10/07/11 7:03 PM ET
Postgame interview with Jim Leyland
By / MLB.com
Q. Hey, Jim. I know last night will be a game you'll always treasure, but can you walk us through the procedure of moving on and how you turn from last night to the future?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think we're still winding down. We probably wouldn't even be here today if it wasn't mandatory, to be honest with you. I probably would have given a day off. We didn't get to the hotel till 20 to 6, 5:30 this morning.
People got confused on the time so they were calling me at 8:00. I had only been in bed for half an hour. That wasn't too good.
This is a responsibility and we're out here to try to take care of you guys. You do move on. I think there's some...and I don't mean...I think there's emotional hangovers, not the hangovers maybe you guys think there may be. More emotional and draining hangovers than anything else.
Q. Hi, Jim. What can you tell us about when we might see Delmon Young in the lineup.
JIM LEYLAND: He's being evaluated right now. Our doctors are here and they're doing an evaluation on him. We'll see if they have to take any further steps than just an evaluation. We're hoping not. He actually felt better last night, later.
But we'll just have to play that one by ear. I really don't have any information for you at this time. As soon as we get that, I'll be glad to give it to you. We don't have any. I just saw Dr. Lemos. He's in there now with him. They're waiting for him. We'll have to see how that plays out.
Q. I was curious, after most of a lifetime spent in baseball, what it is that you still love about the game.
JIM LEYLAND: The competition. That's the thing that's always motivated me. I wasn't...everybody asks me if it was my dream to be a Major League manager. No, I never fulfilled my dream. My dream was to be a Major League player. The next best thing was this, obviously.
But I love the competition. That's what sports is all about. Sports is about competing, and we're going to be playing the defending American League Champion, a team that beat the team that we beat last night. They beat them last year. They're really good. It will be great competition. And when you get down to the final four, like this, everybody is really good. The team we played last night was real good. The team they beat was real good.
So it's all about competition. It's all about having the opportunity to manage the best players in the world and to manage against the best players in the world. It's a lot of fun.
Q. Jim, is there any insight you can lend to us about the playoff row...the pitching rotation throughout this round. And if there's any playoff rosters differences?
JIM LEYLAND: We are going to discuss our roster. I'll give you my pitching rotation. There's no secrets this time of the year. I don't worry about...we're going to start Verlander tomorrow. Then we're going to start Porcello. Then we're going to start Fister. And then Scherzer. And then Verlander again at home. And if it would go six or seven it will be Porcello and Fister.
Obviously, some of that is because of what we had to do in the last day or so. But there's no secret to that. I'm not trying to...once in a while if you don't know who you are playing or something, you might have to hold off. There's no sense of holding it off. I'll give it to you guys and 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.
Q. Just back to the situation with Delmon, what's the plan B if he can't go on Saturday?
JIM LEYLAND: That's something that my general manager and my coaches and I will be discussing when I leave this room. We really haven't discussed that yet. We do have...I will say plans B, not plan B. We have plans B. We're going to discuss that after I leave this room. We'll get everybody in and talk about it.
Q. Just a secondary question about Fister, that little pitch that he has that twists away from a left handed hitter, in the back of the day you would call it a screwball. What do you call it now? Because that was very effective.
JIM LEYLAND: It's just a fastball that runs in. He has one that goes both ways. That's one thing he's been good at. He's been able to stay out of the middle of the plate with a cutter and actually a reverse cutter almost, so to speak.
One thing I was remiss last night. I wanted to mention, and I hope for the Detroit writers in particular, Jeff Wetherby and Scott Pleis were advanced scouts for that New York series and they did a wonderful, wonderful job.
Please get their names in the papers because they deserve it. They did one heck of a job advancing with us with the Yankees. They had a lot of great information for us. I was so excited last night to be honest with you I forgot to mention them. They did a great job.
Q. Jim, you obviously had to demand a lot of your bullpen, especially Valverde and Benoit. How do you...does that have any effect on these...especially Game 1 or going forward as far as how you use them?
JIM LEYLAND: No, I don't think so. I think the bullpen...more of the bullpen will be used in this series in a little bit different ways than it was with the Yankees to be honest with you.
I guess you'll have to wait and see that as the series goes on. You'll probably see what I mean. I'm not really ready to disclose that yet. The bullpen will probably be used a little bit different than it was in the Yankee series.
Q. Personnel wise?
JIM LEYLAND: There will be more people involved.
Q. Personnel wise will it be the same people?
JIM LEYLAND: To my knowledge, yes. I don't foresee us making any changes with the pitching staff.
Q. Jim, just in hindsight, can you provide maybe a little bit more insight into your decision not to pitch Verlander? Did you have concerns about his health, maybe, a little bit with you mentioned all the pitches he threw at 100 miles an hour or was it more than him not being right, maybe? What kind of did you go through when you made that decision?
