Leyland hopes to see more plate discipline

Leyland hopes to see more plate discipline

SEATTLE -- For much of these first five weeks, Tigers manager Jim Leyland has been watching his offense from the dugout and wondering why a team with so many dangerous bats has been struggling to get going. His first ejection of the season on Tuesday might have given him the angle to step back and figure out why.

"When you're in the dugout, you can't always tell [plate discipline], but one of our problems -- and I was talking with [hitting coach Lloyd McClendon] after the game about it -- one of our problems, and we've watched some of it, but we swung at a lot of balls," Leyland said.

"We're not going to hit if we swing at the kind of pitches we swung at after the third or fourth inning. I mean, we just did not show plate discipline, we did not grind out at-bats, and we swung at a lot of balls. We're too good of a team to do that. Our hitters are too good to do that. We made a lot of outs on balls, and we swung at a lot of bad pitches. So that's one thing we're going to have to do a little better at, but we're very capable of that, and we will."

It's an angle available to players and coaches when they're looking at video, but it's different just watching the normal course of a game as it happens. In the natural sequence of a game, the regularity of the bad at-bats stands out.

It also costs a little perspective -- there was one swing and miss from Raburn that Leyland particularly noticed, he said, only to find out later it was a hit-and-run play -- but that was a one-pitch difference on the regular theme.

"When you're just observing a game, sometimes you see things different," Leyland said. "We're just swinging at too many balls. We're not even giving ourselves a chance. We're not making a guy work."