Oct. 16 Jim Leyland postgame interview

Oct. 16 Jim Leyland postgame interview

Oct. 16 Jim Leyland postgame interview

Q. Was the biggest benefit of shaking up the lineup the fact that Jackson seemed a little more relaxed?

JIM LEYLAND: Jackson did a good job. All the guys did. I don't know if that had anything to do with it, I doubt it very much.

The players executed tonight, they did a heck of a job. Fister battled, Peavy battled, Torii Hunter got a huge hit. We were ready to play. They were ready to play. And Doug and Peavy were competing.

Like I said, we were the beneficiary of a couple of walks that one inning. I was proud of the guys, they came out ready to play. And like I said, Fister was ready to battle.

Q. The way you played the matchup game in the seventh inning with the relief pitchers, is that what we can expect to see the rest of the series?

JIM LEYLAND:  Yeah, well, I'd rather get in a situation where a guy could go one full inning, preferably. But when guys get on like that, then you have to mix and match a little bit. I was hoping Cokey could get Ellsbury out, he was 1‑for‑11 off of him going into that at‑bat. He didn't get it, so we had to make some adjustments. And we were fortunate to get out of it a little bit. But you just do as a manager what you think you have to do to win the game. And that's what we did tonight and that's what we've been doing all year.

Q. In the second you talked about how your team took advantage of what was really a four‑out inning and the walks that you did draw.

JIM LEYLAND: Yeah, we did. That's a sign of a good team. This game tonight was very significant when you saw two teams, in my opinion, I think the two best teams are playing for the American League Championship, that's my personal opinion. And you saw how this is such a dangerous team. They just never quit. They've got a bunch of veterans.

Like I said, Oakland didn't have quite as many veterans and they battled and ground it out. And now we play with a team that has more veterans and grind it out. They're very tough. And I think we showed tonight that we're tough, too.

Q. Talking about the lineup, I mean Hunter hadn't batted lead‑off since 2000. Cabrera hadn't been in the lead. Who had input, was it all your idea?

JIM LEYLAND: I was laying on my couch at home last night watching the Dodgers and the Cardinals, and I kept thinking, because I didn't disagree with anybody saying we needed something. I felt like fans, members of the media, myself, probably the players, if the truth be known, I think something had to be done. I don't want to say this had anything to do with it.

I thought about it long and hard, some people thought it would be maybe Kelly playing centerfield. But I didn't think that was the answer, I thought long and hard about it and this is what I came up with. This has nothing to do with Jim Leyland, this is about the players. They executed, they came out, they played well. It was really a good game for us, and Fister was tough. And we got through one. And the bullpen did a good job.

So we were very fortunate. And the series is tied. The only thing we know for sure is that we're going back to Boston.

Q. This might be overthinking it, you mentioned before the game players would take a second look at it. Do you think that had an impact that it they did say, oh, it's not normal?

JIM LEYLAND:  No, but they know I'm not normal. They've known that for a long time. But I think they knew pretty much because, like I said, I called my hitting coach Lloyd McClendon real early in the morning and I had him text the guys, so there would be no real shock when they came in. But I'm sure when they looked at it, they might not have believed when he texted them, but they believed it when they saw it. I don't know if they went whoa. And maybe sometimes just a jolt like that gets you back in sync a little bit.

And like I said, the players executed tonight. They played well against an outstanding team. And this is playoff baseball, and we'll see what happens. It's tied 2‑2, we're happy with that. We know we're going back to Boston for sure, either one up or one down. Really not a lot to say. We'll come out tomorrow and get after it again.

Q. What do you plan to do with the lineup card?

JIM LEYLAND: I'll throw it away.

Q. On eBay?

JIM LEYLAND: I'll throw it away, unless I can sell it to some bar on the way home (laughter).

I'm not really one of those guys. I don't save stuff. I was kidding the guys before the game today, I don't even ask for an autographed ball by anybody, because you can't read the names on it. I've got all kinds of baseballs, you don't know who they are. I don't need an autographed ball from my team or any other team.

Q. Will you go with the same exact lineup tomorrow? Would you think about anything, the one player who didn't break out for you was Fielder who continued to struggle, would you think of anything about him?

JIM LEYLAND:  I will go with the lineup tomorrow, yeah. I really think you have to. I will go with that same lineup tomorrow. And a lot of people contributed tonight and that was a good thing.

You have seen good pitching. It's not that easy. If you look at all the series, I think it's remarkable, if you looked at some of the batting averages from all the teams involved in the playoffs, and I'm including the National League, it's pretty shocking sometimes. It's just not that easy. It's hard. But I will go with this lineup tomorrow for sure.

Q. As hard as runs have been to get in this series, and I know Boston has the ability to come back, when you got those five was there a sense of letting out your breath a little bit in the dugout or a sense of relief?

JIM LEYLAND:  No, I was not comfortable until I saw the ball that Ortiz hit. I knew it wasn't out of the ballpark. You're not comfortable. I never get comfortable during the regular season. I've been around too long for that. I have an appreciation how fast things happen in a big league game. They happen fast. Particularly against a team like this, no, you're not relaxed a little bit until right now, really, to be honest with you. You go in the office and sit back and relax a little bit, but the heart is still pumping pretty good.

Q. In that lineup change, how much did you consider that it wouldn't just be Jackson who would have something changed, like dropping him, but that everyone was in the change.

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I tried to figure it out where it wouldn't really be drastic. I didn't want to have something drastic. I didn't want something to be comical. I just felt like ‑‑ I thought the biggest thing was to move Jackson out of the lead‑off spot and work around that however I felt would be the best way to do it. This is what I came up with.

Torii Hunter had some success against Peavy, so I thought that's a good lead‑off guy for tonight. He's tough, he's going to grind it. Not that Jackson doesn't. He came out a little bit tonight and hit the ball hard a couple of times, really hard. I was thrilled with it. I didn't want to turn it into a circus, I wanted to tweak it a little bit, and I felt like that was the way to tweak it.