Oct. 4 Jim Leyland pregame interview

Oct. 4 Jim Leyland pregame interview

Q. Hey, Jim, windy day. Have you been out to figure out what the wind is doing and how it may impact the field?

JIM LEYLAND: No, I haven't been out on the field, to be honest with you. I was watching the playoff games from my office.

But historically I guess it carries a little better in the daytime than at night, but I haven't looked at those conditions.

Q. I know you and Dusty go way back, and I know you know it's the nature of the business to move on, but when you hear something like what happened today, does it still hurt for a guy that you've been at war with for so long?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, we're a fraternity. I tried to reach Dusty. I couldn't get ahold of him. He's a very good friend of mine, we go back a long way. We've competed against each other, terrific manager, and I assume it's just like we fall into those situations sometimes where the general manager, maybe ownership, I don't know, they just feel that it's time for a change. That goes along with our territory.

But, you know, certainly as managers we think about that. I'm sorry to hear about it and I wish Dusty the best. I must be boring.

Q. What do you know of Sonny Gray? I know you probably have studied some on him, but what this kid has been able to do in a short amount of time.

JIM LEYLAND: The problem with Sonny Gray is that we don't know much about him, other than what we have seen on TV and it looks pretty darn good and what our scouts have told us and they've told us it's pretty darn good.

A little anxious when you see somebody you haven't seen before. Really good stuff, really good competitor, hard with an excellent curveball.

We'll just have to wait and see how it looks tomorrow night, live.

Q. With as many singles as you're getting, Jim, and with the problem of scoring runs, would you be inclined to get anymore aggressive on the base paths during the series?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, you might pick a spot here and there, but we are what we are pretty much. We know we're pretty much a gap team and over the fence team, and I don't think you get out of character right now. If you felt like there was a spot, to pick a right spot to take a shot at something, certainly we would do that.

It's a great point, good question. This is how we got here and this is the way we'll probably either go on or go out.

If we found the right opportunity we could possibly try something.

Q. Jim, Doug Fister was raised a short car drive from here. Can you go into what he did here last? He showed a lot of toughness, taking a line drive off his head.

JIM LEYLAND: He's one of our four. And like I said, I felt like I could have started any of our five. I'm sure Bob Melvin felt the same way.

But he's a competitor. He keeps the infielders and outfielders on their toes because he works fast. He's a terrific fielder. Didn't handle that one very good when he got hit, but he's a terrific fielder. And he has movement and his forte is to make them miss hit the ball.

A year ago against Kansas City he had so many strikeouts in a row, but normally that's not the type of pitcher he is. He makes them mis hit the ball, put it in play and makes the defense work.

Q. Jim, now that Justin Verlander's regular season is over, how would you describe the season he's just been through?

JIM LEYLAND: I think it was pretty good. He hasn't given up many runs in a lot of his last several starts, two runs or less.

I think some of it probably not up to the standards that the national media and everybody was used to, so that probably comes as a little bit of a surprise. Probably a little bit of it lost in the fact that Scherzer has been unbelievable with his record and everything. But he's still been an excellent pitcher for us. Anytime you can put him out there, we feel real good about that.

So I expect a very good effort and performance from him tomorrow. He's been a lot better than his record shows.

Q. Jim, is your outfield defense better this year? Is that especially important in a series where both parks are as large as they are?

JIM LEYLAND: Yes, our outfield defense is better this year. Torii Hunter solidified that a little bit, certainly. Last year, if you remember, we platooned a lot in right field. This year, we did that a little bit more in left field than right field.

But Torii settled into right field and Jackson in center and that makes us real good. And Andy Dirks is a great outfielders and Matt Tuiasosopo, who is not on the roster as we speak, did a pretty good job, too. So, yes, I believe our outfield is better than last year.