Oct. 16 Jim Leyland pregame interview

Oct. 16 Jim Leyland pregame interview

Q.  Any lineup changes today?

JIM LEYLAND:  Huge lineup change ‑‑ really, I don't know if it's huge or not, but tonight Hunter is going to lead off, Cabrera is going to hit second, Fielder third, Martinez fourth, Peralta fifth, Avila sixth, Infante seventh, Jackson eighth and Iglesias ninth. That's our lineup for tonight.

Q.  Yesterday you were talking about maybe Don Kelly in centerfield?

JIM LEYLAND: No, I didn't go that way. I want Jackson out there with Fister. And Jackson in the eighth hole tonight, hopefully relax him. The lineup I just gave you is the lineup I'm using tonight. Jackson has had some success against Peavy; Donny has not. So just get him away from it a little bit, the magnitude of that lead‑off spot, and hopefully relax him little bit.

Q.  Miguel hitting second, and the thought process behind your top four?

JIM LEYLAND: Basically I just moved everybody up. And that means in the first inning we'll have Hunter, who's had some success. And you know he's tough, he's had some success against Peavy. And follow it up with two guys that could hit a ball out of the ballpark. Miguel, who is always up in the first inning, obviously, Miguel and Prince will come up in the first inning, Victor behind him. I played Victor behind instead of third because Victor can score Prince. But if you put Miggy and Victor right back‑to‑back, you're talking about two guys who have to pinch run for them.

Q. What was the difference between Sanchez between his start against Oakland and the other night in Boston?

JIM LEYLAND:  He started out a little similar in Boston and then he got it going. I think that layoff really hurt him in that Oakland start, to be honest with you. I think it hurt him a lot and then he came back and pitched a few days later that second start, he got it going real good.

Q. Not just in playoffs but season long, when you've had guys on third base, I don't know if it's been a disproportionate number of guys you felt you haven't been able to score less than two outs or the fact that you've had so many base runners that have been in that position. What's been the approach or lack thereof in your estimation?

JIM LEYLAND:  Well, yesterday we just extended the strike zone. That's what you're talking about, scoring guys from third? I think yesterday by our own omission, we expanded the strike zone a little too much. Tony Perez, who is one of the great RBI guys of all time, I spent a lot of time talking about that because good RBI guys are hard to find. He told me he was able to expand the strike zone just enough, but not too much. And probably in yesterday's case, even according to Miggy he expanded it a little too much. And Omar chased a bad pitch, as well. A lot of times when a pitcher gets in trouble, he gets guys out on balls. And if we stay in the strike zone I think we'll be fine.

Q.  I wonder if you could take us through how difficult it is for a manager to make a decision to either honor the urgency of the moment when you make a lineup change or a shuffle like you did against wanting to stick with the people who got you here in the positions that they were in?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think I'm actually doing Austin Jackson a favor. He's getting kicked around pretty good right now. I think it's easy to kick people when they're down. I'm not taking him out of the lineup, so I am sticking with him. If I was taking guys out of the lineup, when you're in the postseason you don't really bench somebody, you might sit them. During the season you bench them for a week or something. There's not anything like being benched in the postseason. I am sticking with him, just a different spot. The strikeouts so far, it's got to get to you a little bit. And like I said, anybody can kick somebody when they're down little bit. I just wanted to refresh him, put him lower in the lineup, and hopefully that will relax him a little bit. You've got Torii Hunter and Cabrera and Fielder hitting right in the first inning, that's pretty good power and we've got to try to get on the board somehow. And we know we live with extra base hits and home runs because there's not much speed up there. But the speed that was up there was not getting on base. We maneuvered a little bit. I really thought about this long and hard last night. People were talking ‑‑ Jeff said maybe, you know, about Kelly. But I didn't think that was the answer. I thought long and hard, if I could come up with something, I thought long and hard about this, and I think it makes a lot of sense. I really do. I mean, we scored one run and no runs in two of the games. It certainly can't hurt. We're going to take a shot. If nothing else, when guys look at the lineup card they kind of look at it a little bit. And maybe it wakes you up a little bit. Not that they've been sleeping, they've been great games. Just a little something to, you know, churn up the butter a little bit.

