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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Leyland reiterates botching tactical move Sunday: 'I'm mad at myself because I didn't trust my gut'

It took Jim Leyland about two sentences into his postgame press conference on Sunday to shoulder the blame for the Tigers' 4-2 loss to the Orioles.  He said he botched it.

He didn't back off that stance Tuesday.

"I go back in my runway, normally when I have my smoke, and I’ve got my lineup card, and I’m looking ahead, ‘This is coming up. What am I going to do here?’ " Leyland said Tuesday of the decision to leave starter Rick Porcello — who was sitting on a streak of 14 shutout innings — in to start the seventh inning, guarding a 2-0 lead.
"I gave it a shot. It wasn’t anything he did wrong. I did it. I made the mistake, in my opinion.

"Most people, if they’re true to what they say normally, probably agreed with leaving him in."

Porcello would give up three straight hits, beginning with a leadoff homer to the American League's home run leader, Chris Davis, and end up with the loss when the Orioles got two RBI singles off left-handed reliever Phil Coke.

Leyland has said before that no critic can write anything that stings more than him kicking himself after feeling like he blew one.

"Well, I don’t think people understand, if they’re not the manager. I would think most people would’ve said, if I would’ve taken him out, they would’ve said, ‘What they hell is he doing? He has 14 straight scoreless innings going?’ It wasn’t that. I was mad at myself, because I didn’t trust my gut," Leyland said.

"A manager’s supposed to trust their gut, and I didn’t trust my gut.

"I knew he was pitching great, but that’s what managing is. You trust your gut. He was pitching great, he was getting them out, he was getting them on the ground, he had 14 scoreless innings going — I would think most people would’ve agreed with my decision to leave him in. If they’re the same people that always wonder why you take him out. I would think they would’ve agreed with it.

"The only reason I was mad at myself — I don’t know how the game would’ve turned out; I have no idea — but was because I didn’t trust my gut. I knew the way the lineup was set up was a perfect time for your left-hand pitcher.

"Ricky was at 89 pitches, which is fine. But I know around 100, I watch pretty close — 95 to 100. And I just didn’t trust my gut.

"That’s why I was mad at myself. I wasn’t mad at Ricky Porcello, at all. I had no reson to be mad at Ricky. He pitched fantastic. Eight shutout innings against the Pirates, six shutout innings over in that ballpark (Orioles Park at Camden Yards).

"I was just mad at myself because, in my heart, I just didn’t make the right decision.

"I saw the way the lineup was set up, and that was the opportunity to make my move, and I didn’t make it.

"I don’t know how it would’ve turned out. I mean, it’s easy to say now. And I don’t care what anybody else thinks about that. I can give a (crap) less. I’m mad at myself, because I didn’t trust my gut. I don’t care what anybody else thinks.

"I’m mad at myself, because I didn’t trust my gut.

I mean, the lineup was set up. If there’d have been right-handers coming up, it would’ve been a no-brainer — leave him in, get another inning out of him."

Does it matter that most people probably did agree with the move at the time? 

Not in the slightest.

"I don’t really care — I don’t need anybody to say ‘Well, I’d have left him in. He had the shutout (streak). It’d have been dumb to take him out.’ No, I think I made a mistake. My own self. I think I made a mistake. Doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks," Leyland said.

"That’s a decision I have to live with in my heart."

For the record, Porcello agreed with the move, as well. And he disagreed with Leyland's assessment, as well.

"I don't think I would've been very happy if he would've brought a left-hander in," Porcello admitted after the game. "We just didn't execute in the seventh. That's the bottom line. Skip doesn't play the game. We do. It's on us."


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