Pitching carried Detroit in its 7-1 victory over Cleveland on Wednesday night and, like the good ex-catcher and longtime manager that he is, Jim Leyland feels the guys on the mound hold the key to the Tigers' hopes of making the postseason.
"Our pitching is going to be the thing that hangs us (in there)," Leyland said. "(Justin) Verlander, (Max Scherzer) and now (Doug) Fister -- that's pretty good.
"If we can get (some good starts) out of the other two (Rick Porcello and Anibal Sanchez), we'll be all right."
While worried about his left-handers -- Phil Coke, Darin Downs and rookie Drew Smyly -- Leyland has no issues with his right-handers.
Leyland won't have too much of a problem if he has to turn to his right-handers to face lefties in key situations.
Bryan Villarreal and Al Alburquerque both have good fastballs and sliders that break enough to be usable against left-handed batters.
Octavio Dotel, Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde have no qualms about pitching to lefties and have good track records against them.
Detroit held Cleveland to seven runs in three games, yet lost the first two by 3-2 scores.
"If we hold teams to three runs a game the rest of the way, we'll do all right," Leyland said. "With our lineup, we should win if we hold teams to three runs."