Q.  You talked about extra base hits and home runs and Prince Fielder is a guy you rely on to do that. He has his hits, but not a lot of extra base hits. Have you seen anything from him?

JIM LEYLAND:  No, just he hasn't hit a ball out of the ballpark, a lot of extra base hits, that happens. That's just part of it. Like I've always said, when he stands in the batter's box, you think something big could happen at any time, and I still feel that way. Will it happen? I don't know. Big Papi came up with a huge one, Napoli came up with a huge one. Who knows. But I don't want to put any pressure on anybody, say you have to go up and hit a home run. I felt good yesterday against Uehara, we might get a three‑spot here. Uehara made a terrific third pitch with a split, and struck him out, to his credit. But I guess that we don't all agree, you don't always agree with me, and I don't always agree with you. But I think this is one thing we both agree on, we had to do something. I thought we had to shake it up a little bit. I think most of the writers and the broadcasters and the media people agree that we had to do something. I'm certainly not turning my back on Austin Jackson, he's in the lineup. I think I need him in there for Fister. I think down in the bottom of the lineup it could help us. We've got speed with Iglesias, Jackson and Infante. Is it going to help? I can't answer that. I agree with all you people and I think you agree with me on this one; we had to do something. It's a little bit of a shocker, but, hey, you know, postseason, let's try something. I'm not afraid to try something. Like I said, I thought long and hard about this last night. I wrote it down. It looks pretty good. I checked with a couple of people, and a couple people really liked it. My coaches were on board, they liked it. I even went as far as to make sure that Mac texted every player today, so they weren't shocked when they came to the ballpark and saw a different lineup card. We made them aware of it a lot earlier this morning or a lot earlier in the day. And everybody's on board. Like I said, we've got to try something. We've got to get on the board somehow. We've got to get some runs. You can't really change players. We've had Dirksy in there, we've had Kelly in there, Santiago, and Perez haven't been in there. But it's not like you can grab two or three different players and put them in the lineup. You've got to be creative with what we've got. That's what I tried to do, for better or worse.

Q. Obviously you guys have been part of two 1‑0 games this series. The first one went nearly four hours, last night it went three and a half. I'm curious why you thought those games were such a grind and went on so long.

JIM LEYLAND:  Well, first of all, in postseason, we're basically playing ‑‑ and I don't want anybody to take this wrong, we're basically playing a Red Sox‑Yankee in‑season game. They seem to go a long time. If you watch them on Sunday night ESPN, they go on forever for whatever reason. We're playing Boston, so now we're a culprit too. I don't really know. You've got the TV, obviously it's longer between innings. You've got the seventh inning, "God Bless America" and things of that nature, which we're certainly all for. They seem to run a little bit longer. But I've always said that ‑‑ I heard this a long time ago, and I kind of stole it from somebody, these games, they're like a movie, if it's a good movie you don't mind staying a little longer; if it's a bad movie, you don't mind leaving early.

Q.  You said you had Mac text the players to make sure nobody was shocked. I wonder when you make such a big lineup adjustment, is it a concern of yours to not have your players think that maybe there's a little panic involved, you know what I mean?

JIM LEYLAND:  I can't cover everything. You guys wanted me to change something, and now you want to find the flaw in something we changed. I did what I thought was the right thing to do. And I really wanted to give you guys something to write about and talk about. This should be a good time for you. You can say I'm nuts, you can say I'm dumb, you can say whatever you want. It does give you something to write about. Other than Jackson struck out 18 times, Leyland needs to do something. So here it is, have a good time with it. We'll see how it plays out. And I will be willing to answer the questions after the game.

Q. Just real quick, again, you talked about it last night, the pitching, over the last three games here and throughout the whole playoffs on either side, the word that just keeps coming to mind when you look at the numbers, it's historic.

JIM LEYLAND:  The pitching, you talk about Sanchez and Lester, you talk about Scherzer and Buchholz and then you talk about Verlander and Lackey. And you know what? Tonight you're going to see, in my opinion, two of the most competitive ‑‑ two of the most competitive pitchers in the Major Leagues are going to go at it tonight. They might not get all the attention that the other guys get. But you're going to see two of the most competitive pitchers in this League go at it tonight. That's pretty good.