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Oct. 25 Jim Leyland pregame interview

Q. With all the success you've had in your managerial career, the way this club came on late in the season, the first two rounds of the postseason, has that been particularly gratifying for you?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, we did this last year. We kind of floundered around and last year at the end we made a good run and kind of pulled away. This year we were behind and trying to catch up. We finally caught up and then eked in.

Yeah, I think good teams -- and we are a good team obviously -- they're going to play good at some point, and we ended up kind of floundering around all year long; we played good, didn't play good, played good, didn't play good, and then finally played good at the right time. Playing good at the right time is real important, and we played good at the right time just like the Giants did. They pulled away from the Dodgers.

Q. With how little Delmon has played out in left field recently, was there any thought of going with Dirks out there?


Q. Since you got Fister, what did you learn about him and his personality that you didn't know before, before you got him?

JIM LEYLAND: He's a real intense guy. He's very athletic; one of the best athletes we have on the team. He's a tremendous fielder. He's actually gotten more, knock on wood, more strikeouts than we thought.

He's really a kind of mis hit it type pitcher, but he has had some strikeouts. At one point this year, everybody knows, nine in a row. Unbelievable really, and that's when he's got them all working. But he can get by on nights when he doesn't have them all working if he's got the movement on his ball and moves late, he can make them mis hit the ball.

So he's got a pretty repertoire, but he can get by some nights when he doesn't have everything if he's got that late movement on his fastball. But very athletic and a tremendous fielder.

Q. In the World Series is it easy to dismiss last night's game that quickly for you and your team?

JIM LEYLAND: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, last night's game is what it is. I mean, we got beat. They played better than we did, obviously. There's no question about that. You know, Justin by his own admission was out of whack.

But you know what, to our credit, in my opinion I thought we swung the bats pretty good last night. I thought we had good at bats. There was nothing wrong with our at bats last night. We might have been a couple good catches by the left fielder from it being 6 3, 6 4 ballgame. They were better than we were last night, plain and simple.

In these games you've got to be able to turn the page. It's pretty much like the regular season. I know there's more of a sense of urgency now because you're talking about a seven game series. But you have to be able to turn the page and tonight is a new chapter, different pitcher for both teams. Whoever pitches best is probably going to win.

Q. You said yesterday you weren't sure about who you were going to catch today. You went with Laird. Can you talk about that?

JIM LEYLAND: I did. I think if you listened to what I said yesterday, I think it made a lot of sense. Alex would have sat for 10, 11 days without playing at all. He had a good rapport with Verlander. It didn't work out that way last night, obviously. But I think it made a lot of sense.

But we'll go back to Gerald tonight and then Alex will play when we get home against the right hander Vogelsong. So we got him a game in, I think it made all the sense in the world, and tonight we'll go back to our total right handed lineup against a left handed pitcher.

Q. With Verlander only going -- not going deep in the game last night, would that at all open up the possibility of him coming back early in this series?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, he's coming back in Game 5, I hope.

Q. It wouldn't be Game 4 then?


Q. What was your assessment of Valverde and what's his role going forward?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I certainly don't think he was bad last night. He wasn't real good. I think the biggest thing with Valverde is the same thing bit him last night a little bit that's bitten him all year where he's been too much in the middle of the plate. Some people say he's not throwing the split enough; some people have all kind of answers as to what's been wrong. But from what I see, he was 92, 93 last night with a couple 94s, I believe, so I think it's just a matter of locating his fastball and keeping it out of the middle of the plate.

Pagan did his split down and in, which is a pitch that a left handed hitter just threw the head of the bat on. I certainly don't think he was real bad, and he certainly wasn't real good, don't get me wrong. But I thought it was a good opportunity to get him back out there, get him back on the mound, get a little bit of a feel for it and see how it played out.

Q. What are your impressions of how Bruce Bochy has managed this year with some challenges like losing his closer in April and losing Melky Cabrera to a suspension and some of the other things he's dealt with?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, Bruce Bochy is a great manager in my opinion; he always has been. I was really impressed with him when he was at San Diego. He runs a good ship; he doesn't get too excited. He's tremendous with his bullpen. He was smart enough he's got three left handers in the bullpen, so it's pretty versatile.

A lot of people say, well, you get out managed when -- well, sometimes, like I said, left handed hitters are going to have to get a hit off a left handed pitcher because when you've got three left handers down there and you can mix and match like that, that's a pretty good weapon for you, and he does it as good as anybody. He's a tremendous manager with a tremendous approach.

I think they know who's in charge. He knows exactly what he's doing. He's a terrific, terrific manager.

We all have to handle things during the course of the year, and I think he handled the Melky Cabrera thing as well as anybody could have possibly handled it.

Q. What did you know about Anibal Sanchez before he came over this summer?

JIM LEYLAND: I didn't know anything about him, to be honest with you.

Q. What did you learn about him once he got here?

JIM LEYLAND: I think once he got over here and got acclimated -- when I say I didn't know anything about him, I had seen him pitch on TV and stuff, but I didn't really know the young man. When he came over, once he got acclimated over here to new teammates, new manager, I think his wife was expecting at the time, they just had a baby recently. There's a lot of stuff that goes on with a player sometimes during the course of the season that the average person doesn't know about.

Once he got in his comfort zone, I think he's done absolutely very, very well. He's a very, very good pitcher and has pitched, knock on wood, in the past pretty good against the Giants. He was a great addition for our ballclub, as was Omar, and we're very, very pleased with him.

Q. In recent years the NL when they play in the NL park has really had a pronounced advantage in the World Series. Any theories as to why it's become especially that case here in the last few years?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think it's common sense. I think, like for instance, let's use this example. The guy pitching tonight for them is a really good hitter. Our guy is not supposed to be a good hitter. That is some type of an edge.

Any time you're looking for a little bit of an edge, I mean, that is definitely an edge. There's a lot of things that go into it, but it's amazing because normally over the last several years, I think I'm correct in saying that the American League has had the advantage in Interleague play.

I don't really know that much about the World Series, haven't paid that much attention to it, home park or not. But it's different, and I think it's different for your pitcher not only in that he's pitching a game, but now that those moments that he takes underneath to sit and relax between innings, now he's hitting. Now he's scuffling to get his helmet; now he's worried about am I going to bunt or what am I going to have to do here. There's another element that comes into play that affects the pitcher, I think, in a lot of ways.