ANAHEIM -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland isn't treating the upcoming series against the White Sox as the end-all, be-all with 19 games still on the schedule after those four games are over.
But he does understand the importance of it with the Tigers sitting two games back in the American League Central entering Sunday and no more dates with Chicago following the series.
"You've got to play these games like they are the last game you are going to play, which is the way it is," he said. "If you've got to pump guys up for these games, then I've got a problem. You are getting to a sense of urgency, which is certainly different than a sense of panic."
Leyland said he doesn't need to give any sort of "ra-ra" speech to his players at this point, and the team just needs to get it done on the field.
The key will be scoring more than just one or two runs per game, which he said won't get it done.
"It boils down to you've got to win baseball games," Leyland said. "That is as simple as it is. That's what it is for them, and that is what is for us and everybody else involved in a race. There are a lot of people in the same boat that we are fighting to get to the postseason."
The magnitude of the upcoming series might explain Leyland's decision to pull starter Justin Verlander after just six innings and the Tigers trailing Saturday.
The righty had gone 80 straight starts of making at least 100 pitches until Saturday's loss, when he threw 97 pitches.
"He wanted to pitch another inning, but he wasn't going to pitch another inning," Leyland said. "We'll put that in reserve for the White Sox."