10/06/06 11:50 PM ET
Jim Leyland postgame interview
Manager discusses Rogers' performance, Game 4 lineup
By / MLB.com
JIM LEYLAND: Absolutely. I thought they had great concentration. It's almost like you know there's 40 or 50,000 people there, but you can't see them, hear them, or get caught up in it.
You have to have total concentration on what you're trying to do, and I thought we did a good job of that tonight.
Kenny Rogers tonight was nothing like the Kenny Rogers that pitched for the Yankees, and obviously his confidence level is totally different now than it was four or five years ago. I know you didn't manage him back then, but can you maybe give us some insight as to what's happened with this guy?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, when we signed Kenny Rogers, we felt like -- a lot of people said, Well, he'll have a bad second half for sure and he can't pitch in the second half, and we didn't believe in that because we felt, for one reason, the last few years particularly, he's pitching in Texas, in the Texas heat, we thought Kenny Rogers was a real bargain on the market.
We went after him; signed him. I really didn't see him pitching for the Yankees a few years ago. A little different Yankee team obviously, but they still had good numbers. Tonight -- no pun intended -- but tonight was definitely a case where he got better with age. As the game started he was okay. They hit a few balls on the button. And as the game went on, he literally got better. He just pitched a great, tremendous, tremendous ballgame.
As a follow up, did he relate to you at all any special incentive he might have for beating this team?
JIM LEYLAND: I think Kenny Rogers knows and knew everything that surrounded him with his time with the Yankees, and the Yankees had great numbers against him. And I think for this one night, I think he got it all together, and he was probably as determined as you'll ever see anybody pitch a ballgame.
And I think that it just paid off for him. Sometimes you get so keyed up that it works against you. I think his adrenaline tonight worked for him. And it doesn't always work out that way.
When you first went out to the mound to talk to Kenny in the eighth, it looked like he said something and he looked pretty determined. What exactly did he tell you? And what were your instructions to him?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I don't know if I can say that in public. (Laughter.)
But he said that, you know, he felt that he was fine, and that he could get Abreu. We had had some conversations about maybe starting the inning with Walker before to get Damon and then go to Zumaya. But we felt when he got Damon out like he did he could go a little longer, and he felt totally confident that he could get him and I felt he deserved that shot. I thought he was sharp enough to still do it, but I did know he was getting a little bit tired. But at his age, you're entitled to that.
With Jaret Wright starting tomorrow night for the Yankees, will you consider moving Guillen up in the lineup perhaps to the three hole?
JIM LEYLAND: Casey will be hitting third and Granderson will be hitting first. We'll go back to our lineup that you saw in New York, and it's not going to be an easy task for us.
I happen to be involved in another big game Jaret Wright pitched in, Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, and he was lights out. We're going to have our hands full and we know that. Hopefully, and I think the big key for us tomorrow will be Bonderman's performance.
Why not Guillen in the three hole instead of Casey?
JIM LEYLAND: I haven't done that all year, and that's one thing I haven't done. Carlos has been in the five hole. I've tinkered around a little bit way up top and I tinker around late to try to get, once in awhile, depending on who is pitching, which is what I did tonight, and it really didn't work.
I put Monroe and Thames up there hoping they would come up maybe one more time around and maybe one of them would have a chance to run into one. That's why we sent Polanco twice on the steal. Thames had two strikes on him, he had two chances, maybe they will pick him off, start fresh, run into one. Sometimes you do stuff that works, sometimes you do stuff that doesn't work.
The Yankees have not scored for 14 consecutive innings. As good as your pitching can be, does that exceed reasonable expectations?
JIM LEYLAND: Why did you have to bring that up? (Laughter.)
Obviously we made some good pitches. I think if the game went on, the Yankees, in my opinion, are the most patient hitting team in baseball. And it's also one of the reasons they are the best hitting team.
As the game went on tonight and we added on a couple of runs, it was really the first time that they became a little bit impatient. But I can promise you, that won't happen tomorrow. It will be a whole new chapter tomorrow. It was just one of those nights where, you know, maybe toward the end, they got a little frustrated, but that will not happen at the beginning of tomorrow's game, I can promise you that.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.