Jim Leyland owes Brennan Boesch an apology.

I know it’s not popular to suggest that a manager apologize to one of his players, but Leyland has butchered this so badly that he must make amends.

By now, Boesch’s struggles have been well documented and I will not bore you with his stats. In the Detroit Tigers’ last three games against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Rays’ manager Joe Maddon decided to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera and pitch to Boesch.

What made this unusual is that when Cabrera walked, first base was occupied. Boesch failed to deliver all three times and the Tigers were swept.

Leyland should have protected Boesch from ever being in that situation.

The first time Cabrera was walked without an open base should have been the last time Boesch batted behind him. Boesch would have been better off batting third in the lineup. This would have forced the pitcher to give him better pitches to hit in order to avoid walking him with Cabrera on deck. It also might have led to Cabrera seeing a few more hittable pitches because it became apparent that the Rays felt that Boesch was a sure out.

Now Leyland has compounded his mistake by benching Boesch for tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

What is difficult to understand is why Leyland will not handle Boesch the way a struggling player must be handled. If a relief pitcher is struggling, you don’t pitch him in a tight ball game; you wait until the team is up or down by a few runs and allow him to pitch in a relaxed atmosphere.

This is why Boesch should be batting seventh in the lineup tonight. Let him work out his issues in a less stressful spot in the batting order.

His swing will not get fixed on the bench.

UPDATE: Johnny Damon is out with back spasms and will be replaced by Brennan Boesch for tonight’s game.

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