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October 3, 2011

Jim Leyland


Q. Jim, could you just give us your lineup, please, and tell us about any tough calls or anything?
JIM LEYLAND: My lineup is Jackson, Santiago, Young, Cabrera, Martinez, Ordoñez, Peralta, Avila and Inge.

Q. Jim, just the feeling coming back to Detroit having split in New York, the series tied 1-1, as opposed to 0-2.
JIM LEYLAND: It was a good series, I think under pretty tough conditions for both teams. Sitting around, playing in the rain some, and the weather really wasn't cooperative for either team. But we came out with a split. You got to feel good about that. I think they had won several games in a row, divisional league series games in a row. We were fortunate to end that yesterday. And their record in the afternoon was fantastic. So we felt pretty good about getting that win yesterday.

Q. Jim, obviously, Benoit and Valverde threw a lot of pitches yesterday. Are they both ready to come back if you need them?
JIM LEYLAND: They're both sleeping as we speak, so I'm not sure. I'm just kidding. They're probably available. We'll check it out.

Q. Jim, could you elaborate on the lineup a little bit, specifically Santiago in the two spot, your thinking there?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, it was, to be honest with you, neither Jhonny or Raburn have hit CC at all. Jhonny .059, 1-for-17 and Raburn .177. Santiago hits .294 against him. So we felt like, well, we'll play one of those guys and then play Santiago to try to get a little offense, and as that turns out, it gives us our better defense as well. So Peralta and Santiago were the choices for that reason.
Like I said, neither one of the guys, Raburn or Jhonny, either one up to this point, hopefully it will change tonight, neither one has had much success with CC. Of course a lot of guys haven't.

Q. Jim, knowing this could be a low-scoring game, Santiago bunted well yesterday. This may be a game where you have to play for a run. Was that a factor?
JIM LEYLAND: It was. I'm not going to bump Magglio, obviously. With him in that two hole, I'm not going to bunt him. This is a little bit different game obviously with CC.
You know, that's part of it. You feel like you can do some things with Santiago. Not only bunt, but he can hit-and-run. A little switch-hitter in between the first and third hitters. Nothing really special about it. I think he's 7-for-24, so that's why we decided to go that way.
We felt like right now maybe Alex was pressing a little bit. We'll get him away from Victor a little bit, and Magglio is swinging pretty good. Put him there.

Q. Jim, Don Kelly again yesterday showed why he's so useful. Can you just elaborate on the reasons you like him?
JIM LEYLAND: He's one of those guys. I've talked all along about using all the players and everything. He's such a versatile player, being able to play the infield and the outfield and get a base hit as well. He came in and did that yesterday. Actually, I'm not sure if he was 4-for-4, but our right-fielder may have been 4-for-4 or 4-for-5 yesterday. That's pretty good. Kelly coming in the game and getting a big hit and knocking in a run. Inge came in and got a hit, hit by a pitch and scored a run. It worked out good. As it turned out, it was a real tough game.

Q. What are your thoughts on having Verlander on the mound at home in what's obviously a pivotal game, in front of fans who I'm sure will be thrilled to welcome you home?
JIM LEYLAND: I probably feel the same way the Yankees felt when they had CC on the mound for the opening game in front of that crowd in New York. It's a great match-up. It's one that everybody was anxiously awaiting in Game 1; it didn't turn out.
You always worry about the hype and all the stuff that goes on and postseason is pretty draining really, to be honest with you. Hopefully -- I think it's good he did his press conference yesterday. He doesn't have to talk to anybody today. He can just get ready for the game and get his concentration going. I'm sure there will be some adrenaline flowing.
But like you said the other day, controlled adrenaline is good. So hopefully he'll be able to control that. I thought he was a little antsy the other night. Not bad.

Q. Your thoughts on Valverde guaranteeing this series doesn't go back to New York?
JIM LEYLAND: First of all, I don't think I saw anything about guarantee. That's number one. I do think he said -- I think when you read all the stories about it, he admitted it was tongue in cheek when he said it.
Second of all, I didn't take offense to the video at Yankee Stadium when they were talking about the World Series, like we were the junior varsity and they were getting ready for the World Series. I didn't take offense to that at all. In fact, I thought it was great. That's what they should be talking about. I don't really think that.
I don't believe in this stuff. I would hate to think the New York Yankees or the Detroit Tigers need any bulletin board stuff to get fired up this time of year. I would take that with a grain of salt. I didn't see anything about a guarantee.

