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Oct. 14 Jim Leyland postgame interview


Q.  What did you see in Sanchez today, Jim?

JIM LEYLAND:  I thought both starting pitchers were absolutely terrific.  I haven't seen that much of Kuroda.  I thought he was terrific, and Sanchez was matching him inning for inning.  Not a hit through five I guess it was.

They changed speeds.  Sometimes they threw this and they were looking for that, vice versa, and looking for this, talking about Sanchez.  And he was terrific.  This is a tough place to pitch with a tough lineup and a short porch.  And a whole bunch of left‑handed hitters, it is not easy.  That was quite a feat.

Q.  Scraping together runs hasn't always been easy in some of these well‑pitched games.  What did you like from your team in that regard?

JIM LEYLAND:  I thought we hung in there and took advantage of a couple of things, and Garcia was able to muscle one in there.  He didn't hit it hard but in the right place.  And those are some of the things you need in postseason play.  You never know how it's going to play out.  A blooper here or there.  And I thought Miggy came alive pretty good, and Prince had a great at‑bat against Rapada.

We played good in a tough place to play against a great team.  You have to be very happy with that.

Q.  Jim, we were talking after last night's game about two big plays from Peralta, and he comes up big again in the field.  Is this about as good as you have seen him fielding‑wise?

JIM LEYLAND:  I think Peralta is playing better than he has all year right now.  I think he is playing better than he has all year, knock on wood.  He made grade plays. The bare‑handed play that one inning was fantastic.  Playing better and moving better than he has all year.

Q.  Joe Girardi was in here and referenced the call that Jeff Nelson made.  On replay it appeared he missed the call, and Joe came out very strongly saying that we need more instant replay.  You are an influential voice, what are your feelings about replay?

JIM LEYLAND:  Well, I have been on record several times, I think it happened right here, in fact.  I would be in favor ‑‑ I don't want to make this a total replay game.  I don't think that's good for the game.  But I always said this, and I will say it again, and I know the Detroit writers have heard this, bear with me, I really believe once the ball goes to the outfield grass, fair or foul would be a replay to put in.  And my point is, the game is 9‑1, a guy hits a home run that looks like it is a home run.  They go check the replay, and it is a home run and it makes the score 10‑1.  However, it happened here I believe against Minnesota.  A couple of guys on base, and a ball down to the outfield toward the line literally this much fair.  They don't replay something like that in the eighth inning of a tie game and the seventh play of a playoff, I would be all in favor of that because that was a huge call.  And so I would be in favor of something like that.  But I think I also don't want to make this a game where we're checking with somebody else all the time because then people are going to say "safe or out?"  I am not for that.

I like the human element, to be honest with you.  The umpires do a great job, and at the same time sometimes they go for you and sometimes they go against you, that's just the way it is.  But that is the human element of the game.  But I would like to see fair or foul on the grass.  I know you can't do it on the ground ball because over the bag, the third baseman catches it, and the umpire says "foul" and on the replay it's fair, and he didn't even throw the ball, that is difficult.  Any ball that is in the outfield, if it is questionable you need to check it.  It could be a tied game in the World Series.  I think you need to check that.

Q.  Jim, this was day one of your closer being fixed and not available to you, at least in that role.  I was wondering how you felt about the way your relievers performed today?

JIM LEYLAND:  We kind of, you know, sometimes the game falls in place for a manager, and sometimes it doesn't.  It fell in place with Raul, as hot as he has been, with Raul leading off in the ninth inning.  It kind of fell into place.  Then we know how dangerous Russell Martin can be.  The numbers said he has not hit lefties that great, and you get one more out there.  It worked out today.  Sometimes it falls into play and other days it doesn't.

I want to reiterate a little bit what I said this morning, Jose Valverde will be an important part of this club in this playoff or we are going to have a real tough time.  And I also said that, you know, I would like, and I understand the situation, trust me.  But I just hope that the people back home are, like I said, not too short‑minded because this guy has been fantastic, and is an important piece in the scenario, in my opinion.  You are going to need him.  He has to get a tough out for you at some point.

Today it went fine because we were really, really lucky to be honest with you.  Things fell in place the way the lineup set up.  You let him face A‑Rod because Granderson was on deck, and you get a lefty for him.  And a couple of guys on and it becomes a tough scenario for a manager, and you will never be right.  And as they were saying this morning, a lot of people believe in the moving part, the closing thing.  I don't believe in that.  And the other thing is, that if you use the closer like I did Valverde and it didn't work out, everybody wants to change the closer.  At the same time what will happen if you go by committee, the next question is going to be why did you use Dotel instead of Alburquerque?  Why did you use Alburquerque instead of Coke?  That's what's going to happen next.  And it's kind of fun, but it's pretty nice to have a closer.  And like I said this morning, these guys had the best of all time.  And I am sure that Joe Torre will tell you it was a nice luxury to have because you never going to get second guessed bringing in Mariano Rivera.

Q.  Jim, the last couple of games it seems like the Phil Coke you have been looking for for much of the year, the way he is pounding the strike zone and everything.  Anything he has been working on with Jeff Jones?

JIM LEYLAND:  I talked to Phil this morning, I had a conversation with him in my office about possibly closing the game out.  "Can you do this?"  And I think a lot of times it's a concentration level, and I think right now he is zeroed in pretty good.  And sometimes when you come in for just a hitter or two in the seventh, it can be a little different.  But all of a sudden he had the responsibility on his shoulders today, and he reacted very well.

Now please don't write that Phil Coke is the new closer, because we are going to pick and choose with what we do, but today it worked out, and were very fortunate the way the lineup played out.