OAKLAND -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland can't put his finger on why his lineup is struggling, but in stretches like these, he turns to advice he once received from one of the greatest hitters ever.
When Leyland was a young manager at Class-A Lakeland, he had the chance to talk regularly with Red Sox legend Ted Williams, who was living in nearby Winter Haven, Fla. at the time. Leyland had no use for Williams' advice when he was a player, but as a coach, he wanted to know how to be helpful to hitters during slumps.
Among Williams' words of wisdom was a simple philosophy: Focus on a pitch and look to hit it hard, regardless of the result.
"Don't worry about hitting the ball on the ground, and don't worry about hitting the ball in the air," Leyland said. "Just worry about hitting it hard. That's what I learned in the minor leagues: Just worry about hitting two or three balls hard every night."
In that sense, Leyland said, he sees what he calls "encouraging signs" from Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn. Boesch had two of Detroit's four hits off Brandon McCarthy on Saturday. Raburn entered Sunday batting 2-for-19 on the road trip, but looking better in a couple of at-bats Friday.