Leyland sticks with lineup despite drought

Leyland sticks with lineup despite drought

Leyland sticks with lineup despite drought
DETROIT -- Even in the World Series, Tigers manager Jim Leyland is hearing it over lineups.

Back-to-back shutouts to the Giants raised the question of whether Leyland would shake up his batting order for Sunday night's Game 4, needing a win to prolong the World Series. He ended up sticking with the same lineup.

"I think everybody talks about the lineup," Leyland said. "That's a real big topic around Detroit most of the time. But when you say whether you're going to change the lineup, I'm not sure what people mean.

"Do they mean hit somebody in another position or do they mean put somebody else in? With all due respect to everybody, Danny Worth, [Ramon] Santiago or [Jhonny] Peralta, there are only so many changes you can make. Sometimes they pick out a player that's struggling and they don't want him to play, but I've never really figured out that lineup stuff too much."

Just six Major League teams used fewer lineups than the Tigers in terms of players this season, and 10 had fewer different batting orders than the 121 that Leyland filled out. Yet Leyland still heard criticism in the local media over the starts he gave to backup players to make sure his regulars remained well rested.

In this case, Leyland's loyalty to his regulars would be the debate.

"Our lineup is what it is," Leyland continued, "and we're playing in a World Series. I'm not afraid to make adjustments, but down three games to none, it's a little late for changing a lineup, I think."