Leyland on French, Miner

The Tigers’ first pitching change of the night seemed almost like a previous night’s game by the time the Tigers rallied ahead for good in the 16th inning Friday night/Saturday morning, but the move from starter Luke French to Zach Miner ended up playing a big role in this game. French, while walking two hitters and working deep into counts on others, managed to keep his outing from far worse with timely outs. Miner, after retiring Michael Cuddyer to strand two runners in the fifth, allowed five of six batters to reach base safely in the sixth, capped by back-to-back triples that drove in three runs and set up the game-tying sacrifice fly.

The rest is a long bit of history.

“Everybody’s got to make their contributions tonight,” Leyland said. “Because Zach had a bad night, it cost us a lot. That’s just the way it is. That can’t happen. You’ve got a 7-2 lead. You’ve got to go in there and get us three outs. That’s just the way it is. I’m not upset with Zach; I’m just making a point. That’s why I talk about every pitcher making a contribution. …

“This game should’ve never gotten to this point. You’ve got to come in and stop it right now. It’s 7-2, You’ve got a free run, nobody on base. He just didn’t get it done. He was up with everything and he had a bad night. But he’s been doing a great job, too. I want to make that clear.”

On French, Leyland suggested the rookie left-hander’s 10-day layoff left him rusty.

“I think a lot of that was from the layoff,” Leyland said. “So he did fine. He actually came out of it doing fine.”

As for Saturday’s bullpen, Leyland said everyone should be available but Zumaya, whom he said he’s going to rest at least Saturday and possibly Sunday after 50-plus pitches.

10 Comments

Very important win no doubt. And they deserve credit for finding a way. But this game also revealed some trouble spots as needing attention and not pretense.
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Anderson as an outfielder and a hitter is not any kind of solution. Miner as a reliever is too unstable. Dolsi is never gonna win a Gold Glove. Even Laird was yelling at him to back-up 3rd at one point. Getting over to cover 1st base is always an adventure.
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This team has needed a steady dependable and productive left-fielder for years, and still does. That problem has been compounded by the need for the same in RF. I don’t know how skilled management can be at this time but they need to find a game changer that can play a corner OF spot–and that is even if Ordonez finds his way back. My fingers are crossed and I hope Illitch opens his pocketbook once again.
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We still could use a proven closer. Rodney has done OK but everyone with a brain wonders how long that can last.
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Jackson has been tremendous, I hope he can shut these guys down today and his team treats him to a Win.
I’m more than a little worried about Porcello–especially here in Minny. The infield is his friend but a lot of those ground balls could scoot through pretty quickly on that carpet.
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MCab had a bad game yesterday–I hope that’s out of the way.

Bringing Tracey’s comment forward to this post because I agree with what she’s saying. It does seem that Miner gets no leash at all from JL, and is expected to never ever have a bad outing. We can give Dontrelle and Nate and Galarraga every opportunity, but Zach is not extended the same courtesy. But this is why I say Miner is a starter, not a reliever. He’s liable, as most starters are, to come out without good stuff. Unlike a starter, he doesn’t have the luxury of finding his stuff later in the game and turning things around. Bottom line here is that Leyland could have and should have removed Zach when he saw him struggling, but he waited till the horse was out of the barn, to use his own saying against him. Bottom line is he appeared to be covering his own bottom.
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Taking French out at that particular point was surprising, and if we’d lost the game, JL would be getting roasted this morning. I thought Luke was starting to get hit hard but assumed JL would try to get him in line for the win. Leyland’s actions demonstrate the importance of these mid-season games.
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I can’t say enough about Gerald Laird as a catcher. This is not an easy staff to catch, both physically and mentally, and he does an outstanding job. I’m not happy that Ryan will have to catch today, but maybe Jackson is the best pitcher for him. I miss Dane, I don’t care what he didn’t hit. He was nearly Laird’s equal back there.
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I suppose today’s game will be about which team is more affected by the funk factor.
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–Rich

I would hope he meant to include Freddi Dolsi with Zumaya as not available, and that Dolsi is in fact included as part of “everybody”. He out pitched their number 6 guy by a lot.

