One season is over and another begins.
Detroit finished a season that brought 95 victories and an AL Central championship with a 5-4 victory over Cleveland on Jhonny Peralta’s leadoff home run in the eighth.
Now the Tigers begin their second season, the playoffs, which begin Friday in New York against the Yankees.
“We had a great season,” Jim Leyland said. “Now we start a new season. It is a little difference.
“You play them one at a time in the regular season but you also think about winning a series. The playoffs, it really is day-to-day.
“I’m proud of this team. It’s pretty hard to say we haven’t done pretty good during the regular season. Winning 95 games, that’s pretty good.”
Leyland lauded his team for playing well down the stretch and then keeping its focus after clinching the division on Sept. 16.
“Of any team I’ve ever managed,” Leyland said, “I’ve never had one go on a run like we did at the end of the season.”
Justin Verlander won 24 games and is generally viewed as the Cy Young winner and a viable MVP candidate. Miguel Cabrera had two hits in his last game of the regular season, boosting his average to .344 and clinching him his first batting title. Victor Martinez meshed well with his new team and provided Leyland with good protection for Cabrera in the lineup.
“We have two guys who could win the MVP and a third guy who could be mentioned,” Leyland said.
Now the playoffs loom.
“I have no idea how it will turn out,” he said. “We could lose three straight games — or we could win the World Series.”
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