Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lay Off Leyland

By Sean Gagnier

So you think you know more about the Detroit Tigers than manager Jim Leyland? Are you sure about that one?

Last week was the first time I spoke to Leyland in person and his knowledge about the game was stunning. The man knows what he is doing, he just doesn't always show it.

You know what Leyland did on Wednesday night after the game with Minnesota before the day game the next day? He stayed up until the early hours of the morning trying to decide whether to play Quintin Berry or Ryan Raburn, and then he slept on the couch in his office.

Leyland genuinely stresses over each decision that he has to make when it comes to his lineup and his ball team, and yet all he does is catch flak for it. I admit, I have been one of the people who has called for his job in the past, but after hearing exactly what goes into one of his decisions, I no longer believe his job should be in jeopardy.

When asked about Ryan Raburn Leyland had this to say,

"I had to toss and turn with it today whether to play Berry or Raburn and I ended up playing Raburn. The thought process is, if Raburn doesn’t help us against left handers, then we got issues, so you give him the benefit of the doubt to see if you can maybe get him going a little bit. Peralta, Young and Raburn gotta do something against left-handed pitching, it’s that simple. It’s that simple, Jhonny Peralta, Delmon Young and Ryan Raburn gotta do something against left-handed pitchers, it’s that simple"

Now does that sound like a person who doesn't know what their talking about? Not at all. Leyland is smarter than people give him credit for; he knows that his players are struggling but he also knows that he only has three extra players on the roster, one of which is a catcher. He is doing everything he can with what he has.

Leyland isn't  a stranger to being called out though, he talked about a story where he was at his own pool and someone began telling him that he was screwing up the Tigers because he wasn't batting Brennan Boesch second in the order.

"The guy kept saying Boesch hits better in the two hole. Well, it seems to me that wherever I play him Boesch keeps hitting .238, so he's going on about how Boesch needs to hit second but I told him, my stats show that hitting him second or f%&#$ing third or eighth the guy is hitting .238," Leyland said. 

The guy understands statistics and he knows that his team is scuffling, but he isn't just sitting around doing nothing, he is trying everything he can to get this team on a roll and in doing so he may make a misstep, but what do you expect? He's working with what Dave Dombrowski gave him.

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