Managers walk a fine line between conveying a sense of panic and making moves when a change is called for.
Jim Leyland didn't want anyone to read anything extra into his dropping of his season-long No. 2 hitter, Brennan Boesch, down to the eight spot in his batting order. He was replaced by Andy Dirks as the man behind leadoff hitter Austin Jackson.
"I'm just changing it up," Leyland said. "I just want to give it a different look. Dirks can move the ball around a little better."
Dirks moved the ball on the ground up the middle for a single after Jackson hit a leadoff home run in the first. He moved the ball over the right-field fence in the eighth, giving Detroit an insurance run in a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
"I love a power guy in the No. 2 spot," Leyland said. "We haven't had a good second-place hitter since Placido Polanco."
Some managers made batting-order changes game-to-game, so players aren't disturbed unless they aren't changed from being on the bench.
Other managers prefer a set lineup, only switching things up because of injury or slumps. Leyland would be closer to this category than the former.
"This is not punishment," Leyland said. "This is just common sense as a manager. We've got to start scoring more runs.
"At the end of the day the teams in the playoffs are going to be the teams with the best pitching. But we've got to score more runs.
"You don't want to send a message of panic (when you make changes). But you can't just sit around and hope it happens. You have to go out and make it happen.
"We've got a good team. I know we'll hit. It's fine to think that, but you don't want to be blase. To me there's a difference between panic and a sense of reality."
Boesch was hitless in four at-bats Sunday. Detroit only scored three runs, on three home runs, and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
"If we pitch like we have the last two days," Leyland said. "We'll be all right. I think we'll hit a little better, too."
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