JIM LEYLAND: I thought that was basically a common sense decision. And I think there were also some combinations that played in that. Scherzer won two games at Yankee Stadium this year. Scherzer was more rested than Verlander. He had been very successful at Yankee Stadium. He pitched a great game in the first game that we won at Yankee Stadium. He was more rested.
Verlander was real assertive in the game he pitched. He was throwing 100 miles an hour in the eighth inning.
That's real dangerous. The combination that was a no brainer. That was one that had it not worked out, the world was going to second guess me. I don't jeopardize any pitcher or player's health under any circumstances. I won't do it. It's not going to happen. You can take it to the bank. Other people can feel how he wanted to pitch, he volunteered to pitch.
But that's why you're the manager. You make those decisions, and sometimes they are popular decisions, and sometimes they're unpopular decisions, but you try to make the right decision.
Q. Jim, you've lived at both ways with the bullpen, mix and match at the end of games and what you have now, Benoit, Valverde for the last five or six outs. What are the virtues for you of having it this way versus the other way?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, whenever you have a top notch closer and a top notch setup guy, to be honest with you, it's a big relief for the manager. You hate to look at it like this, but it eliminates the second guessing.
I'm not answering questions why I brought this guy or that guy. Nobody is going to question last night when we had a one run lead in the ninth inning in Yankee Stadium why I brought in Valverde.
If you're picking and choosing and you have to mix and match, that's a little bit of a different story because if it doesn't work out, it's why didn't you use this guy? Why did you use that guy? It takes a load off your mind emotionally. You don't have to worry about it. That's probably the biggest advantage plus they're really good. That's what you try to get to, the consistent set up guy as well as a closer.
We're in a seven game series now. It's a little bit different. So you're going to have to extend your bullpen a little bit, and more guys are going to need to contribute for us to be successful.
Q. Jim, batting in front of Miguel, how much has that helped Delmon Young to produce?
JIM LEYLAND: That was the first thing he told me when he got here. I told him he was going to hit third. I said, are you okay with that? He said yeah, are you kidding me? Hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera. I'm really happy with that. It's worked out well for us. He extended our lineup a little bit. Magglio is swinging good.
I think one of the notes you might be interested in knowing for this series is it's actually pretty good, because some of our right handers all of a sudden are going to come into play more. The Inges and the Raburns because of the staff that they have with Holland and Wilson.
Now it's their time to step up and do a little something. I thought the lefties did a good job for the most part. So that's kind of an interesting side note for me.
We're going to be utilizing our whole roster. That's a good thing.
Q. Jim, in the LCS last year, Josh Hamilton obviously made his impact well known. You guys, when you faced him this year one time, Hamilton wasn't really in the lineup for the series, in the third time Beltre wasn't in the lineup for the entire series. Facing these guys right now, does what Adrian did in the last couple of games of the Division Series have any impact on how you approach Josh?
JIM LEYLAND: No, but I think that's a great point. You can forget the season series, the fact that we won that, because of just the point the gentleman made. We may have missed a couple of star players. Certainly that had something to do with it. You can throw that out of the window. This is a tremendous team, a very versatile team. I like that team. It's very versatile, left, right. Got some speed, got some power. Got a very creative manager who is probably untouched in motivational tactics.
So we know all that. I remind everybody like I did in New York, we're pretty good too. It should be a real good series. Obviously, the best two teams, or the teams that played the best are here. That's the way it should be. We know we have our work cut out. I saw the three home runs against Tampa. Pretty impressive. In fact, very impressive.
But it's a versatile team. It's got some nice pieces, some speed, power, lefty, righty. They're really good. And we think we're good too. Hopefully we'll put on a good show for you. Both of the teams.
Q. So than obviously your lineup for Saturday's is contingent on what you learn about Young?
JIM LEYLAND: That would be correct. I would give it to you if I could. I can't give you my lineup because I don't know if Delmon will be available or not. Obviously that will change things. You can figure that Raburn is going to be in there for sure. Ordoñez is going to be in there nor sure. Jackson is going to be in there for sure.
How that's going to play out...that's if Delmon is not available and Raburn will possibly play second base. Inge will be at third base.
But I can't give you the total lineup. I really don't know the availability of Delmon Young at this time. I wish I could, but I can't give it to you.
Postgame interview with Justin Verlander
Q. Justin, can you just talk about trying to get back on a normal track? Obviously the weirdness of the way the first series went, can you talk about getting started?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Yeah, it was definitely a little odd the situation we ran into. But that's behind us now. Now I'm on my fifth day, started Game 3, and it will be five days on Saturday. So that will be the normal routine.
Q. We saw you out in the field last night sort of standing by the dugout. You were chatting with people and stuff. What was it like for you emotionally knowing that that game could be that kind of game and you weren't going to get to pitch?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: It was definitely tough. Any time that you know you're not going to have anything to do with the outcome of the game, it's difficult. It's just like being a fan, except there's a little bit more in it for me personally being on the team.
