ST. PETERSBURG -- Jim Leyland has said numerous times over the past two seasons that he has given more green lights for Tigers hitters to swing on 3-0 counts than he did at his previous stops in Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado. On Thursday, Brennan Boesch was one of them.
It didn't work. Boesch flew out to center on James Shields' 3-0 pitch with runners on first and second for the second out of the second inning. The intent was to get Boesch to swing at a sure strike instead of chasing, one reason Leyland has given green lights to many slumping hitters on 3-0.
"I let Boesch hit, tried to give him a little confidence," Leyland said. "There's a lot of different schools of thought. Boeschy just missed it, too. He just didn't quite get it out far enough, but he hit it good."
Not many hitters like swinging on 3-0 counts, Leyland said, because they don't want to get caught chasing a pitch out of the strike zone and turning down a walk.
The Tigers have put just three balls in play on 3-0 counts this season, good for an RBI double and a couple of outs. The double actually came from Boesch.