well. And overall we just didn't give a good performance. And I thought Justin being a little tentative early was also another thing we didn't do well. We're all in this together. It's Game 1 and we'll come back tomorrow and play well.

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