10/10/11 9:45 PM ET
An interview with Tigers manager Jim Leyland
By / MLB.com
Q. Jim, I know these are a tough two games, but it really seems like they've been so close that this series is really just getting started, don't you think?
Leyland: It's been a great two games. It didn't go the right way, obviously. They earned it, and we didn't quite get it done. We haven't been able to come up with any big hits. That's really hard.
We've had some opportunities, but up to this point, we just haven't been able to do that.
Q. Jim, do you think Austin's pressing a little bit? And you're probably limited in terms of being able to move him down in the order, it looks like, because of ...
Leyland: Well, I don't know. He could be pressing a little bit. But we'll see. We'll look at that and see what we think about it. It's one of those things where if he does get going, he's really a catalyst for us and he really excites our team. That's a thought, obviously. We'll talk about that.
Q. How did Young seem to come through that game?
Leyland: OK, I think. We're going to wait and see tomorrow. I'm not sure if he'll play tomorrow or not, but we're going to wait and see. I think he probably came through it OK, as good as can be expected. But I have to check with the trainers on that.
Q. It looked like you talked to Max when he came in after that inning. Were you telling him one more batter and we're going to go the left-hander?
Leyland: I was going to let him have Cruz, obviously. If Cruz got on, I was going to bring in a lefty. If he got Cruz out, I was going to let him go. I thought he was throwing great. He was throwing tremendous. If he had got on, we would have gone to Benoit. I thought he was throwing outstanding. He tried to elevate one in the strike zone, and he didn't get it there and of course he tied it up. I thought he threw outstanding. He did a tremendous job.
Q. Jim, did Santiago have a chance to score on the double by Kelly?
Leyland: No, the ball came back to him. We were hoping it would kick back, but it didn't. It just came back to him and that's kind of the luck of the draw.
Q. Jim, can you talk about your strategy there in the ninth, with walking Napoli intentionally with Cruz then coming up? What was your thinking there, and how did you feel about that whole inning the way it played out?
Leyland: We knew they weren't going to bunt. We were hoping to get a ground ball and get a play, and maybe get two quick outs to have a better shot to get out of the inning.
As it turned out, we did get out of it and we did get a double-play ball. First to home, double play. We did get out of it.
We just felt like it's kind of a catch 22. They got so many good hitters. But if you can get a ball on the ground, you can get two for the price of one.
So Napoli swung the bat pretty well, obviously. He's been hitting the ball well this series. Good batting average and everything. Ironically, Cruz has been the guy who has been a little quiet, to be honest with you, up to this point. Today, of course, he had two big ones.
Q. Jim, it evolved into a battle of the bullpen. Especially the Rangers having to go to it early. Obviously, you were hoping to find a crack there at some point.
Leyland: I thought all the bullpens did good. Both bullpens did a great job right up 'til the end there. Ryan just looked like he hit a slider. He got in a little trouble there and we had a little miscue there in the inning. That stretched the inning out a little bit. If you don't have that, you're still in the double play situation. Where you can once again get two for the price of one and maybe get out of the inning.
If you keep giving a team like that that many opportunities, they're going to get you eventually, and eventually they got us.
Q. Jim, just to go back to the third inning. You got pretty hot with the umpires. What did you see on that ball with Victor?
Leyland: First of all, I'm going to explain this very carefully. You always risk getting fined when you talk about this kind of stuff. I'm going to explain the only reason I was upset. I knew the ball hit him. OK? But it wasn't called. OK? He checked the ball for polish and it wasn't called.
The reason I was upset is myself, and I believe every manager in the league that goes out on a call like that and asks the umpire to get help, they tell you they can't get help on that if somebody would have seen it, they come in right away to say they saw it, and they call it. Nobody moved. Nobody came in.
So my question to them was, "Who saw it?" And if somebody saw it, why did they not come in right away and call it? I wasn't questioning at all whether or not he got hit. I was questioning the process by which I've been told all year, and I assume every other manager has, that's normally one where they say I can't get help on that one.
If somebody would have seen that, they come right in and call it right away. Yes, definitely it hit him. I saw it. And nobody moved. That's the only reason I was upset about it. I knew the ball hit him.
Q. Jim, you still have to feel fairly good, going home with the three pitchers that you've got going?
Leyland: I don't feel as good as Texas does right now, obviously. But we're playing. They've got to win two more. We have to win four. It's that simple. That's pretty simple math. We haven't been able to get the big hit. We've had our opportunities.
The first inning in both games so far, in my opinion, has really come back to haunt us a little bit. We didn't score when we had a great opportunity in both games. They did score. They came right back and did score.
So the first inning has really been a little bit of a nemesis for us up to this point. It's been a Jekyll and Hyde inning. Looked real good for us, not so good for them. All of a sudden, it wasn't so good for us and it was good for them. It's been kind of a strange inning so far in this series.
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