Detroit Tigers: The "Dear Jim Leyland" Chronicles—Pray for October

Dave HamptonCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 26:  Edwin Jackson #36 of the Detroit Tigers walks back to the dugout against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on August 26, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The "Dear Jim Leyland" Chronicles will be a recurring segment in which I question some of the decisions made by the skipper of the Detroit Tigers, Jim Leyland. After all, some of his choices leave us all scratching our heads, wondering just what was going through his nicotine-starved mind.


Edwin Jackson and the Detroit Tigers are sliding backward at the wrong time of the year. Anyone care to stop the bleeding?

Dear Jim Leyland: Why was Don Kelly in left field on Saturday?

Have you ever been in a bad situation where you feel like a fish out of water? Ask Don Kelly; I'm sure he can sympathize. Kelly was one of the victims of Leyland's nicotine-induced fog on Saturday, when he was promptly eaten alive in the Metrodome outfield.

Both Kelly and Leyland were made to look like fools.

Why, Jim? 

Prior to Saturday's debacle, Kelly had only played 20 innings in the Metrodome outfield in his career. This is September. Rosters are expanded. There were other options on the bench.

In the eighth inning, at the same time Kelly was brought into left field to replace Carlos Guillen, Clete Thomas was brought in to replace Magglio Ordonez in right field.

As sour as I am on the range and arm of Ordonez at this point, I screamed for him to be left in the game. Ordonez has played his entire career in the American League Central. As such, playing in the Metrodome is practically second nature to him.

While his range and arm have diminished, he certainly still catches the ball just fine, even at the Metrodome. 

Dear Jim Leyland, pray for October.

I'm not talking about the game against the Twins and the three against the White Sox to close the regular season. What I'm talking about is—oh dear, let's hear it—playoffs.

Seldom can contending teams afford costly mistakes this time of year, least of all a division leader that is only nine games over .500.

Pray for October, Jim, for playoff games. You will be the goat of the city otherwise, making David Dombrowski wonder if that contract extension was such a good idea.

Have another cigarette, Jim. I'm sure we will be back next week.