Regular At-Bats Shake Off Rust

By Larry Carmichael
Cincinnati, Ohio
July 4, 2015

It is no secret that the toughest job in the Major Leagues is coming in cold off the bench to face the other team’s closer, usually somebody throwing in the high ‘90s with nasty stuff. Reds Manager Bryan Price has often been quoted as saying how teams have to find at-bats for bench players in order to keep them fresh and ready when the need arises. Brennan Boesch embraced this role with the Reds, making the Reds’ roster after a very solid spring training, getting named to the Bleacher Report’s MLB “All-Spring-Training Team,” and coming off an extraordinary last season when he won the AAA Batting Title along with a league-leading OPS and 25 homeruns.

But it is also no secret that Boesch is a hard-working student of the science of hitting a baseball, a science that he’d tell you it depends on perfect timing, rhythm, balance, and repetition. With at bats few and far between during the first weeks of the new season, timing and rhythm, and results suffered. With options remaining for Boesch and the club needing to close a revolving door on injuries, the Reds sent Boesch to their AAA Louisville Bats. After shaking off rust during his first two games, Brennan quickly found his mojo. Getting the at-bats and the repetition to lock in, he has done just that. Although Brennan knows full well this is a process, he has been living in the moment, preparing one day at a time and results are encouraging. Playing every day, Boesch is hitting .420 through July 4, an eye-popping .528 over his last 10 games, with a 12-game hitting streak going and off-the-chart On-Base %, Slugging % and OPS – and as pitchers know who they are dealing with and work around him, the walks have been coming more frequently too.

It isn’t about the numbers, Boesch says. It’s about rhythm and timing and making the adjustments needed to help his team, whether it’s off the bench or in the field.