Leyland maintains steady approach

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Leyland maintains steady approach

DETROIT -- Dont expect Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland to make any rah-rah speeches or smash any coolers even though his team trails 2-0 in the World Series.

Even-keeled as ever, Leyland showed no signs of panic as he addressed the media on Friday afternoon and even made a few jokes as he described how he planned to address his charges.

Leyland didnt require his players to workout at Comerica Park on Friday, though many did, after the team arrived home after 6 a.m. from San Francisco. Leyland said he wants to keep the approach simple before the World Series resumes with Game 3 at 5:07 p.m. on Saturday night. Detroit sends Anibal Sanchez to the mound to face the Giants and Ryan Vogelsong.

The way I look at it, were two games back with give to play, Leyland said. But were playing the team we need to catch, and I think thats the best way to approach it.

Most analysts predicted the Tigers --- whose 133.475 million payroll ranked third in the majors --- to cruise to an American League Central crown. But with 16 games left on the schedule, they trailed the Chicago White Sox by three games. The Tigers also spent only 34 days either tied or alone in first place. But even as they struggled, Leylands players said he never wavered and they dont expect him to begin now.

RELATED: Giants-Tigers Game 3 stat pack

Skip is not the one thats going to hold a meeting or a big speech or anything like that, catcher Alex Avila said. Hes extremely honest, and as players you appreciate that type of honesty. He treats us like professionals and grown men, knowing we can get the job done.

So how does Leyland expect his players to handle their current task of rallying from a two-game deficit?

Simple: concentrate and relax.

You have to have that combination in situations like this, Leyland said. There is a lot of pressure, but you just have to learn to embrace it. I think thats the most important thing.

Dan Hayes is the White Sox Insider for CSNChicago.com

Punches thrown, epic brawl ensues after Strickland hits Harper with pitch

Punches thrown, epic brawl ensues after Strickland hits Harper with pitch

SAN FRANCISCO — Pitchers never forget, and Bryce Harper didn’t either. Three years after Harper took Strickland deep in the NLDS and the two exchanged words, Strickland drilled Harper, setting off a wild, legitimate fight on the mound. 

Harper charged Strickland and tried to throw his helmet before the two started throwing haymakers. A wild brawl ensued, and Strickland had to be dragged off the field by three teammates. Both players were ejected. 

Harper came up with two outs and the Giants trailing by a pair in the eighth. The first pitch was a 98 mph heat-seaker right at Harper’s hip. Harper pointed his bat at Strickland and then tossed it down. Strickland dropped his glove and then Harper threw his helmet, which ended up going toward second base. Each player got at least one good shot in before they were swallowed up by a dogpile. 

Jeff Samardzija — coming from the bench — collided with Michael Morse, who was coming from first. Both appeared to be fine.

Harper and Strickland first crossed paths in the 2014 NLDS, when Harper homered off Strickland in Game 1 and then hit a 97 mph fastball into McCovey Cove to tie Game 4. He watched it fly and the two stared at each other as Harper rounded second. When he reached the dugout, he turned back toward the field and screamed at Strickland. 

Giants lineup: Arroyo returns for series opener vs Nationals

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AP

Giants lineup: Arroyo returns for series opener vs Nationals

Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker issued their lineups for today's series opener at AT&T Park:

Nationals (30-19)
1. Trea Turner (R) SS
2. Jayson Werth (R) LF
3. Bryce Harper (L) RF
4. Ryan Zimmerman (R) 1B
5. Daniel Murphy (L) 2B
6. Anthony Rendon (R) 3B
7. Matt Wieters (S) C
8. Michael Taylor (R) CF
9. Tanner Roark (R) P (4-2, 4.32 ERA)

Giants (22-30)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) LF
9. Matt Moore (L) P (2-5, 5.28 ERA)