Media grills Leyland and Washington

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:56 PM ET

DETROIT - There is nothing like baseball to spawn debate about strategy and decision-making. No matter who the managers are, they are grilled about pitches, lineups and why they did what they did ... repeatedly.

Detroit Tigers’ Jim Leyland went through the “why didn’t you pitch Justin Verlander on short rest” inquisition.

After the Tigers 7-3 loss in extra innings Wednesday, Leyland has Verlander on the mound Thursday in a survival game.

Texas Rangers’ Ron Washington deals with questions about his lineup, especially his stand-pat philosophy with No. 4-hitter Michael Young. Young was hitting .111 going into Wednesday’s game and Washington deals with the question of moving him from that spot during every press conference.

“Michael has done a great job for us there,” Washington said. “Simply because he hits a spell where things aren’t going well, for me to make that type of change would be to panic.

“I’m not panicking because my guy is not panicking. We are talking Michael Young. Seven years of 200 hits.”

There isn’t a manager that won’t move one of his big bangers because, with one swing, they can change the game. Check out Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera in Game 3 with two big hits. Young got Washington an RBI but in general was awful at the plate.

Washington then caught heat for not walking Cabrera in Game 3 with runners at first and third and two out and a supposedly injured Victor Martinez coming up next. Cabrera doubled to drive in a run in the fifth and give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

ENOUGH OF CABRERA

Now that Cabrera is starting to hit, Washington had to reconsider how he would deal with him, including walking Cabrera no matter how unorthodox the move.

With two out and runners on first and second in the third, they pitched to Cabrera again and he doubled again, scoring two. He intentionally walked Cabrera with one out and the bases empty in the eighth Wednesday.

Did he cave to media pressure? Not at all! Washington simply had enough of Cabrera. Cabrera wound up going to third on a Martinez single. Cabrera was out at home on a great throw from Nelson Cruz on a Delmon Young fly.

It saved Washington some embarrassment, a lot of explanations and without question a lot more heat.

“We tried to pitch around him twice. This time I wasn’t going to let him take a swing with the bat and it almost came back to bite me,” Washington said. Washington probably shouldn’t do that again.

BIG DILEMMA

Here’s something to chew on: In the eighth with Cabrera on third, score tied 3-3 and one out, should Leyland have pinch-run for the big guy? Someone like Don Kelly might have scored on Young’s fly. It’s a risk because you lose Cabrera but if you roll the dice, you should go all the way.

QUICK HITS

With two out in the 10th, Tigers’ Austin Jackson was on first with Ryan Raburn up. He tried to steal second going on his own and was thrown out. “I agreed with (the decision) 100%,” Leyland said. Some might not but it was a play that Jackson hoped would get him into scoring position ... When is playing a guy who is hurt more of a risk than it’s worth? It could have been when Leyland chose to play Young in left field. He may be able to hit but Young did not make any warmup throws in the early innings. The Tigers don’t have a lot of depth, but putting an injured player out there who can barely run and can’t throw is like playing craps and hoping you don’t crap out. Leyland crapped out a little in the sixth when Young punted around a double allowing a run to score ... OK already, it’s time to ban the word “warriors” from sport’s lexicon. Washington used it when talking about players that play injured and Orel Hershiser used it on ESPN radio. These guys aren’t warriors. They are baseball players. Get a grip on reality ... Tigers starter Rick Porcello gave up three runs in the sixth but with the score 2-2. What is he doing trying to pick off Rangers’ Elvis Andrus with two out and two strikes on Young? His pickoff hit Andrus and he went to second, scoring on Young’s single. Focus on getting the out ... Brandon Inge’s home run was a surprise since many believed he would be lifted for a pinch-hitter.


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