Leyland expects more from his offense, campaigns for Melvin

October 10, 2012, 12:14 am
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OAKLAND Considering his Tigers have a commanding 2-0 leadin the American League Division series against the As, it was surprising tohear Jim Leyland say before Tuesdays Game 3 that his team needs to hit betterto advance.Leyland brought up the fact that his Tigers have scored only one of their eightruns in the series by way of a hit. Their first run of Game 1 came on a groundball double play and a second run scored on an error by starting pitcher JarrodParker. Alex Avilas solo home run in the seventh inning Saturday was the lonerun-scoring hit Leyland referenced.
PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's lose close Game 1 in Detroit
The Tigers scored five runs in Game 2, none by way of thelegitimate hit. A groundout scored the first Detroit run and a Coco Crisp errorled to two more in the seventh. The game-tying run in the eighth came across ona Ryan Cook wild pitch and the game-winning run scored on a sacrifice fly.
PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's on verge of elimination
Its hard to believe that a lineup that boasts Triple Crown winner MiguelCabrera and Prince Fielder has had to manufacture runs and take advantage of acrucial error and wild pitch. Were going to have to do better than that if we want toclose this thing out at some point, whether it be tonight, tomorrow or the nextday, Leyland said. If were going to close it out, were going to have to hitbetter, to be honest with you.The Tigers are tasked with hitting better against As left-hander BrettAnderson, whose last start came in Detroit on Sept. 19. Leyland said he had noidea what the Tigers would be up against in a well-rested Anderson.I really dont know, Leyland said. You just really dont know what toexpect, to be honest with you.Leyland said he did know what to expect from the Asoverall, however.This As team is ready to play tonight, Leyland said. Theyre down twogames to none, but theyre ready to play; their mindset is good.Leyland said he was paying attention to the As surprising run to steal theAmerican League West title away from the Texas Rangers long before he knew hisTigers would be matched up against Oakland in a playoff series.The job theyve done all year has been remarkable, Leyland said. They won 94games. Theyve had the best record in baseball for a long, long period of timenow. Its an unbelievable job whats happened here with what Billy Beane andBob Melvin have done.At Mondays workout in Oakland, Leyland and Melvin traded compliments, but theTigers skipper took it a step further before Game 3.Not to put the cart before the horse, but I hope that Buck Showalter and BobMelvin are Co-Managers of the Year this year, Leyland said. I think thiswould be a year there should be two guys that get the award.The Coliseum has been in hibernation since it rocked for Game 162 against theTexas Rangers. When the As clubhouse opened Monday, many players said theyexpected the crowd to be a factor in their first postseason home game since2006, which unfortunately comes in Game 3 for the team with home-fieldadvantage due to the new playoff format.I guarantee if you ask the guys from Texas, theyll tell you its loud, JoshDonaldson said Monday. This place is going to be rowdy.The crowd is probably the key ingredient, Brandon Ingesaid. Who wants to play in front of nobody?The atmosphere was really good in Detroit, Cliff Pennington said. Imexcited to see what we have here.Jonny Gomes said the Coliseum will be rocking and rollingand Leyland agreed.I know its loud here; its very loud, Leyland said Tuesday. Theyre goingto be out in force tonight supporting their team, which they should be. Andthey should be very proud of this team, by the way. We know this is not goingto be easy to do. Its going to be very loud, very difficult. Were playing agreat team, one that has done a wonderful, wonderful job. But thats what we dofor a living. Were here, were supposed to be able to handle that kind ofstuff.One final baseball-ism from Mr. Leyland:Its baseball and you never know how its going to play out.The As are banking on it.

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