Friday, September 16, 2011

Leyland Gets Defensive

The Detroit Tigers had their 12 game winning streak snapped last night against the Oakland A's. It wa the Tigers' best stretch since 1934. They have simply ran away from the American League Central. despite what the Tigers have accomplished, well they still have to clinch the division, there are some non believers out there that believe their current hot streak is a byproduct of being in a bad division and playing against lesser competition recently.

Manager Jim Leyland doesn't want to hear any of it. Leyland was asked about the quality of the division and exploded.

"Let me remind you of something," Leyland said. "It was three months ago, two months ago, that the Cleveland Indians were the talk of baseball. Everybody was saying they were pretty good.

"Now all of a sudden, because we beat them, they're bad? That's not fair. I'm not falling for that.

"The Central is the division we play in. Nobody is going to take anything away from my team. When they had to step it up, they stepped it up.

"Nobody can take that away from us. I'm not going to let anybody put a damper on what those guys have done.

"We have a pitcher out there with 23 wins. We have a guy with 40-some saves. We have three or four guys hitting .300. We have an All-Star catcher and other All-Stars. We're OK."

"I can't help what happened with the White Sox and Cleveland. But I'm not going to get sucked into the division being bad so that when you play other divisions, you're going to have trouble.

"We might. We might not. But I guarantee you one thing, and this you can print. It's not like everyone is lining up to play the Tigers. We're pretty good, too.

"I'm not going to let anybody take away from what this team has done up to this point — and we really haven't done enough yet. I'm not counting my chickens.

"But don't give me that bull about the Central. I'm not going to answer silly questions and to me, that's a silly question.

"The Central is what it is. That's the division we play in. Right now, we have the best record in the Central and we've earned where we're at. That's the way I look at it."

Leyland is correct. You only play who they put in front of you. They can't help it if Cleveland and Minnesota ran into some bad luck with injuries. It's not their fault that the moves the White Sox made didn't pan out. On paper Chicago was supposed to win the division and was a fring World Series contender. The Twins are always held in high regard and the Indians are ahead of schedule.

Instead of saying how bad the AL Central is, the Tigers should be applauded for taking it up a notch when they had to, considering their recent run of late season fades.