Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/23/12
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Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland isn't a screamer, not in the clubhouse anyway.

He's not shy about losing in the dugout, though, generally directing his tirades toward umpires.

Such as Wednesday night when he blew up against the home plate umpire after an outside 3-0 pitch was called a strike on Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded and two out in a 2-2 game. Cabrera grounded out to second on the next pitch.

Detroit loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth but couldn't score a run. Then watched Cleveland scratch out the winning runs in the bottom of the inning on a deflected infield single, a double, and an error on a throw to the plate and a sacrifice fly.

And the Tigers' struggles continue with a 5-3 loss that sunk the AL Central favorite to 20-23 and five games behind the first place Indians. Detroit left 10 men on base in each of the first two games.

"You can get them out there but you got to get them in," Leyland said. "There's no rocket science to this one. I can talk about that until I'm blue in the face. We get enough guys on but you got to get them in.

"I felt pretty comfortable (about who we had at bat). We just didn't do it."

Leyland's style in dealing with talented but underachieving teams is to avoid calling team meetings. No ranting and raving.

Instead he prefers to seek out individuals on a daily basis to offer a pat on the back, some positive reinforcement, a chuckle, and keep them as loose as he possibly can.

"We've done everything we can to keep them loose," Leyland said. "Keep 'em loose, having some fun. If somebody out there is tight, that's something they have to deal with as an individual. Because there's been absolutely no pressure put on them.

"I don't really see that for sure. Evidently the first three guys we got on (in the eighth with nobody out) weren't pressing. We got the bases loaded with nobody out. So you can look at that a lot of different ways."

Managers act like 'pressing' is a dirty word, so they don't use it (not that have any reluctance to use other nasty language). So they talk about players 'expanding the strike zone' or 'trying to do too much.'

What that means is you get players swinging at pitches they have no business swinging at (like Jhonny Peralta chasing an outside 0-2 breaking ball to strike out for the first out of the eighth). Or players trying to yank an inside pitch they should be trying to hit strongly up the middle (like Ramon Santiago dribbling a soft grounder to first on a 1-0 pitch that resulted in a forceout at the plate for the second out of the eighth).

Or a batter trying to pull an outside fastball. The coaches can preach about taking the outside pitch the other way, swinging at strikes or just trying to hit a line drive or a sharp ground ball. Players will nod their heads in agreement during pre-game hitters meetings -- then go out and do the things they're not supposed to because they are trying too hard to make something happen.

"We know what we're supposed to be doing," Gerald Laird said, "but it's not getting done. It's definitely beating down on all of us. We know where we're supposed to be -- on the top of this division -- so it's up to use to get this thing turned around.

"We're making our mistakes and we're getting paid double for it. It ain't gonna change itself. We have to go out and do it."

"We load the bases with nobody out," Leyland said, "We get one out in the bottom of the inning. They get a little nubber past the pitcher and they take advantage of it with a double. We have a little miscue there but that's all part of the game."

There's only one way to change things for the better, though, as Leyland has reminded us on many occasions.

When they get tired of getting kicked around, he likes to say, they'll do something about.

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