Oct. 26 Jim Leyland pregame interview
Q. What kind of a look, a different look, do Berry and Dirks give your lineup? And I also wanted to ask you what you like about Dirks as a hitter?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, first of all, it's a right handed pitcher obviously, so that's the lineup we normally play against. Berry gives us a different element with a little speed. Dirks I actually moved behind Delmon. I think it's a pretty nice fit there. He's a pretty good contact hitter, got a pretty short stroke. So it's a little bit of a different lineup, but the thing that dictates it normally is the right handed pitcher.
Q. Over the years what have you learned about trying to keep even keeled when everyone sees a 2 0 series disadvantage, and says the sky is falling?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I like to simplify things. I think I can simplify this one pretty easy: The way I look at it, we're two games back with five to play, but we're playing the team we need to catch, and I think that's the best way to approach it.
Q. Sanchez obviously is a little different build than some of your other starters. What have you noticed about him and the different look that he gives other teams?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, he's pitched pretty well against the Giants in the past, and obviously we're saving Scherzer to give him a little more time to keep recouping a little bit. But Sanchez has really gotten acclimated here in Detroit. I expect him to pitch a good game. The key is we're going to have to get some runs on the board obviously, but I think Sanchez will be fine. I think once he got acclimated here with his new teammates, new manager, new pitching coach, the Detroit scene, I think he's done very, very well.
Q. What do you point to as far as the reason for the greater success you guys have had against right handed pitchers and lefties? And does that give you any added confidence that maybe you guys will hit more upon getting here?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I just think that the little speed element has been pretty good. Berry has gotten some big hits for us, Dirks has gotten some big hits for us, Prince is obviously more comfortable in that scenario, Alex is a little more comfortable in that scenario. That's just the way it's played out. Everybody knows, I'm sure that's why they pitched two left handers in the first two games is because they knew we were a little weaker from that side. But I like both our lineups. You credit the Giant pitching for doing a good job against us thus far, and the fact that we're not swinging quite as good as we can. If you look in the playoffs so far, we really haven't scored a bunch of runs other than the final game against the Yankees.
Q. How did Doug Fister look and feel on the plane coming back last night? And are there any plans to send him to get any more tests?
JIM LEYLAND: I talked to him on the plane last night. He was sitting right behind his folks and I had a nice conversation with him. I'm a little worried about him because this morning he didn't remember our conversation no, I'm just kidding (laughter). He's going to be checked out today. He will be checked out. We will take care of everything, but I do not have any information on that at this time. I have not talked to him. I'm not exactly sure what time his appointment was, but he will be checked out. I think he's fine because I did talk to him. I'm serious now, I did talk to him on the plane last night, and he seemed fine. He's a little sore, but there didn't appear to be anything that looked alarming like loss of memory or he looked fine, his eyes looked fine, and the trainers have checked him out, so I think he's fine.
Q. And you're not sure what tests he might get today?
JIM LEYLAND: What tests?
JIM LEYLAND: I'm not a doctor. I don't really know how that stuff works, to be honest with you. I'm sure they're going to check out the head, obviously, and I'm sure there'll be some I don't know if you give an MRI up here, to be honest with you. So I'm sure there will be some tests run, maybe neurological tests or something like that, but I can't swear to that.
Q. Over the last year or two, how have you seen Alex grow into the role from being a young catcher to becoming an everyday catcher, an experienced catcher, handling a very talented pitching staff, although one that can have some pretty strong wills?
JIM LEYLAND: I think he's matured a lot. I think he was a little bit on the other night, to be honest with you, the World Series action for the first time. So that's behind him now. He's done great. He's done a great job for us, and obviously hasn't hit as well this year as well as he did last year, but we thought he'd be somewhere in between this year and last year. But he's done a fantastic job handling the staff. That's why we caught him with Verlander the other night. He's had quite a bit of success with Justin. But he's doing fine. They're all doing fine. We're in the World Series. Like I said, we're two games back with five to play, and we're playing the team that we need to catch, so you can't ask for anything more than that.
Q. Of all the things that have changed for you over the years, having ten foreign born players has to be does that present advantages or disadvantages from a managerial standpoint?
