10/25/12 9:00 PM ET
Long layoff a factor for Tigers' pitchers, too
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
It turns out that manager Jim Leyland was worried about his pitchers, too -- maybe even more so.
During Wednesday's 8-3 loss to the Giants in Game 1 of the World Series, the Tigers lineup struggled against Barry Zito, who became the latest finesse lefty to hold down Detroit's offense. However, Leyland said he felt that his batters' swings were better than the results.
"We did everything right, and I think that actually showed up in our swings last night," Leyland said. "I thought we had pretty good swings, to be honest with you.
"What worries me to death a little bit, to be honest with you, is the layoff that the pitchers have had. That's what worries me more than the offense."
Doug Fister's Game 2 start on Thursday night was his first in 12 days since his effort in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series at Yankee Stadium. Anibal Sanchez will have even more rest before his start Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8:07 ET first pitch) in Game 3, which will be 13 days after his start in Game 2 of the ALCS.
All of the Tigers' starters threw to their teammates during the club's scrimmages, trying to simulate game conditions. Still, an empty Comerica Park and a packed stadium on the road are two completely different environments.
Delmon's comment not directed toward pitching
SAN FRANCISCO -- Delmon Young isn't known for being particularly quotable on a game. He does, however, have an occasionally biting wit.
When asked whether the Tigers offense suffered the effects of a five-day layoff after Wednesday night's 8-3 loss to the Giants in Game 1 of the World Series, Young spoke out with particularly sharp comments that generated some buzz.
"Offense? We were down 4-0 quick, so you can't blame the offense," Young said.
Starter Justin Verlander and the Tigers fell behind by four runs in the third inning after Gregor Blanco's diving catch robbed Miguel Cabrera of a potential RBI double, preserving what was then a 1-0 Giants lead.
"We were out of the game before we had our second at-bat," Young continued. "Didn't matter if we had two months off or we played yesterday. We were down 4-0 quick."
It was an odd statement from someone on a team that got to the World Series in no small part by pulling out pitchers' duels. The Tigers fell behind by two runs for the first time since Brett Anderson and the A's bullpen shut them out, 2-0, in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
Manager Jim Leyland indicated he was not concerned about Young's remarks, considering it more of a self-defense mechanism to a line of questioning rather than a criticism of the pitching.
Young was back in left field for Game 2 on Thursday night.
Leyland on closer: 'Whatever it takes to win'
SAN FRANCISCO -- On Thursday, Tigers manager Jim Leyland stood by his evaluation of Jose Valverde's performance from Wednesday's Game 1 loss, saying it wasn't terrible but wasn't good.
It did not sound at all, though, like it brought Valverde anywhere near a closing situation for this series. Leyland did not address Valverde's role specifically, or any names for the ninth inning, but his carefully chosen words sounded like he was moving on with a bullpen by committee.
"We'll figure something out," Leyland said. "You just have to do whatever you think it takes to win the game."
It raises the question of whether Valverde's outing on Wednesday will be his last in a Tigers uniform. He's a free agent at season's end, and his agent, Scott Boras, is expected to market the right-hander aggressively for a closing role somewhere. The Tigers, meanwhile, will have several decisions to make regarding their bullpen.
Leyland was encouraged by Joaquin Benoit's two strikeouts but was never as concerned about him as he was about Valverde.
Defensively, Miggy has a supporter in Peralta
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jhonny Peralta played shortstop alongside Brandon Inge for most of the first season and a half of his Tigers career. When Detroit moved Miguel Cabrera to third base, it wasn't just an adjustment for Cabrera. It was an adjustment for Peralta, too.
Peralta came in with his own expectations. Cabrera's defense this season has exceeded them.
"That's what a lot of people think -- they worry about the difference for him," Peralta said. "But he worked really hard in Spring Training. I mean, it surprised me, too. He's doing really good with defense. Nobody was waiting for that, but he's unbelievable."
The Tigers will have to decide soon after the season ends whether they want to keep Cabrera and Peralta as a tandem. Detroit has a $6 million option for Peralta for next season but can buy out his contract for $500,000.
Boras, whose list of Tigers clients now includes center fielder Austin Jackson as well as Max Scherzer and Valverde, was in attendance for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series in San Francisco. The agent said he hopes to attend Game 5 in Detroit, especially if there's a chance to clinch.
"I want to shake [Tigers owner] Mike Ilitch's hand," Boras said.