With the Tigers struggling the first two weeks, there has been a lot of grumbling that manager Jim Leyland needs to light into the team. Well, Mount Leyland erupted following today’s game.
Leyland had previously downplayed such a tactic saying that it can’t be a show. It has to be something that is real and genuine. As I watched today’s debacle, specifically the Zach Miner sequence that involved an intentional walk, followed by a wild pitch, followed by an unintentional walk, followed by a grand slam I wondered to myself how could Leyland not muster up the necessary vitriol. Not that Zach Miner deserved to be the sole recipient, it’s not like the team was even in the game up to that point. It was just a glaring manifestation of the poor play that has overtaken this team.
Details of the rant are scant but it sounds like Leyland and the players have been doing some soul searching.
“We look bad,” he admitted Sunday. “You always feel from a manager’s standpoint that you’re not pushing the right buttons. Are you saying the right things? You beat yourself up harder than anyone else. You ask yourself whether you’re doing something different from what you did the last two years.”
We all remember in 2006 when Leyland went off on the team following a lackluster effort on get-away day against the Indians. It was credited with propelling the team forward. My own take is that the rant probably played a small role, but a come from behind win against the A’s a couple days later was the bigger factor. Still, with the last two games coming on top of a 7 game skid to start the season, something or anything is needed. And let’s pray it works. It’s the kind of tactic that you can’t go to over and over again.