CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Oct. 7 Jim Leyland postgame interview

Q.  Jim, it all worked out.  But that 8th inning there was a banquet full of second‑guesses and questions.  And they began with the offense.  It was self‑explanatory why you would have bunted Dirks.  But before that, to have pinch run Kelly ahead of Berry and then to have left yourself with Berry with the runners at second and third with one out, could you go through some options there?

JIM LEYLAND:  I was obviously using Berry to hit for Garcia.  So I didn't want to run him there.  I didn't want to run him first for Delmon Young, if that's what you mean.  So I was saving Berry to pinch hit for Garcia, which is what I ended up doing.  If I would have run him, I wouldn't have been able to pinch hit him.

Q.  Could you have gone with Avila at this point and still had your substitution in place for Laird?  Had you followed up with Berry pinch hitting for Laird ‑‑

JIM LEYLAND:  I think the question what you're getting to is you hit Berry first instead of Avila.  Is that what you're talking about?

Q.  That's what I meant.

JIM LEYLAND:  I thought you meant pinch running.  Pinch running has nothing to do with it.  That's a very good question.  That's one of those Catch‑22s.  I wasn't sure if they would walk Alex.  I felt like Berry had a better chance of slapping the ball somewhere and not striking out, which he ended up doing, than Alex, that's why I hit him first.

Q.  Going back to the 8th inning again, are you concerned with where your pen is at right now?  Benoit struggled once again.  Is there a concern that he's unable to ‑‑

JIM LEYLAND:  No, not at all, I'm not concerned.  It is what it is.  He's our guy.  I totally believe in him.  I totally believe in our entire bullpen.  And that's not going to change.  That's our team.  That's what we are, that's who we are.  And Benoit was fantastic 14 hours ago.  So, no, I don't have any questions about that whatsoever.

Q.  There's not an issue with him with his arm or anything?

JIM LEYLAND:  No, no physical issues whatsoever.

Q.  Was there any thought to using Porcello in today's game, or are you saving him for Game 4 possibly?

JIM LEYLAND:  No, there was no thought in using him as this game played out, absolutely not.  But it could have turned out, if this lingers on, that that's what he'd be down there for.

You have a starter that might be able to pitch three or four innings in case you use your other short guys, then you have that starter to go into extra innings, and if you need four or five innings, you can get it.

That happened to us in 2009, I believe.  It was a Minnesota thing.  We had to extend Rodney four innings out.

That's one of the reasons Porcello was left on, either long righty or a situation like today where if the game gets extended, you've got a guy that's not a one‑inning guy, he can go out and pitch four or five innings, if that happens.

And it can happen, believe me.

Q.  Jim, talk about you have a team of stars with Verlander and Cabrera and Fielder, but Don Kelly was designated for assignment, Quin Berry was almost out of baseball, Danny Worth has been up and down.  I know he knows where Monroe is by now.  Just talk about ‑‑ because Worth made a really good play.  Kelly, that wasn't an easy spot.  And Berry had some big plays.

JIM LEYLAND:  I mean, I've always emphasized that since I've been here.  That's what a team's all about, everybody making contributions.  What gets lost in the shuffle of this game I think is the fact that Danny Worth made a hell of a play and got the force at second.  A tremendous play to get the force out at second.

So it takes everybody to contribute.  And we got contributions from everybody.  So that's a good thing.  That's what a team's all about.

And we're playing one hell of a team.  You saw them today.  They're not going to cash it in, trust me.  Their manager's tough.  Their players are tough.  And we got a long, long way to go yet.

This is a nice win for us, but we've got a lot of work to do.  They'll be waiting for us at the Coliseum, and we've got to win a game somehow.

Q.  Your view of the Crisp bobble in center field, is that just a matter of put it in play and something can happen?

JIM LEYLAND:  That's one of those unfortunate ‑‑ he's an outstanding center fielder.  And it looked to me watching it, I couldn't really tell live, but when I saw the replay, looks like he got his hands in real close to his body, kind of cupped into his body it looked like.

That can be a tough play to make.  And it was just an unfortunate play for them and fortunate play for us because he's been their catalyst.  He's been their guy.  He's a heck of a player.

And that's the human element of the game.

Q.  Sounds like you didn't win the game, Jim, but we've got people asking.  When you're in that 8th and you've got Benoit going against the heart of left‑handed hitters on the power level, of Moss and Reddick and that, is there ever a temptation percentage‑wise to use Coke whereas you used him against right‑handers in the 9th?

JIM LEYLAND:  I don't think when we have the lead in the 8th inning Benoit is our guy against a righty/lefty.  And the reason he's our guy is because he can throw it 95 and he has a great changeup that's very difficult to pick up.

We're not going to change anything now.  If you had a tie game where maybe you didn't want to use Benoit and give him a day off or something, that could happen.  If they got two or three lefties or two out of the three are lefties or three out of the four are lefties, sure that could happen.  But not in a situation where he's fresh and we have the lead.  He's our 8th‑inning guy.  It's that simple.  It's been that way since he's been here.

That's not going to change.  So it is what it is.  But if you were in a tie game where you would use Benoit maybe the day before or two days in a row and they had a bunch of lefties coming up, sure that would be a situation where you'd pitch Coke.  But if Benoit is fresh and we have the lead in the 8th, he's going to be in there.

Q.  Garcia's throw, if Crisp is safe, how big of an inning do you think that could have become for Oakland?

JIM LEYLAND:  It's huge.  Dougy pitched great and it was a huge throw.  You know, this kid is an athlete.  He can run and throw.  He's a tools guy.  You saw one of the tools show off at a big time today.

So it's another weapon.  Most everybody concentrates on offense, but when you have a guy, an outfielder that can hit and run, and he's got that good arm and the capability of throwing somebody out, that's why you call him a tools player.

It was a great throw.  There's no question about it.  That's another play that I forgot to mention.

But that play and Danny Worth's play I thought were huge, absolutely huge.

{}
{}