CHICAGO – In his hotel room only a night earlier, a sense of calm had enveloped Jim Leyland. Somehow, in this most embarrassing of times, he had managed to restrain his incendiary temper that, legend has it, once caused him to deliver a fierce tongue-lashing to his Colorado Rockies team in the buff, a cigarette with an inch-long ash dangling from his lips.
"Take it easy," Leyland said. "There's no sense in yelling and screaming at people. Let's just wait and see what happens."
What happened was another shutout, the second blanking in a row and fourth the mighty Tigers have suffered this season, and the establishment, too, of Leyland's official breaking point. Off he went following the 11-0 loss that dropped the Tigers to 2-10, his voice permeating the brick walls at U.S. Cellular Field and ricocheting off the doors that tried their best to insulate Detroit's clubhouse from the rest of the world.
Actually, it was quite like a fallout shelter, the Tigers trying to isolate themselves from Leyland's nuclear meltdown. No one dared explain how a lineup that threatened to cross the 1,000-run barrier has been shut out four times, just as no one could answer how a team with a $138.7 million payroll could start 0-7, just as no one knew what to say when Leyland yelled and screamed and refused any longer to watch his team potentially send its season sewer-bound in the first month.
"If I wanted you guys to know what I said to the team," Leyland told reporters, "I'd invite you in here."
OK, then. A multiple-choice deduction, in lieu:
a) From the sixth through the eighth innings, White Sox pitchers threw 21 pitches. In those innings, the Tigers swung at first pitches three times – twice by Edgar Renteria. The longest inning was Javier Vazquez's 22-pitch second, and the next-longest was the ninth, when Nick Masset threw 16. Not only can't the Tigers hit, they're allowing opposing pitchers to throw more warm-up pitches than real ones.
b) #%*! @%$