Leyland: It was the players, not the lineup

Leyland: It was the players, not the lineup
October 17, 2013, 12:45 am
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His star-studded lineup had been held to six runs in the first three games, and, after a 1-0 loss in Game 3, people were clamoring for Jim Leyland to make some changes.

The Tiger manager wouldn't commit to anything in his postgame press conference Tuesday. But then he got home . . .

"I was laying on my couch at home [Tuesday] night, watching the Dodgers and the Cardinals, and I just got to thinking," the Tiger manager said. "I didn't disagree with anybody saying we needed to do something. I felt like fans, members of the media, myself, coaching staff -- probably the players, if the truth be known -- [all knew] something had to be done."

What he did was simple: He dropped leadoff hitter Austin Jackson to the No. 8 hole and moved all the hitters up a spot. 

"I thought about it long and hard," he said. "Some people it would just be maybe [Don] Kelly [replacing the slumping Jackson] in center field, but I didn't think that was the answer. So I thought long and hard about it and this is what I came up with."

And it worked. The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead and coasted home, 7-3, in Game 4, tying the ALCS at two games each.

Leyland, however, wants none of the credit.

"This is nothing to do with Jim Leyland," he said. "This is about the players. They executed, they came out, they played well. It was really a good game for us . . . "

And one of those players -- shortstop Jose Iglesias, who batted ninth behind Jackson -- agreed with his manager.

"We were able to put some good at-bats and that was the bottom line," he said. "Put good at-bats together and get some runs."

Helped, perhaps, by Leyland's juggling?

"I don't really see it that way, but [as you saw] tonight, it worked for us tonight. Whatever worked to win."