JIM LEYLAND: No, I don't think so. You do what you do as a manager. You try to prepare for everything, you try to head anything off at the pass about your opposition or your team or whatever you do, and just manage your players against theirs. Truthfully, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, I never worry about the other manager. I never ever felt that I've out managed anybody, and I don't feel I'm going to get out managed. I just try to manage my players, because I don't have any control. I know that if they have got a one or two run lead like last night, I can't call Bruce Bochy and say, "please don't bring Romo in." I can't do that. So I just try to have my team ready to play and get the best results.
Q. How critical is Austin Jackson, getting him going?
JIM LEYLAND: It's big, but I don't really like to zero in on guys at this time of year, because I think there's enough pressure on him with all the national media following us. There's enough pressure on guys, and I think what you want to do is you have to try to get it across to your guys to embrace the pressure. It's my old favorite story. If you studied for the test and there's the test, it's good pressure. If you haven't studied for the test, it's bad pressure. I just want my guys to be able to embrace this moment. And it's still competitive. It's not just we're not happy because we're here, and I've tried to relay that message to them. One year I asked somebody who pitched the seventh game of the World Series last year, this is when we were in the World Series in 1997. Somebody said Andy Pettitte, and I was trying to get a point across, and I said, well, that's not true because there wasn't a seventh game of the World Series last year. So they only remember the team that won. They don't remember a lot of particulars, but they remember who won and lost.
Q. How much do the fans and the energy here at Comerica Park, your guys have played so well here, how much does that play a part in the next two games?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think you always feel more comfortable in your own bed. I don't think there's any question about that. The Giants had a little bit of that going for them out here, we'll have a little bit. But it's still to me it's the ability to be able to concentrate and relax. You have to have that combination in situations like this. You have to have that fierce competitor in you, concentration, but you also have to be able to relax. If you can relax but you can't concentrate, it's no good. If you can concentrate but you can't relax, that's no good, either. The best combination is relaxation and concentration because there is a lot of pressure, but you just have to learn to embrace it. I think that's the most important thing.
Q. How do you convey that to maybe the younger players or players that have not played in a World Series, to just relax and to embrace pressure?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I revert back to their childhood days, do what you've always done. You've been a baseball player since you were this high. Just go out and play baseball. Have fun and enjoy it, but you've got to be able to concentrate. Contrary to what a lot of people think, a lot of people don't know, but you're really concentrating. You're competing, you're probably competing against yourself, but it's good to just revert back to your childhood. This is the moment that you waited for. Don't let it pass you by and miss it.
Q. Former Pistons coach Larry Brown used to have a saying that a playoff series does not begin until the road team wins a game. Is that too superficial, or is that a philosophy that given your situation you can embrace right now?
JIM LEYLAND: There's a lot of clichés and statements by coaches. I've never really been into all that. NFL coaches have it, NBA coaches have it. It's nice, I like to read about it. I've never really thought about it particularly that way. I just think that we're playing a game in Comerica Park tomorrow night, and we're going to do our best to win it. I don't have a lot of psychological stuff. I've never been one of those guys. This is simple to me, we're going to work, bring your lunch bucket, go to work, give them a good day's work for a good day's pay and go home.
Q. The forecast for the next couple days is supposed to be colder and rawer than it's been. How have the way players have kept their hands and even their bats warm over the years changed even since when you managed against Cleveland in the World Series in '97?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, they do have things now. They have the hand warmers like people take when they go deer hunting and stuff like. They have all kind of stuff. We have got heaters in the dugout for both teams, obviously. Ours is going to be a little warmer than theirs, I think, tomorrow night, but that's all right, we're not going to tell them that. I'm just kidding. But there's all kinds of stuff. There's all this type of new undergarments and everything that you wear to keep yourself warm. A lot of guys put those little packets of hand warmers in their back pocket. That's why you see the infielders standing out at shortstop with a hand in their right pocket. They're warming up their hands and stuff. You know what, it's cold, but I mean, this is the World Series. It's cold for everybody. It's cold for the fans, the beer is cold, everything is cold. It's great, enjoy it.