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Oct. 25 Jim Leyland postgame interview

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Q. With Valverde out of the closer's role, obviously Coke has had a little different role lately. How much of that was part of the decision to go with Smyly instead of Coke in the 7th inning?

JIM LEYLAND: That had something to do with it obviously, but Smyly has been doing a good job. If you look at what he did in the Yankees series, he was pretty impressive. Two different times out he got some big outs for us. So that was a no-brainer for me.

But you're right, probably if Valverde was ready, probably would have had Coke in that situation, but Smyly did fine. He got a little bit wild there, but he got a couple big outs. He got the double play ball and gave us our shot at it.

So we walked a guy later on to give them the add-on run, which was a real close pitch, with Dotel and Posey, but I thought Smyly did fine.

First couple pitches he threw, he was totally out of whack. But he got it himself and ended up throwing the ball pretty good and got the big double play.

Q. In the 7th inning when they had the bases loaded and nobody out, you had a couple choices. Can you run through your thinking on infield and infield back?

JIM LEYLAND: Yeah, we felt like we played double play depth because we felt like we couldn't give them two runs. That's why we did that, and we got the double play.

To be honest with you, we were absolutely thrilled to come out of that inning with one run, absolutely thrilled. I mean, we had to score anyway. You give them two, it makes it a little bit tougher, obviously, but we felt like we didn't want them to open it up. We got the double play ball and we got out of it, and it actually worked out really good for us.

Q. When you got to the mound with the Fister incident, what did he tell you?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, if you'd have been out there, it was something to see, because the trainer was saying, "where are you," "San Francisco;" "what game is it," "game No. 2;" on and on and on with a few of these things. Actually, I don't want to make light of it, but it was kind of comical really because Doug was right on with everything. But I was scared to death when it happened. I didn't really realize exactly how it hit him. It kind of grazed I want to say the side of his head, the back of his head. It was a scary moment, obviously, but he was fine. You know, it's a little scary for a manager because you never know if there's a later reaction with something like that.

Q. Did he say that he didn't feel it?

JIM LEYLAND: No, I don't think he said he didn't feel it. He just was pretty blasé about it, really, and just said that he was fine, and he went on. But you always worry about something like that after it happens, maybe you're all right, and then you come sit in the dugout and all of a sudden you've got a bad headache or something and that puts a different light on things. And he was fine, and he pitched outstanding. Both guys did, Bumgarner and him.

Q. Will Fister get any tests that you know of to make sure he's okay?

JIM LEYLAND: I would assume that -- we have doctors with us, obviously, so I'm sure he's been through the follow my finger and all that stuff.

Q. Sending Fielder home in the second inning, can you talk about that?

JIM LEYLAND: I think Gene just got a little overaggressive. We hadn't been scoring runs other than in the final game against the Yankees, and we wanted to be aggressive, and I think he got just a little overaggressive, and it was a bang-bang play, and by the way, I did go out. I thought with my naked eye, I thought he was out, but when Prince reacted, I thought, well, maybe he might have missed him. But the umpire made a great call. He made an absolute terrific call in a big situation, a tough situation, a tough call, and he made a great call.

Q. You've got a lot going on with your bullpen. What's your level of confidence in the guys you have out there now?

JIM LEYLAND: Terrific. I thought Benoit threw the ball great last night, Coke's been throwing great; Porcello threw the ball good; Alburquerque threw the ball good. I have no problem with it at all. The game tonight was 2 to 1. The bullpen didn't really hurt us a whole lot last night, really Justin just didn't have a very good game, gave up five runs, so that means the bullpen ended up giving up three and some mixes and matches, but the bullpen tonight, they did fine. I have great confidence in our bullpen.

I think the minute you lose a close-unquote true closer or what people think you have, then people begin to question your bullpen a little bit more because there's more conversations; who are you going to use, how are you going to mix and match, so I think that happens.

Q. That late in the game you have six outs to score, do you think it's a debatable situation to you whether or not to bring the infield in or back or is that a no-brainer for you?

JIM LEYLAND: No, it's not debatable to me. Some people might debate that, but I felt we had to take our best shot to come out of it with one run because if we don't score, it doesn't make any difference anyway. We had to get one run and if we come out with one and we get one finally, then the game is tied. So I thought that was a no-brainer, to be honest with you, in my opinion.

I can't let them open the game up. We're obviously struggling, only got two hits. You think you've got a chance with six outs to go to possibly get a run, particularly with part of that order that's going to be the top of the order pretty much.

We ended up close to Cabrera. We were obviously taking it to the last inning to try to get to him. But actually things worked out pretty good. We had Berry there to lead off against the closer and we were pretty happy about it. The extra run was a little bit of a killer.

Q. What's your perspective on the offensive struggles? It's a pitcher's ballpark, I know. San Francisco's pitching has been good. Do you see any rust from the time off?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, what are you going to do about it? I don't have any perspective. We got two hits tonight. I'm certainly not going to sit up here and rip my offense because last night I thought we had some pretty good swings. Cabrera hit a bullet tonight. We had the unfortunate play at the plate early, so no, I think our offense is fine. I tip my hat to them a little bit and we've got to do a little bit better offensively, but no, our offense is fine.

Q. With Bumgarner, is it more the deception? Is it his stuff? What is it?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think he just had a pretty determined look on his face tonight. He made some good pitches when he had to. He probably got pumped up a little bit. I think he had struggled a little bit recently, so I think he was probably pumped up, and he ended up pitching a good game, and we didn't do very much with him. I tip my hat to him, as well.

Zito and him pitched well, but we think we are a good offensive club, so hopefully we'll get our offense going when we get back to Motown. But this was a really, really good World Series game. It just didn't turn out right for us. But I thought it was a very good game, and there was a lot going on.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about Fister's performance tonight?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I thought Fister was terrific. I was a little worried about him because it had been several days, and we did the best we could, obviously. He pitched two innings the other day against our hitters. That's the best we could do. I was a little worried going in that maybe his control wouldn't be real good. But I thought he pitched terrific. I thought he did a tremendous job, and he just wasn't quite as good as Bumgarner, but he was pretty darned good.

If you give us that performance as a starter all the time throughout a series, you feel pretty good about it.

Q. It seems like right now everything the Giants are doing, they're getting the breaks. You may not be getting the breaks. Do you look at it and say it's that close to just having that thing work their way?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, number one, I don't think they're getting any breaks. I think they've earned everything they've got. You got a freak play that hit the bag yesterday, but that's the game. I don't think they're getting any breaks.

Up to this point they've outplayed us. They did a little bit better than us today. They did quite a bit better than us yesterday. But I always tip my hat. I don't consider we're not getting breaks. I mean, Sandoval made a great catch, the left fielder made a great catch last night, two of them. I mean, they're playing good. They're playing like the Giants play, and we expected that coming in. They're good. They're really good.

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