Verlander and Zumaya, rookies
coming into this setting; can you just talk
about how impressed you were with what they
JIM LEYLAND: You know, I talked to Joe
Morgan about the fifth inning, and like Joe said,
they had Verlander in trouble, but the point I made,
an average pitcher would have been out of the
game. But because of his quality stuff, you know,
that early in the game like when he was in trouble,
he's still good enough to make some pitches
because his stuff is so good.
I mean, if the Yankees get just a guy with
ordinary stuff in a situation like that, they are
probably going to score a bunch of runs and the
game is over. Verlander, his stuff being as good
as it is, he had a good curveball, he's capable of
getting some outs, as long as it's early enough.
Joe just told us, and told us this
morning too, one thing that he likes about you
is that you don't necessarily manage by the
book, you manage by feel. How would you
describe your style, in terms of pulling guys in
1-1 counts and doing whatever you need to do?
JIM LEYLAND: I manage according to my
players and what I see and to what's in the heart to
be honest with you. That's just the way I go about
it. There's some things that are in black and white
on your charts, 4 for 8 or 5 for 6, but just can't
always do that. And sometimes -- those were the
best guys I had to put in in the situation today.
They just did a great job like they had done all
year. I don't really have a style. The players
dictate what type of style you have, and
fortunately, our players have done a good job and
we've been having a pretty good year.
What can you say about
Granderson, the way he's stepped up on this
stage the last couple days?
JIM LEYLAND: He's had some great
at-bats and that's what you have to do against like
a Moose, he's a great pitcher. As you saw today,
our report was great. I mean, he never threw the
same pitch hardly and that's what makes him so
This was just a great playoff game. I think
the thing that I'm happiest about is the fact that, I
hope, and I'm sure we haven't convinced
everybody, because obviously nobody knows how
this thing is going to play out. It's 1-1. But I hope
in my heart that everybody realizes that we are a
playoff team, and I hope that we at least proved
that today. To do what we did today with those
kids pitching and everything and the way we
played the game, I hope at least everybody
believes that we're worthy of being in the playoffs,
because I'm not sure everybody believed that.
After the home run and then the
subsequent hit, I'm not asking you to tell me
exactly what you said to Verlander but you
were very emphatic when you went out, what
was the message at that point to him?
JIM LEYLAND: I just told him, look, we
have to score runs anyway and you just have to
make sure you don't lose your composure now and
you're concentrating, continue making pitches
because we're going to continue to score runs. It's
not going to end like this. Just keep making your
pitches and don't lose composure and get flustered
and start flying all over the place waiting for
something negative to happen. Continue making
your pitches, your stuff is real good today and you
have a chance to hold them down.
That was basically the message. And
you're right, I was pretty emphatic about it.
For a team that has not convinced
everybody by your own statements, how
difficult is it in Yankee Stadium, how different
is Yankee Stadium for a new team in the
JIM LEYLAND: I don't think Yankee
Stadium is any different. You know what makes
Yankee Stadium different? It's the same thing
that made Shea Stadium different in the early 60s.
Everybody talked about Shea Stadium being a
tough, tough place to hit. Yeah, it was, because
they had Seaver, Koosman, Ryan. That's why it
was a tough place to hit. There was some years
where Shea Stadium was not a tough place to hit
at all. Same thing with Atlanta.
So it's not Yankee Stadium. It's the
players that the Yankees have. They are fantastic.
This is a fantastic team. I don't think it has
anything to do with the stadium. I mean that
sincerely. The Yankees played this stadium when
they have not had some good teams and they
have not done very well. So it's not the magic of
the stadium. It's the magic of the Yankee players.
They are real good.
People have been talking for weeks
about the great batting lineup, batting power,
strength. Your guys come in, surprised them a
little bit, don't you think so?
JIM LEYLAND: To be honest with you, I
think we caught a big break, and I don't want to
take anything away from our club. But if you look,
the shadows were pretty tough as it got late in the
game. And you've got a guy throwing 98, 99, 100
miles an hour with shadows, that make the hitting
conditions very tough for both teams. Particularly,
like I said, when a guy can throw at 100. I tip my
hat to Zumaya and our team, but we also caught a
break with the time of day it was.
All year, from Spring Training on,
you put the ball in Verlander's and Zumaya's
hands and they have produced for you and the
moment never seems to bother them, they have
all the talent in the world but they were not
nervous about this at all and came through for
you. Can you talk about some of their fortitude
they have in addition to their 100-mile-an-hour
JIM LEYLAND: Like I say, when you have
that kind of physical equipment, you have good
composure. Doc Gooden, he had good
composure, but when you throw at 98 hook off the
table, you're bound to have composure.
Our guys, they are tough. We've got some
tough kids, and you know, today they pitched
against some tough men. So that made it -- you
know, like I said, it was a great playoff game, and
you know, obviously a little more great because we
But it was just a great atmosphere, playoff
baseball, and like I said, I just hope that we
convinced people that we belong in the playoffs.
The first inning seemed to be a key
when Verlander got out of that, with the way he
pitched to a A-Rod, 98, 99-mile-an-hour fastball
and breaking ball. And the umpire, there were
a couple ready borderline pitches that didn't go
his way, but he seemed to hold it together.
What did Hernandez say when he went out
JIM LEYLAND: He just tried to calm him
down and made sure he didn't overthrow it. We
knew his curveball would be a big pitch and if he
had that pitch going when he needed it, it was
probably going to be a big uplift for him and he had
that curveball going. And of course he got A-Rod
on the curveball at that particular time at that
particular at-bat. We felt like if we had that one
going and the fastball going, we had a chance.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.