But you just do whatever you can. If you see something or cheer hard or hopefully pump somebody up. Whatever you can possibly do to help your team win. Hope for the best.
Q. Justin, coming out of that start against the Yankees, you said afterward I may be a little sore tomorrow. I'm curious if you were, and was it unusual? And what your usual recovery is after 120 pitches. Jim keeps talking about 100 miles an hour in the eighth. I have an a feeling 100 miles an hour in the first isn't a whole lot better for you. That's my question.
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I was definitely a little bit more sore than normal. More so my body and everything than my arm. My arm was pretty normal. Took the day off on the travel day, and came back and threw a bullpen in the third day and felt really good. Everything felt normal, felt great. Normal recovery for me. I don't usually get sore, really. I just kind of am blessed that way, I guess. I don't know. To be sore is abnormal.
Q. Justin, I saw your quotes where you were talking about Jim sticking to his guns and it worked out great. I was curious if after the game last night you chatted with him a little bit and got a laugh over the whole situation in the celebration?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No you know, him and I, I think we've talked about this before. Him and I always seem to differ one way or another. He says potato, I say potato. After the game I can't quite remember, it was in the middle of the celebration. I think he came up to me and something along the lines, you never trust your skipper, do you? It worked out all right, didn't it? Him and I just always had that kind of relationship.
Q. Justin, I think this year you've thrown maybe 2 or 300 more pitches than anybody else in baseball and over the last three or four years a lot of pitches. What do you try to do late in the season like right now to maintain? Are there things you do with your regiment that help you stay fresh even though it's deep in the season?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: No, nothing different now. I think if you're trying to do stuff different now, it's too late. I learned that in 2006. Once I started getting tired, it's like running uphill in sand. Not really going to work too well to try to get back to where you need to be. All the work in the offseason and early in the season, Spring Training and the maintenance throughout the season is what gets you to this point feeling good.
If you're trying to change your routine and do something different now it's too late.
Q. What kind of maintenance?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Maintenance is just regular shoulder programs for myself. It's manual exercise with the trainers in my start day and bullpen day; and then light legs, and I don't really do upper body. I think throwing is enough.
Work my butt off in the offseason, get as strong as I possibly can. Continue that work through Spring Training and once the season starts, it's basically just a maintenance program for me for the entire year to try to keep what I gained in the offseason.
Q. Justin, for you, what are the challenges the Rangers lineup presents that are different than facing almost any other lineup in baseball?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I think the power that they have, 1 through 9, even a lineup like the Yankees, as deep as they were, you have guys in there that aren't really home run threats. It seems like and I haven't really studied their lineup yet, but from what I remember, top to bottom, everybody has pop and can really hurt you at any time. Just got to make your pitches just like everybody else.
Q. How do you approach pitching in this park, which leans heavily towards hitters?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I think you are asking for trouble if you pitch to the park. I think you have to pitch your game and not let the park bother you. I'm going to pitch like I normally do.
Q. Your pitching staff as its lined up, you, Porcello, Fister, Scherzer, you have three guys who have never pitched in the playoffs before the Yankee series. That was kind of like trial under fire. How do you feel now with the experience that they had? I know you feel good about this rotation, but how much better do you feel about it going into the series with what they accomplished?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I feel great. And I don't feel any more confident. I was extremely confident in those guys. Ricky hadn't pitched in the postseason, but he had pitched in Game 163. And Doug, knowing his personality from the time he's been over here, he's just calm and collected always. It's like he had been pitching in big games down the stretch anyway.
So I had confidence in those guys. Max, with his stuff, he can pretty much get away with anything. Whatever he wants to do. If he's on, he's on, and he's going to present a problem for anybody. All three of those guys I was extremely confident in.
I think getting one start under their belt will probably help them. But as far as my confidence in those guys, it was unwavering.
Q. Justin, Doug Fister says his routine is to have no routine. As someone who is somewhat more structured than that, do you marvel at that? Do you admire it? What's your reaction to that?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I think not having a routine is the same as having one. It's the superstition of it. His superstition is to not have a routine. Mine is to have a routine. I think any way you slice it, every starting pitcher has something quirky about them.
Q. Justin, if someone who had never met Jim Leyland said to you, hey, describe who he is, what he's about, how would you do that?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: Oh, God!
THE MODERATOR: Careful, Justin.
JUSTIN VERLANDER: I don't know how to answer this. He's a great people person. He handles individuals extremely well. A good leader. Commands respect. All these things, it's hard to accomplish all in one. That's what makes him a great manager. He's a leader, you know he's a leader, but yet you feel like he's your friend at the same time.
But you respect him. All those things encompass a great manager. I think he is that guy. That's who he is. He has fun. He keeps it loose, light hearted and always has a cigarette in his mouth.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.