Jim Leyland Oct. 5 postgame interview

Jim Leyland Oct. 5 postgame interview

Jim Leyland Oct. 5 postgame interview

Q.  Jim, by now you should get a sense of when a game is going to go this way. How early did you see that this was exactly the game you were going to get?

JIM LEYLAND:  We figured it was going to be stingy runs and it was. Both starters were terrific, Justin Verlander was terrific, Gray was terrific. Without question, there was no question about that. You could see that the runs were going to be hard to come by and that proved out to be the way it was.

Q.  Can you identify anything, Jim, other than Cabrera's obvious problems, why this offense has shutdown other than good pitching?

JIM LEYLAND:  Tonight I got to give Gray a lot of credit. He was everything as advertised, good, live fastball, 94, 95, 93, 96 a couple with an electric curveball. He was terrific. I got to give him a lot of credit.

I mean, we're not swinging the bats maybe the way we're capable, but you can't take anything away from that performance tonight. He was tremendous. We'll go home and hopefully get the bats going a little bit.

Q.  Speaking about Gray, can you talk about the composure for such a young kid pitching his first playoff game like that?

JIM LEYLAND:  Yeah, well, he was real aggressive with electric stuff. He didn't back off at all. He was very impressive. He came right at us. That's what the report said, they said he would go to his curveball when he got in trouble, which he did.

But I was impressed with his fastball, as well, and he located it very well, too. And he was impressive, and sometimes in a game like this, you lose sight of how Justin Verlander was. He was terrific. This is postseason pitching. That's what you saw tonight at its best.

Q.  Can you give us a sense, Jim, for what your bullpen alignment might have been here as this game went on and some of the thought process into your relief choices?

JIM LEYLAND:  Actually we were in good shape, Alburquerque did a good job. With the lefties, we wanted him to go back out there. He got in a little trouble, and in the end there, I brought in Porcello to try to get the ball on the ground, and hopefully they hit it at an infielder. Maybe you can go to first and get a double play.

We brought him in in that situation, to get a sinker and get a ground ball. And he did a great job and we probably extended him a little bit. But with the lefties coming up, we felt like he was our best choice. He struck out Brandon Moss I think before, and he's got good numbers against left‑handed hitters. So it was set up like we wanted it.

We were hoping to scratch out a run in the ninth and get to Benoit, but just didn't do that.

Q.  Did you consider going after Reddick or did you want the force?

JIM LEYLAND:  We just wanted to get the force and that's why I brought in Porcello, to try and get a ground ball. Home to first if he hit the ball on the ground. You got the catcher running, maybe you can go home and first and double play and try to get out of it. You know, that was the route that we took. Obviously it didn't work out. But I felt comfortable with that.

Alby, he was terrific before, got in a little trouble and he just took a shot with Ricky's sinker that we could get the ball on the ground and get two in one, a double play.

Q.  Jim, you said last night you knew it would be stingy with runs. Did you think this would be stingier, and even though you're a baseball guy, can you appreciate what a great game this was?

JIM LEYLAND:  It was a terrific game. There was no question about it. It was a great game. We had one shot, Austin struck out. We had the guy running because Gray is quick home, and if you remember, I had him swinging 3‑0, because you figure you're going to get a fastball and he saw a lot of fastballs at that at‑bat. And we hoped if he hit it on the ground, we could stay out of a double play. And it was a 3‑2 pitch, probably a ball, but that was easier said than done.

There weren't many opportunities. Put a hit and run on them one time, got the guy to second, just couldn't get him in.

But like I say, he was aggressive. He didn't back off one bit. But like I say, I don't want to lose sight of how good Verlander was. Sometimes people remember the winning team and how good that pitcher pitched, but Justin Verlander was terrific.

Q.  Obviously Vogt wins it with a walk‑off, but what do you think of his previous at‑bat.JIM

LEYLAND:  I'm sorry?

Q.  Vogt's previous at‑bats against Justin Verlander, what do you think of that?

JIM LEYLAND:  They battle hard, too. They have some good pitches, but like I say, he was nasty all night. I thought he had a great challenge with the catcher when he struck him out at the end of the inning. That's baseball at its best. 'Here is my stuff.' He fouled him off. Vogt fouled him off and it was a great challenge. He finally struck him out. Everybody had to battle their best tonight because both starting pitchers were outstanding.