Leyland wants Boesch to stay aggressive

Leyland wants Boesch to stay aggressive

DETROIT -- Manager Jim Leyland doesn't want Brennan Boesch trying to do anything special or make any adjustments to change his hitting style. The way he's hitting right now, he wants Boesch to be himself.

In his case, that's an aggressive hitter who can pound out a key single as well as a home run but will also swing a lot.

"When he hits it, something happens," Leyland said. "That's why I like him."

Boesch does not get cheated at the plate, no doubt. Entering Thursday's series finale against the Yankees, he had taken just 13 percent of the total strikes thrown to him, according to research on baseball-reference.com. However, he had swung and missed at just 16 percent. He fouled off 37 percent and put 35 percent into play.

The challenge of Boesch's first start against a left-handed starting pitcher didn't change that at all. He swung at each of the first two pitches he saw from CC Sabathia in the second inning, ripping a line-drive double on the second. After Miguel Cabrera homered in the fourth inning, Boesch took a first-pitch ball, fouled off back-to-back pitches, then pounced on a slider over the plate and pulled it just over the fence in the right-field corner for a home run.

"I don't try to do too much against lefties," Boesch said afterwards. "Just try to hit it on the sweet spot and see what happens. They've still got to make good pitches. They still have to hit their spots. It doesn't change much for me, honestly."

Boesch took one called strike out of the 11 pitches he saw for the day. It was the first pitch in the sixth inning after Cabrera doubled in two runs, and fell into an 0-2 hole before swinging and missing on a 2-2 pitch.

Another impressive example came Wednesday afternoon, when he pull an offspeed pitch from Javier Vazquez foul deep into the right-field stands. Instead of second-guessing himself and gearing up for a fastball or trying to overcompensate and being late, he went at a similar pitch and hit a simple ground-ball single through the right side for a base hit and an insurance run.

"He swings," Leyland said. "Like I've said, I'd really much rather have him swing at a bad one than take two good ones. I don't want anybody messing with him, telling him to be patient, get better pitches. Swing the bat. That's what he does.

"I think he's got a pretty good eye. He'll chase one once in a while, but so do veterans. I'd rather have him do that than start taking fastballs and making the pitcher work. That's not for him. That's for somebody else."

That doesn't mean he doesn't have a plan up there.

"I think being aggressive is great, as long as you're in the strike zone," Boesch said. "You can't be too aggressive in the strike zone, in my opinion. There's no point in taking strikes, for me. You start chasing balls, you start going out of the zone, and that's when being aggressive is a problem. That's not aggressive. That's just flailing, or not having a plan.

"I have a plan every time I walk up there. That's what allows me to be aggressive, because I have an idea what I'm trying to do. It's pretty simple: Get a good pitch to hit, and try to put a good swing on it."