Q. Your lineup with Magglio Ordoñez, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez back to back to back?
JIM LEYLAND: You have to repeat that for me.
THE MODERATOR: What was the beginning of the question? With Victor Martinez, Magglio Ordoñez and Miguel Cabrera back to back to back? Would you comment on that? Is that the Venezuelan influence?
JIM LEYLAND: Venezuelans like to stick together. That's all I can tell you.

Q. Jim, after the game, Magglio also was talking about a few months ago he nearly went home because of an injury situation. How much was the club aware of that and was there a situation where you were talking to him and maybe urging him to come back?
JIM LEYLAND: No. It wasn't that at all. I think it was just a period of time where guys start to question whether it's still really worth it when you're not feeling good.
To me it's like anybody else. When you're sick and you don't feel good, you just don't have that energy, the same energy level about things that you do when you're feeling normal. So I think that was probably part of it. And I think once the ankle got the proper rest, it was probably rushed a little bit, to be honest with you. I think once he played a little bit less and got freshened up a little bit, I think he felt pretty good about playing and very good about himself. I felt all along, if you remember I was telling everybody all year I thought there's some big moments for Magglio left. I think we saw some of that yesterday when he got three hits.
I'm sure that players go through those stages. It's just one of those things. But Magglio is fine and ready to go, and he's playing in his third consecutive postseason game tonight. That's good for us.

Q. Jim, how is it any different for Verlander considering he pitched Friday? Is there anything that you watch differently with this game?
JIM LEYLAND: I don't know. I can't answer that, to be honest with you. I stay away from Verlander as I do every other pitcher. I don't bother them. They got their own plan. They know what they need to do to get ready. They know what this is all about. This is just a reversal of a couple of days ago, a couple of nights ago in New York. All the New York fans pumped up, Yankee Stadium, CC Sabathia, great franchise, great tradition. That's what this stuff is all about. You can get over that. Once the game starts, you get your concentration level going on what you're supposed to be doing.
This is kind of a happening for other people. This is work and a game for us. It's really a happening for other people. Detroit is fired up, just like Yankee Stadium was. It should be. That's what it's supposed to be this time of year.

Q. Jim, you waited a long time to get this Tigers job. Do you walk out to the field tonight and take a look around and notice the crowd and all that good stuff or do you just treat it like any other game?
JIM LEYLAND: Not really. My situation you're never sure whether you're going to get cheered or booed. I don't worry too much about that stuff. It's part of the scenario. They introduce the manager and the starting lineup and all the other players. It's part of the hoopla that goes on with it. You enjoy it. Do you look around and see the crowd? Yes, you do. And you see all those people? Yes, you do. Do you know it's an exciting time? Yes, you do that, too. That's basically what it is.
We're working. That's what we do. This is what we do for a living.

Q. Jim, when you look at Alex Rodriguez and you compare him to a couple of years ago, do you look at him the same way you did then?
JIM LEYLAND: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Q. Jim, for those of us who haven't seen Porcello much this year, can you talk about his season and what he did and what gave you the impetus to give him a start in the postseason?
JIM LEYLAND: I think he's been a little bit of a Jekyll and Hyde. A little slow at times. Went on a good roll and then sloughed off a little bit and got back on a good roll again. What you have to remember about Rick Porcello is he's still a very, very young pitcher. I think he's won 38 to 40 games in the Major Leagues already, but he's still a young pitcher.
So those things are going to happen. He's still adjusting to this whole scenario. There's no question about that. Figuring out Big League hitters, figuring out how to calm down, figuring out how to have just enough adrenaline and not too much adrenaline. He's figuring it all out and it's a process.
He's a fine, fine pitcher. I think he's going to be an excellent pitcher. But it's like -- I guess he's a junior now. I always say you can't make a senior out of a freshman. He's probably a junior now. But he's got a ways to go now, but he's good.
THE MODERATOR: He'll be here at 5:00. Thanks, Jim.

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