As a manager, it seems Jim Leyland is a pretty good psychologist.
A big part of Leyland's job is pumping up his players, keeping their confidence high so they can do the things in games they are capable of doing.
That's part of the reason Leyland keeps writing slumping Ryan Raburn's name in the lineup, to show trust that eventually his early season slump will be over.
Of course another part of that is that Leyland has no viable long-term alternatives to Raburn at second base, a situation Detroit management will remedy if Raburn performs badly into July.
But Raburn showed Tuesday his manager's confidence might be about to pay off. He hit a three-run home run during an eight-run sixth inning that brought Detroit a 10-8 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Raburn added an RBI single in the two-run seventh that proved to be the winning run.
"He's getting closer all the time," Leyland said of Raburn. "He's about to get back into sync, I think. I've had confidence in him all along."
Raburn has been terrific for two second halves in a row, and the polar opposite in their first halves.
Leyland keeps after him because, as he says, the guy can drive runners in from first base.
"When the players are hitting .340 and home runs and scoring runs, they don't need the manager," Leyland said. "They need the manager when things aren't going good. They need the manager to be there for them. They confide in the manager some times and other times they confide in other players.
"You need the support of the manager and the coaching staff when things aren't going well. Because when things are going well you got every fan in Detroit, around Michigan and northern Ohio and everybody else on your side."
Chicago scored twice in the first, third and fifth and looked to be cruising with Jake Peavy on the mound.
"The guys played hard," Leyland said. "They could have quit. Packed it in and gone home, down 6-0 to Peavy.
"This is why we're a good team. After the game that's what I told the players, you gotta believe it. This is why we're a good team and you've got to believe it."
Leyland acknowledged before the game the growing unrest among Detroit fans.
"People are a little upset," he said. "And I don't blame them. Along with a team like this comes high expectations and people are upset because we're not living up to them right now."
Tuesday's rally might have quelled that. For a game or two anyway.
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