Leyland doesn't believe in White Sox playing spoiler

Leyland doesn't believe in White Sox playing spoiler

CHICAGO -- It's hard for the White Sox to play spoiler against a Tigers team that entered Wednesday's series final with a six-game lead over the Indians and 6 1/2 games over the Royals.

But even if that division race was a little closer, Detroit manager Jim Leyland doesn't believe in the concept of the White Sox getting more fired up to beat the Tigers over a non-contender.

"That's all silly stuff. That's high school stuff. These guys are professionals," Leyland said before Wednesday's game. "The White Sox are trying to win as many games as they can.

"Robin Ventura is a very good manager. They're busting their [butt]. They haven't had a real good year up to this point, but I don't think they're sitting over there saying, 'Oh, we want to beat the Detroit Tigers because they're in first place.'"

The fact remains that the White Sox swept the Yankees, a team on the fringe of playoff contention, and took the first two from the Tigers on this 10-game homestand. They lost three of four to a Twins team as far out of the playoffs as they are, but Leyland thinks it's the White Sox talent producing the wins more than shifting into a higher gear against good teams.

"[Jose] Quintana, the kid that pitched the night before, these guys are good. When you pitch Chris Sale, you're probably as good as anybody in the league," Leyland said. "People don't understand that stuff. So I think that's all high school stuff. That spoiler stuff, I've never bought into that in my life.

"You go out there, I don't care where anybody else is in the standings, we're trying to win games, and they're trying to win games. Now, you might get some player that says, 'Oh, yeah, oh boy,' but I don't pay much attention. They're trying to look at some guys. They're very proud just like we are and all the other teams."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.