May 16th, 2006
We’ve given you more stats than you probably care to remember during the Tigers’ hot start, but here’s one that might yet surprise you: Tuesday’s win gave the Tigers their fourth winning streak of five games or more this season. Jim Leyland’s team has more five-game winning streaks in his first year managing the Tigers than Alan Trammell’s teams did in three years. Heck, Leyland has more five-game winning streaks than any Tigers manager since Sparky Anderson.
As I mentioned in my recap tonight, this win was big for Leyland, who was worried before the game about his team losing its intensity and called it a "dangerous day." They were coming back to the park from an off day during which many players had gone home, they were back in Detroit from a long road trip, they were stuck inside again thanks to the weather and they were facing a team they embarrassed last homestand.
Leyland was worried enough that he wanted to talk with his players before the game. Funny thing is, he also talked with them during their last homestand on a rainy night against Kansas City. The message: A lot of those games are won or lost before they’re played. While one team goes about its business expecting a rainout, the other team prepares expecting to play and works to get its work in. You get a feeling Leyland is trying whatever he can to try to maintain his team’s focus at this point, that he’s trying to ward off complacency.
The Tigers haven’t seemed to let up lately. And that’s how a team like this puts together so many winning streaks.
He’s DHing, batting sixth.