The 6th inning went south so fast for Miner, not really sure Lyon was ready to come in. If I remember correctly, it was homer, single, walk, triple, triple in pretty quick succession. I didn’t see any postgame remarks from Leyland, only read what Jason posted here. I don’t think JL was berating Zach. He was only stating the fact that Miner had a poor outing–said he wasn’t mad at him, said he’d pitched well for us thus far. I don’t consider that a short leash–just stating the obvious. Seems to me he’s gotten on JV for elevated pitch counts and Zumaya for overthrowing. I think JL knows these guys a lot better than we fans know them and I”ll give him the benefit of the doubt on who needs tongue lashed and who needls his ego massaged.

–Ed

The single worst play of the game was JL’s taking out of Luke French when he needed just one more out in the 5th to be in line for the victory. Yes he was struggling but he had just K’d Morneau and he had something left in him I think. I’m not a believer in karma or anything, but there is something about doing the wrong thing that can come back to make you pay. JL can argue his strategy in an impersonal calculating way, but baseball is played by people. As a leader you have to recognize that there is a higher plane of what is the right thing to do. You have to weigh respect for your players above fear of failure. I’m disappointed in JL for not giving Luke at least one chance to claim his W. It was the wrong thing imo and when the Twins came back to tie the game in the 6th, I truly thought the game was lost.
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Absolutely agree with you Rich. Laird played a flawless game. He’s a gritty catcher and he keeps his head in the game from start to finish. Probably the mvp of this game.
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JL’s comments on Miner are “stupid” (Dan’s word of last night. Which by the way was pretty funny). “I’m not upset with Zack, I’m just making a point.” Rubbish….. On the one hand he says that Miner “is doing a great job”, then he pretty much says Zack ruined everyone’s night. Too bad JL. You’re the one who took Luke out, not Zack. Maybe they should trade him to a team that would appreciate him as a starter………
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Placido is a joy to watch, especially when he has a game like this.
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Josh misplayed that ball, but I was much more angry with Minnesota for providing that creepy “so called padding” around the post that’s just a bad injury waiting to happen. Stupid.
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Maggs hit the ball hard twice. He didn’t crush it but he hit it hard. Maybe a good sign.
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We seemed to get more of the breaks last night. A refreshing change. As an example Mauer almost went deep twice…. Game of inches……
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Joel showed a real focus and intensity last night. He also showed he can throw a lot of pitches when needed. A real important part of this win.
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I think I’m the only one here who has given any praise to Freddi. Kind of disappointed. He was under a huge amount of pressure. Yes he couldn’t hold the lead in the 14th, but he came back and held them off for 2 more innings. End of the line. The last guy. Yeah, he was making some mental mistakes that frankly almost lost the game, but he out pitched their 6th guy in their house. He kept the ball near the plate and consistently kept it low. He deserves some kudos.
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This is a gritty team that plays hard and seems to be figuring out how to dig in and up the intensity when games are on the line. I like it’s chemistry.

Ed, I agree that JL’s comments in writing can be taken a number of ways, and it’s too bad we don’t get to see the actual interviews. Some clubs have interview rooms ala the NFL. We do not. Unfortunate, because you can tell a lot from body language. At any rate, my above comments on the Leyland/Miner relationship are based on what I’ve witnessed over the past four seasons, not just last night. I’ve come to this conclusion over time.
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Marty, I think Dolsi has talent and also much to learn, as does any youngster. He misses low in the zone a lot, but that’s a good place to miss. You miss up and you get creamed. He battled last night as everyone did, and deserves credit for his “rear guard action.” I don’t think any of us relished the thought of Galarraga coming into the game. Excluding Miner, the bullpen overall was, in a (Rod Allen) word, stellar.
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–Rich

I don’t think that Leylands comments regarding Zach are really all that telling, or wrong. Zach didn’t do well last night, Zach knows that he didn’t do well last night and completely blew it. What is Leyland supposed to say about it when he is asked about it Zach was wonderful???? No he said that Zach didn’t do well, but that he wasn’t mad at him, but he didn’t get the job done, but he’s been doing a great job.
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Well it really doesn’t matter anyway. They were all tired and probably wanted to go to bed, as I did.

I thought I was the only one who hated to see Dane sent down. He was an outstanding catcher, better that Ryan, imo. He called a great game and was calm, cool, and confident with the pitchers. Has a strong arm, too. But he got dogged all over the blogs and message boards because of his non-hitting.

Wiht Miner, you seem to get all or nothing. He and Leland had a disagreement last year or the year before when he got sent down. He also wants to be a starter, but he was awful last night.

I doubt that any big league team wants Dane Sardinha.

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